- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
Caleb Benenoch is now facing a problem he truly never expected.
The problem is a good one to have, sure, but understand why the four-star offensive lineman from Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes is trying to proceed with caution.
While Benenoch declined to confirm an offer from Texas, he did turn in a standout performance at Sunday’s camp and left Austin with another team pursuing him.
The Michigan State commit is trying to handle this situation the best way he knows how, because the truth is he’s not quite sure what comes next.
Benenoch honestly thought the game was over. When he committed to Michigan State on March 13, he was sure that was the end of the recruiting process.
“I thought it was going to be over and be easy,” he said Saturday. “I didn’t think everybody else would start offering, but I was way wrong about that.”
Put a letter of intent in front of him on that spring day and Benenoch probably would’ve smiled and signed. He was excited about becoming a Spartan. It seemed like the best of his few options.
At the time, only Michigan State, Kansas State, Ole Miss and West Virginia had offered scholarships. There was no Texas junior day invite sitting in his mailbox. The rest of the in-state schools weren’t showing interest either.
“That made me a little mad,” Benenoch said. “I think it made me better. I’m a lot more focused now, and I have a chip on my shoulder.”
But 6-foot-6, 321-pound offensive linemen don’t stay secrets for long. If anything, the commitment to Michigan State might’ve been just what Benenoch needed to get his name out.
The pledge wasn’t a ploy, but it sure yielded results.
Benenoch now holds 16 offers. Going into his trip to Austin, he hoped his favorite school growing up was finally ready to join the list.
“Getting an offer from Texas would be really good,” Benenoch said Saturday. “It would be huge for me. UT gets the best of the best every year. They pretty much have their pick of who they want in the state of Texas.”
Now they’ve picked Benenoch, a physical blocker who prides himself on his versatility and is willing to play anywhere on a college line.
“If you recruit me, it’s not just at one position,” he said. “In my freshman year, if I’m not going to be a starter I can be the No. 1 backup at any position. I can play any position effectively, and my skill set isn’t just limited to one thing.”
He showed off those traits on Sunday and knew he was playing for a scholarship, too. Texas coaches told him prior to the camp they had open spots on the offensive line for their 2013 class. They wanted to make an offer, but first he had to come to Austin and show what he can do.
As much as Benenoch looked forward to that opportunity, it’s no surprise he hasn’t done an interview since leaving the 40 Acres. He’s not sure what to say, or what he can say.
As Benenoch put it on Saturday: “I like Texas, but I don’t want to say anything that will get me in trouble with Michigan State.”
He still values his pledge. Michigan State’s coaches took a chance on Benenoch at a time when he thought no one else would. They made a commitment.
Now what is Caleb Benenoch is going to do with his?