Encino (Calif.) Crespi quarterback Bryan Bennett was already well thought of and many considered him one of the top quarterbacks in Los Angeles after he threw for 1,650 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior. But a strong showing at the recent Los Angeles NIKE Training Camp helped reinforce that he's a special passer.
"I didn't think I did my best, but I thought I did do pretty well," he said. "People seemed to like me. I talked to one of the guys running it afterwards, and he said that I was in the running for MVP and if they had co-MVPs I would have got it. It's alright, though, as long as I got noticed. It was cool to see all the competition out there."
Bennett was excited to get the type of praise.
"It feels really good, I just feel like you go out there and compete with all those other guys and show that I can do anything that they can do," he said. "It just helps my recruiting process if I get this publicity and stuff like that."
Bennett, who is 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, is still searching for his first offer, but plenty of schools are showing heavy interest.
"I haven't gotten any offers yet, but I've been starting to get a lot more phone calls from colleges," Bennett said. "Actually, coach Andy Ludwig from Cal, their offensive coordinator, is flying down watch me throw at practice today. I've been talking to them a lot and I really like Cal. We'll see what happens with that."
Bennett believes the visit from Cal today could lead to a scholarship offer from the Bears. And the offer would put Cal way up high on his list.
"I feel that him coming to see me in person will help me out," he said. "I think I can show him what I can do first-hand. I know that they already like me from watching my film, and hopefully this can seal the deal. I can only hope, I don't want to get my hopes too high."
So is Cal his favorite?
"At this point, yeah, I'd say so," he said.
Why do the Bears register so high on his list?
"My coaches were up there and my coach said they were sitting in the office watching film and coach Ludwig told them that he's never seen coach Tedford as fired about a player since he watched my film," Bennett said.
"I like that it's not too far away from home. The coaches seem to be really cool. Also, I know some guys that play there now, like (sophomore linebacker) D.J. Holt. I played with him when I was a freshman. He said he likes it a lot up there. I know coach Tedford and coach Ludwig both have great histories with quarterbacks. I just don't see any going wrong if I went there, I don't see and downsides to me going there."
But Cal isn't alone in their pursuit of Bennett. Other schools have showed him quite a bit of interest.
"I've talked to Washington State a lot," he said. "I've talked to Coach (Todd) Sturdy over there. I've talked to Arizona a little bit, I went up to Junior Day for UCLA and I went to their summer camp last summer, so I've talked to them as well. I talked to Tennessee the other day, and I've to talked Boise State a lot.
"I've talked to Oregon a lot. I really like Oregon. My coaches went up there for a coaching clinic and they seemed to be telling my coaches they had interest in me. Just from looking at the school and checking out its facilities and stuff, it looks like a great place up there."
Bennett has a few things in mind when it comes to the perfect school.
"For me, it would be nice not to go too far away from home," he said.
"A good offense, anyone in the spread because that's what I've been running all my years, I can always go over to pro-style, I wouldn't mind doing that. Mostly looking for a good history of quarterbacks because my ultimate goal is to get to the NFL, so I want to be at a place where I know they have a good situation at quarterback. And then I also want to look at the quarterbacks they've recruited before me and see where I stand on playing early. Maybe start three years, at least start two years."
Bennett would like to make the decision early if he could, but isn't going to just commit to commit.
"I'm not going to go jump at something just because it's my first offer," he said. "I'm not going to take too long, I don't think, but I just want to make sure it's the right place for me. I wouldn't mind committing before the season starts to get it out of the way and focus on winning the CIF championship."