June 6, 2011

Bennett ready to go

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As many around Ohio expected, Centerville's Michael Bennett had an impressive day on Saturday at the state track and field championships. After taking home the gold in the shot put, the future Ohio State defensive tackle backed that up with a second place finish in the discus. For Bennett, the big day capped off an outstanding high school athletic career. Bennett had to earn his gold medal in the shot put on his last throw.

"I wasn't really nervous until I didn't beat (Coy Blair) on my second throw," said Bennett. "I had thrown farther than that this year but when I didn't pass him up on my second throw I started getting a little nervous. I started wondering what I needed to do to fix this."

Bennett's final throw of 63-feet, 11-inches was good enough to win by nearly two feet.

"I've actually thrown 64-feet, 11-inches so that's why I wasn't really nervous on my second throw," he said. "On my last throw of the finals, I was just nervous that if the smallest thing goes wrong that it wasn't going to go that far."

As soon as Bennett's final throw landed, he knew he had it.

"I was just thinking 'state champ'," he said. "It was hard to wrap my mind around it this whole week, if I could actually get it. When the ball hit and it was close to the 65-foot line, I was just pumped."

With Bennett's outstanding scholastic career now over, his focus has completely turned to hit future at Ohio State.

"I can't wait," Bennett said of reporting to Columbus later this month. "Once (track and field) is done, it's all Ohio State for me and I can't wait to get here."

With Bennett already in the fold, Ohio State isn't finished recruiting the school by any means. Fellow linemate Ifeadi Odenigbo is one of the Buckeyes' top targets. Over the last couple of years, Bennett and Odenigbo have developed a strong friendship but Bennett is taking a more laid back approach towards getting Odenigbo to join him in Columbus.

"For the last two years I have picked him up and taken him to school and driven him home from practice and stuff so I know him pretty well," he said. "I would love for him to come to the Buckeyes but if he doesn't want to, I'm not going to give him crap for it. I want him to go wherever he is most comfortable."

As one of the earlier members of the 2011 recruiting class, the news of Jim Tressel's resignation last Monday was disappointing to Bennett.

"Coach (Jim) Heacock called me in the morning and told me what was happening," he said. "I think it's sad for coach Tressel because I think everyone knows how good of a guy he is. If he did those things, he did it for a reason. I know it's against the rules but I still support him 'til the end."

Bennett says he is still all Buckeye and had no thoughts of going anywhere else. With some playing time available on the defensive line this year, Bennett, who is now up 285-pounds, is hoping to come in and contribute.

"I think if I take care of business, do what they tell me, get bigger, and learn the defense, I don't see why I couldn't play," he said.


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