2020 an Opportunity for Kivon Bennett to Create a Legacy of His Own

Matthew Ray

Kivon Bennett is the son of a former college and NFL great, Cornelius Bennett. The elder Bennett starred at Alabama as a three-time All-American selection, and he garnered SEC Player of the Year Honors and brought home the Lombardi Award as the nation's best player regardless of position. 

During his time at Alabama, Cornelius recorded nearly 300 tackles, 20.5 sacks, and forced 3 fumbles. He would go on to be the 2nd pick in the 1987 NFL Draft. 

His pro career was a successful one, as he finished with five Pro Bowl Selections, three first-team All-Pro Selections, and was twice named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year. 

Now, in 2020, Kivon gets a chance to start his on-field legacy. Bennett signed with Butch Jones' program out of St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) as a four-star prospect, but he saw limited action until last season. He played in just 8 total games his first two seasons, and he redshirted following the 2018 campaign. 

However, in year two under Jeremy Pruitt, Bennett started to turn the corner, as he played in 13 games and produced several big-time plays for the Vols. He finished second on the team in tackles for loss (6), and he produced two sacks. 

For two years, Darrell Taylor was the spark that provided a pass rush for Tennessee, and the Vols are now forced to replace that production. 

Bennett is the guy who has the opportunity to show why genetics are so important, and he is the guy who can become the next big pass rusher for Tennessee. 

His burst off the edge sets him apart, and his ability to contort his body gives opposing tackles a fit. Bennett will see an increase in opportunity, which in turn should lead to an increase in productivity. With a strong defensive line and secondary group, Bennett should be metaphorically foaming at the mouth to go out and rush the passer this fall for Tennessee. It is the role with the biggest question mark, and it is the role that creates fan favorites on Rocky Top. 

Bennett garnered his first collegiate honor last season, as he was named to the PFF SEC Defensive Team of the Week, and it could be the start of several more to come throughout his career. 

Obviously, catching his father on hardware is virtually impossible, as Cornelius's career is transcendent in its own right, but under Jeremy Pruitt and Company in 2020, Kivon has a chance to start paving his own legacy towards the NFL.