July 13, 2012

Arizona runner mulls Laramie visit

With the off-season dedicated to high school prospects looking to increase their recruiting stock, Phoenix running back Kani Benoit has made some impressive in-roads the summer.

Benoit has seen his recruiting profile pick up recently with offers from New Mexico, South Dakota, North Dakota and Idaho. He has visited Washington, Arizona State and Cal, with the Washington visit standing out to him. Benoit said he also thought New Mexico State may also offer soon.

"I really liked Washington," he said. ""It was good. I got to work out with a lot of the players they have offered and I got to see where I stand. The running back coach said he really liked me, so he said they would be in touch.

"The schools that are talking to me the most I want to see what they have to offer that the others don't. Right now no schools really stand out," he said.

Benoit said the University of Wyoming has been in touch as well through Defensive Line Coach Matt Rahl. Benoit said he was told by the Wyoming coaches they may have a better idea about an available scholarship in the fall. Benoit said he felt like the Cowboy coaching staff must have seen enough tape on him as they sent a coach to watch him in the spring and haven't requested any more from his senior year.

"I like the weather they have," Benoit said about Wyoming. "It doesn't seem bad. I really want to focus on my academics and being somewhere where it isn't too crazy around there and I think Wyoming might be a good place for that.

"I am talking to my dad and coach and waiting to see what trips we can go on," Benoit added when asked about a visit to Laramie. "I would like to get out there before they take their breaks."

The big draw to Benoit seems to be his speed (4.48 in the 40-yard dash) and his agility at 6 feet and 200 pounds. Benoit said he rushed for 1,400 yards last year and 21 touchdowns. The previous two seasons he was used as a slot receiver and said his role is similar to that of a running back at Oregon.

"We run a spread kind of like how Oregon does with DeAnthony Thomas," Benoit said. "Last year I ran for 1,400 yards and was sharing time in the backfield with a senior. It would be just me this year running by myself. I think I can hit the 2,000-yard mark because when our senior got hurt last year, I was running for about 200 yards per game."

Benoit's did his damage for traditional Arizona power Thunderbird, which won a state title in 2010 and made it to the state semifinals last season. Benoit was named First Team All-League, All-District and was an Honorable Mention All-Stater for the Chiefs.

Where his college search is concerned, Benoit said in a perfect world he would stay close to home, but added his family will travel to see him play anywhere. Academic opportunities will play a big part of his decision and he hopes to find a program that will help him become a physicians assistant. He said he also visited a school recently where he saw a highly disciplined approach impressed him.

On the field, he said he is open to whatever offense he can find, but added he would prefer to play in an I-formation set.

In addition to his football proficiency, Benoit also anchored the Thunderbird Chiefs' 4x100 meter relay team to a second place finish at the Arizona State Track Meet, setting a new personal best in the process - a 10.74.

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