Having had the chance to speak to and research each of the incoming New Pirates for the upcoming edition of Bonesville Magazine, I get to get a sense of the guys who might have an early impact, be solid players, and even some of the kids that might not pan out. Going back to the first edition of the magazine, I think I have interviewed ~300 incoming freshmen, JUCO and non-JUCO transfers, and even a good number of preferred walk-ons, spanning the Steve Logan, John Thompson, Skip Holtz and now Ruffin McNeill tenures. Doesn’t make me an expert, but it does afford me some form a trending information.
For the record, the two players who I think will make the biggest impacts are Tristan Mumford and Breon Allen and maybe DeShaun Benton (only if our secondary is really that bad). More on that for another post, but in keeping with a mini-spoiler for the magazine, I was really impressed with Kurt Benkert. So much so, I am convinced that he will be the one who wins the job vacated by Shane Carden after the 2014 season. There is so much to like about his game and his attitude. No deference to Cody Keith, who I think could be a good quarterback for us, but to me Benkert was built for the position.
Watching his YouTube videos, the kid has had a knack for the QB position since he was a Pop Warner player. Coach Lincoln Riley called him the team’s No. 1 target back during recruiting, for a reason. At 6-3 and a 190 pounds, he has the classic build and his footwork is great, probably because he has been a quarterback his entire playing life.
The fact that Florida State was camping out on his doorstep during the late stages of his recruitment and up to national signing day, is pretty revealing evidence to the type of talent he is. Just watch his junior and senior season highlight films…his pocket presence is great, his accuracy outstanding, and his decision-making beyond his years. And this is against Florida talent, not run of the mill by any means. Even as a skinny-little sophomore, when his family lived in Maryland, it was evident he was a future star.
He also has a maturity about him…a “yes sir” and “no sir” kind of guy. He and his fiance arrived at ECU together…he isn’t distracted by the party scene. And, he is intent on winning the job sooner or later. Confident, not cocky. A leader who is willing to be mentored…he said he really look s up to Carden, who he said has been nothing less than gracious as the incumbent starter. And, he pushes his recruiting class teammates. He considers the receivers, backs, and linemen who have come in with him as “his” team…the guys who will catch, run, and block for him.
I’m sold and looking forward to watching his game evolve. He will probably be redshirted, which makes sense, to allow him for potentially three years at the helm.
Any way, that’s my take on one of our New Pirates.
Love to hear your thoughts on Benkert or any other Pirate on the roster.