Wide receiver commit Jarrell Bennett has been through an experience this season both on and off the field. The three-star prospect from New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr went to his second consecutive state title game and came away empty handed for the second straight year. Off the field, Bennett's recruitment was thrown for a loop when the program he was committed to, Arizona, went through a mid-season coaching change.
Through it all the slot receiver prospect has remained loyal to the Wildcats and he will finally get to take his official visit to Tucson this week. His previous trips were postponed as his high school team kept winning in the Class 4A playoffs late last year.
Bennett said that he's happy to finally be able to get out to Tucson and see his future school this weekend.
"Well, basically, I'm looking forward to meeting the coaching staff and getting a real close bond with them," Bennett said. "Also spending time out there to see how the school is and how [Tucson] looks, and just seeing what the school will have to offer me for the next four years."
The Louisiana native had an existing relationship with UA offensive coordinator Calvin Magee while he was at Pittsburgh, but Bennett said they pair has become closer now that both of them have landed with the 'Cats.
"I talk to coach Magee a lot," Bennett said. "We have a real good bond and he has a lot of expectations for me. He thinks and hopes that I can come in and work hard, because he believes I can play as a true freshman. Our relationship is real close, so I'm just looking forward to spending time with him and all the coaching staff. And really getting a chance to meet my wide receivers coach, and get a real close bond with him because he'll be coaching me for the next four or five years."
Bennett said now that his team's playoff run is over, he can focus on getting ready for playing college football next fall and it has him excited and grateful.
"I'm real excited because not a lot of kids are blessed and fortunate enough to get to play on the next level," he said. "And I'm fortunate enough, so I just want to take my talents to Arizona and Tucson. I just want to work hard and things will fall into place for me. I just want to go out there and compete, then hopefully things will fall my way."
The 5-foot-10 recruit said that he's been putting in work since the season ended to stay in shape for next year, but he will kick it into high gear once he arrives back home from Tucson.
"I'm working out a little bit," Bennett said. "I've been in the weight room getting stronger. I haven't started catching balls yet, but I'm going to start doing that once I get back from Arizona. As far as staying in shape, I've just been mainly working on my strength."
While he's remained solid to the Wildcats throughout all that has transpired in Tucson this season, Bennett said there was a time when the coaching change put a lot of strain on him and his commitment status.
"Well, at first, when coach Stoops got fired my options opened back up," Bennett said. "But when coach (Rich) Rodriguez became the coach, I closed those doors. When you commit to a team, it's like a marriage. I feel like if you commit to a team, you should stay there unless there is a coaching change. We had that, but I'm still looking forward to playing under coach Rodriguez.
"When he coached at Tulane, I was a little kid, but he's a winner. Kids want to be coached by winners and have the opportunity to play in a bowl game, and I think coach Rodriguez is going to bring that to Arizona."