Late last night, Michigan grabbed another 2021 East coast recruit when Suffield (Conn.) Academy four-star defensive end Kechaun Bennett committed to Michigan. After putting the Wolverines into his top six just a day prior, Bennett felt no need to wait any longer, admitting that he favored U-M all along.
With Bennett’s addition to Michigan’s 2021 class, U-M now has a top 5 group of commits with the newest pledge adds a particular pass rushing flair. Standing at 6-4 and 220 pounds, Bennett played most of the 2019 season with his hand in the dirt as a speedy defensive end that can close the pocket.
Bennett is quick off the snap and often uses an up-and-under approach to gain a step on offensive tackles. This move worked time and time again last year, and it is part of his quickly growing arsenal of pass rush moves that will be put to the test this season.
“I think I’m going to still play defensive end, but I think they’re going to give me a choice on whether I want to play with my hand down or in a two-point stance,” Bennett told Wolverine Digest. “But I’m also just going to practice my linebacker skills so that when I get [to Michigan] I’ll be ready for it.”
According to Bennett, U-M defensive coordinator is planning for the four-star to enter college at the Viper position and play in a role that will include frequent opportunities to rush the passer in addition to the flexibility to drop back into coverage. Bennett played linebacker during his sophomore year of high school, so he’s familiar with what the role will entail. Lately, though, Bennett has worked on keeping his athleticism while he continues to grow.
“I’ve been working on transitioning and flipping my hips and opening my hips more and trying to get bigger and add on weight,” Bennett said.
Though Bennett currently has a slender frame, the Michigan commit sheds blocks well and is aggressive in his pursuit of the football, so he’s both large enough to take on lead blockers in the box and quick enough to evade lineman when blitzing the quarterback.
Overall, Bennett is a prospect that can occupy the edge and serve as a versatile defender from the Viper position. To shed more light on Bennett’s skill set, 247Sports.com national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn broke down the Michigan commit’s tape to provide a deeper look into his game.
“Thin build but has length and frame to add 30 pounds and play at 250,” Dohn said. “Accomplished wrestler. Fires off ball quickly with low pad level. Gets up field. Disruptive against the pass. Uses speed to slip inside but flourishes getting around edge. Speed to chase plays down from behind. Stays true to assignment. Able to re-direct down line of scrimmage. Is flexible and bends at knees. Has to add strength and mass in upper and lower body. Has to be stronger to stack and shed. Must improve in run defense. Relies heavily on speed and must develop technique. Multi-year starter at Top 20 program.”
Last season, Josh Uche and Kwity Paye served in a similar fashion as impactful edge rushers, but it sounds as if Bennett will take on Khaleke Hudson’s role at Viper and drop into coverage a bit more often. In any event, Bennett will bring the ability to disguise Michigan’s defensive play call given his experience at multiple positions, so that’s an added bonus to Brown’s at-times intricate defense.
How would you use Bennett at the next level? What position does he seem to be more of a natural fit for, linebacker or defensive end? Let us know!