If you’re looking for a big Nebraska recruiting battle, look no further than offensive lineman Bryce Benhart.
The Lakeville (Minn.) North standout towers over even most of his highly recruited peers, checking in at 6-fooot-9 and 305 pounds. He’s also figuratively a big target for the Huskers, among the very most wanted for the 2019 class.
Benhart has already used his official visit to Lincoln – he was here for the scuttled season-opener against Akron – but is set to return in an unofficial capacity to watch Nebraska take on his home-state Minnesota Gophers.
Benhart has said previously that he’s still considering the Huskers, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee and the Gophers.
But overall, the four-star prospect hasn’t said much more than that about his recruitment.
“On a personal level, I’ve just appreciated the fact that I never have to hear about the latest college that or college that with him,” Lakeville North head coach Brian Vossen said Friday. “It’s never a conversation. It’s not something he discusses within the team. Kids are happy for him and excited for him but nobody’s reached a point of jealousy because he doesn’t broadcast it, he doesn’t tweet about it, he just really is all about this team playing right now. That’s probably why he hasn’t made his decision yet.”
Vossen, though, can’t say enough good things about what Benhart has meant to his team, which moved to 8-0 on Wednesday night and opens playoff action against Hopkins next week.
“I think he’s probably the best lineman in our program’s history, dating all the way back to the 1950s,” Vossen said. “He’s just not normal. He’s 6-9, 300 pounds and he’s athletic. They’re like once-in-a-lifetime kids to have in your program.”
Benhart is also a standout wrestler and will be among the favorites in Minnesota’s heavyweight ranks this winter. Even despite his huge frame, Vossen said that coordination and athleticism shows on the football field.
“A common fan goes and watches a game and they don’t know how to watch linemen. They watch the ball,” he said. “Someone will say, ‘Gosh, it seems like he needs to be nastier.’ I say no. He’s a technician. He takes his steps, drives his hands through the chest of players and he runs his feet. I think he gets that from his wrestling background. He understands leverage and balance.
“You watch him on film, good plays and bad plays look the same on film. He’s even-keeled and he keeps his head about him at all times.”
That kind of production and talent is why Benhart is rated the No. 63 player overall in the country by 247Sports, the No. 10 tackle and the top player in Minnesota. That service’s composite ranking has him slightly lower, but still a four-star, and Rivals considers him a three-star prospect.
With a recruitment as quiet as Benhart’s, most of the insight is just tea-leaf reading. But it’s worth pointing out that he’s making a return trip to Lincoln on the one open weekend before playoff football starts. NU, of course, has verbal pledges from tackles Matthew Anderson (Leesville, Louisiana) and Michael Lynn (Englewood, Colorado) as well as junior college interior lineman Desmond Bland (Arizona Western) but is aiming for a big offensive line class and would love to add Benhart to its young collection.
“I know he likes Coach Frost and was impressed with the culture,” Vossen said. “Obviously the tradition there is pretty impressive. I’m sure, like any other kid – he didn’t tell me this, I’m just honestly speculating – you go ‘Alright, wow, how long will it take to turn this thing around?’
“I know that winning and competing at a high level are important to him, I know he wants to somewhere that has a great game day atmosphere.”
|Matthew Anderson||OT||6-7||250||Leesville, La.||***|
|Bryce Benhart||OT||6-9||305||Lakeville, Minn. (North)||****|
|Desmond Bland||OL||6-4||300||Flossmoor, Ill. (Arizona Western C.C.)||****|
|Darien Chase||WR||6-1||175||Vancouver, Wash. (Union)||****|
|Myles Farmer||DB||6-3||180||Atlanta (Westlake)||***|
|Jamin Graham||OLB||6-6||240||Attalla, Ala. (Etowah)||***|
|Jackson Hannah||ILB||6-3||220||Nashville, Tenn. (Montgomery Bell)||****|
|Nick Henrich||ILB||6-4||210||Omaha (Burke)||****|
|Chris Hickman||TE||6-5||220||Omaha (Burke)||***|
|Rahmir Johnson||RB||5-10||170||Oradell, N.J. (Bergen Catholic)||****|
|Michael Lynn||OT||6-7||300||Englewood, Colo. (Cherry Creek)||***|
|Luke McCaffrey||QB||6-3||185||Littleton, Colo. (Valor Christian)||***|
|Dedrick Mills||RB||5-10||227||Waycross, Ga. (Garden City C.C.)||***|
|Jamie Nance||WR||6-0||170||Blanchard, Okla.||***|
|Mosai Newsom||DE||6-5||260||Waverly, Iowa (Waverly-Shell Rock)||***|
|Quinton Newsome||DB||6-2||180||Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett)||***|
|Ethan Piper||DL||6-4||275||Norfolk (Catholic)||***|
|Wandale Robinson||RB||5-9||180||Frankfurt, Ky. (Western Hills)||****|
|Ronald Thompkins||RB||6-0||203||Loganville, Ga. (Grayson)||***|
|Javin Wright||DB||6-3||195||Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton)||***|