High School: Suffield Academy (CT)
Measurables: 6-foot-4, 220 pounds
Ranking: Four-star (.8925 composite), No. 349 overall, No. 22 SDE
Other finalists: Notre Dame, Syracuse
Writing about a guy like Kechaun Bennett is difficult to do now that Don Brown won’t be his defensive coordinator.
For one, Bennett is another New England guy who everyone just kind of assumed would end up in Michigan’s class because of Brown’s reputation. He was right in the sweet spot for Michigan to take. He’s a four-star, but not highly ranked enough that the big powerhouses come calling. He attends an elite boarding school in Connecticut and was seriously considering schools like Notre Dame and Cal.
He’s a quiet prospect who didn’t do many interviews while his commitment was open. Despite his lack of communication, he was always thrown in projections of Michigan’s class. Michigan unsurprisingly made Bennett’s top six, but that was just a formality. The day after releasing that list, Bennett committed to the Wolverines.
Projecting Bennett’s position is now much tougher as well. During his recruitment, Bennett said he was being pitched as a VIPER, which now doesn’t exist in Michigan’s defense.
At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Bennett doesn’t fit the mold of a standard VIPER, though. Instead, most analysts who evaluated him said he would fit best in another extinct defensive role, the pass-rushing SAM a la Josh Uche.
Now, the new defensive coordinator who has not officially been named at the time of this writing, will have the benefit of choosing where he sees Bennett fits best. Luckily, his skill set could work in a variety of schemes.
In the world of college football, situations can change on a dime. But for someone who was so dead set on attending Michigan, it seems likely Bennett will stick it out and adapt well to whatever scheme the team starts running.
Junior (8 games): 48 tackles, 7 sacks, 12 TFL
- Lanky frame with long arms
- Quick-twitch burst off the line
- Good closing speed to shorten distance between him and the ball carrier
- Plays too high, standing up after the snap
- Doesn’t use hands enough to create separation
- Has to add weight and strength to his frame
Bennett’s game is inconsistent right now because so many of his positive traits are belied by a corresponding skill that needs to be improved.
Bennett is long and lanky, with arms that will be able to separate him from a blocker so he can’t be engaged. However, Bennett doesn’t use his arms enough when taking on a blocker. Instead of stacking and shedding, Bennett catches blocks with his shoulder, letting blockers into his kitchen and losing leverage.
Off the snap, Bennett shows good burst. He’s got a quick twitch that helps him gain depth upfield quickly. But he has a tendency of getting too high when he fires off, which makes it hard for him to dip his shoulder and get around tackles and into the pocket. He is a state-ranked wrestler, so he should be able to easily adapt to playing with more leverage.
Overall, I think Bennett can work on his agility and change of direction, but he closes quickly in a straight line. He’s able to chase down ball carriers from behind and plays with good effort to crash the backside.