March 3, 2011

Catching up with Bennett, Haskins & Bennett

As position players, they are doing now what they have done for years.

As an offensive lineman, direct bound (West Point) Nick Bennett is staying in shape by lifting weights five days a week and running eight-minute miles three times a week.

Running backs Miles Bennett and Ja'Quail Haskins, who will report to USMAPS this summer, are doing exactly what running backs do: running.

Both are outstanding sprinters on their high school track and field teams. Both run the 100 and 200 meters, and right now, having to compete scholastically, they are focusing on the end of their high school careers.

Nick Bennett, who at 6-foot-2 and just under 275 pounds, can't wait to leave high school and get to West Point.

"Kids have been telling me forever that I'm really big, that I'm such a good football player - if I hear it too much I might start to think I can cut down my workouts.''


He has been working in the weight room since his football season ended at Eastern High School in Louisville. Mostly he works on his explosiveness, doing deep squats and firing out.

Two hours in the gym is not unusual.

Unlike the other two, Bennett runs long distance, doing eight-minute miles in preparation for BEAST. He figures if he gets up to 280 pounds he can afford to lost 10-15 pounds this summer and still be in good shape. He played at 260 last season.

With the Black Knights returning only one starter on the offensive line, Bennett knows there are opportunities to make an impact … at least try and make the 3 deep. And he is not someone who wants to show up to practice just trying to learn the system.

"I'm doing everything I can to get an edge,'' he said. "I hate sitting out and not playing. My attitude is to go in and win a job.''

Neither of the running backs needs to be concerned with making the big club. Not that they won't be competing for minutes at the prep of course. So while the lineman goes right to the gym or hits the running trail, the RBs are soaking up their final spring of high school.

To be fair, they are not just running. Each lifts weights on weekends, with Haskins adding, "I also do push-ups and sit-ups every day.''

Offered Miles Bennett, who attends Jesuit High in Tampa, Fla., "It's hard to try and train for both track and football at the same time, especially if you're trying to be competitive.''

The closest they are to Army football right now is wearing their gear. "I'm wearing an Army hoodie right now,'' Haskins laughed over his cell phone from Texas.

Nick Bennett said that classmates tease him because all he seems to wear now is Army black. "I have four shirts,'' he said.

Miles Bennett said he wears an Army sweat suit, noting that, "I really like the hoodie. It's pretty nice. I guess I better start ordering more - but I guess I'll be up there soon enough.''

Ready to run.

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