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Auburn TE will return for fifth year


AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Cole Bennett couldn't bear to end his Auburn career as a spectator.

After the senior tight end sustained a broken right ankle in the LSU game, he didn't want to take a redshirt season.

Bennett changed his mind after the 10th-ranked Tigers' win over Alabama, deciding to return for a fifth season.

"I told my family before that I wasn't coming back, and it wasn't until Thanksgiving that I told them I basically changed my mind and told them I was thinking about coming back," he said. "I felt like if I left now, if I never got to go back, I'd never get another shot at this."

Bennett will travel with the team to the Cotton Bowl game against No. 22 Nebraska, and hopes to even participate in a few practices.

He's hoping that will end his time as a mere spectator.

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"I just feel like I'm not part of anything, I feel like I'm on an island, I'm not even really part of the team," Bennett told the Opelika-Auburn News. "It's really frustrating when you're watching film and doing stuff, and these guys are getting ready to play a game, and I'm not going to play Nebraska. I don't need to learn their defenses."

Bennett will get to play another year because he hadn't previously redshirted and only played in three games this season before his injury.

Returning also means he can finish his master's degree in Management Information Systems.

Bennett's main role with the team since the injury has been to help mentor redshirt freshman tight ends Tommy Trott and Gabe McKenzie.

"I just try to give them pointers whenever I can," he said. "I kind of have to remember how it was when I was that age, when I was playing like that.

"I guess they've listened a lot more than I thought."