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If you’re looking for a big Nebraska recruiting battle, look no further than offensive lineman Bryce Benhart.

Literally.

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.”

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (School) Stars
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. ***
Garrett Nelson OLB 6-3 235 Scottsbluff ***
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) ****
Garrett Snodgrass ATH 6-3 225 York ***
Ronald Thompkins RB 6-0 203 Loganville, Ga. (Grayson) ***
Javin Wright DB 6-3 195 Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton) ***

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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