College football recruiting is all about the relationships.
And it was relationships that helped Georgia Tech beat out Duke and Wake Forest for KirVonte Benson, a 2-star running back from Marietta High School.
The 5-foot-8, 185-pounder is commitment No. 22 for Georgia Tech’s 2015 recruiting class. Benson has developed a friendship with Andy McCollum, the recruiting coordinator for the Yellow Jackets.
“Coach McCollum is a Marietta alum,” Marietta coach Scott Burton explained to the AJC. “He played football here. He’s one of the legends that has come through Marietta High School. He has known about (Benson) for several years. Andy’s son played for us when KirVonte was a sophomore.
“So Andy knew about KirVonte when he was literally brand-new to the game. I think Georgia Tech had a leg up in recruiting all along because of the head start that Coach McCollum had, and he was able to build a great relationship. KirVonte and his family felt really comfortable about the knowing the connection was deeper than it was with most other recruiting relationships.”
What made Benson select Georgia Tech? “Duke and Wake Forest were the two primary contenders,” Burton said. “All three of those schools offer a great education, and they play in one of the best conferences in the nation. But Georgia Tech is in his backyard. It was the perfect storm of circumstances for him.”
Here’s a little on Benson’s background: He’s a speed guy, and he turned heads by winning a state championship in the 100 meters as a sophomore. “That’s no small feat – as a sophomore in the state’s largest classification,” Burton said. “He’s also a 23-7 long jumper as well.”
Benson decided to give football a try a couple of years ago, and his speed is obviously his greatest asset. But he doesn’t use it how you would think he would use it.
“Normally those speed guys are guys that are real shifty, and they look to bounce things outside,” Burton said. “That’s not his (Benson’s) style. He has the speed, but he’s a guy who likes to go north-south rather than look for a way to bounce outside like most of them.”
What position will Benson play at Georgia Tech? He could play any of three spots in the offensive backfield. “It could be A-Back or B-Back. It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that he could play fullback as well. Because I’m not so sure he won’t get bigger. He’s 195 pounds right now, and kids typically gain 15-20 pounds in college. So it remains to be seen which one of those three positions he will play. But he’ll help them out somewhere.”
Benson is recovering from a knee injury suffered in the final game of his senior season. “We don’t think it’s anything serious but it does require some therapy,” Burton said. “It’s nothing lingering. We don’t know about surgery. It doesn’t look like he’ll have surgery at this point but we’re not quite sure yet. But it will be fairly minor surgery if it is.”
Because Benson is a relatively newcomer to football, he is rated as the state’s No. 178 overall prospect for 2015.
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