July 7, 2005

JUCO lineman looking to stay in California

After recording more than 10 sacks and 70 tackles last year, Jeff Benjamin figures to be one of the most heavily recruited JUCO defensive linemen in California this year.

Cal, Utah, Fresno State, Oregon, Oregon State, San Diego State and Arizona are among the colleges that have shown strong interest in the 6-foot-3, 265-pounder from Riverside (Calif.) Community College.

"My recruiting is still wide open," Benjamin explained. "There are a lot more schools that are starting to come in and show interest. I am just trying to focus on the season right now and then towards the end of the season, I'll start singling down where I want to go. Right now I am just glad to be getting looked at."

"All of them are telling me that I could come in and help them but they want to see how my sophomore season goes before they jump in and offer a scholarship," he added. "They want to wait and see my first couple games."

Do any colleges currently stand out? "I am really interested in Cal, Fresno [State] and San Diego State right now," Benjamin stated. "I'm still really open but I would like to stay in California or close to it."

One of Benjamin's best friends from high school, Brett Martin, plays for the Aztecs. "I like San Diego State a lot," he expressed. "I was looking at their recruiting and they have been number one recruiting the Mountain West the past three years so that is just showing that the future of the program is going in the right direction.

"If I were to jump in right now it would be with those that were highly ranked recruits out of high school. I see them as being a program on the rise. It's a beautiful city out there, too."

Assistant head coach and defensive line coach Jim House is responsible for Benjamin's recruitment from the Aztecs' staff.

Benjamin will be ready to join his college of choice next spring with two years of eligibility left: "I only have three courses left so I will definitely be ready in December."

What separates Benjamin from most defensive linemen? "I go against guys that are 6-foot-8 and I throw them around because I play with good leverage and I'm real quick," he said. "I think those are probably my best two attributes as a football player."

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