For all the buzz about the new offense and the hopes of it seeing improvements this year, there was a strong inclination to choose an offensive player for the last article of the Five Breakout Players series. But at the end of the day, it came down to another defensive player, and that player is Chico Bennett Jr. The defense, and in particular the defensive line, could be one unit that could help the Yellow Jackets make significant strides in head coach Geoff Collins’ second season. And a player like Bennett is definitely situated to contribute to the defense’s effort in making such a difference.
Originally from Ashburn, Virginia, Bennett played high school football at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, Tennessee. A true sophomore, Bennett was originally recruited by Paul Johnson and committed to Tech in 2018. Though listed as a linebacker on ramblinwreck.com, Bennett makes his home on the edge of the defensive line as one of its edge rushers. Listed at 6’4” and 228 pounds, Bennett is a speedy defender with moves that allow him to get to the quarterback and disrupt plays.
Last season Bennett got off to a good start in Tech’s season opener against Clemson. In that game he recorded four solo tackles in what was a solid debut. In seven games he is credited with 17 tackles, including 12 solo tackles, five assists, and one of which was a sack. Unfortunately, Bennett suffered a lower body injury that would force his freshman season to end early.
In 2020, Bennett should be back to playing form by the start of the season. If he can stay healthy and play to the level that he’s capable of, the 2020 season could easily be a breakout year for the sophomore edge rusher. Watching footage of him, it’s clear that he’s quick and reacts to where the ball is going. This allows him to be a disruptive player who can break up plays. He’s also got a keen ability to hone in on the quarterback causing much mayhem — and we all know that’s something Collins can utilize.
This is not the first article that I or the FTRS staff have written about Chico Bennett Jr., and I’m expecting it probably won’t be the last.