Thursday, February 4, 2021

Rayshaun Benny, Wolverine


Is that a beard? I want it to be a beard. It's not a beard. (image via 247 Sports)

Oak Park (MI) Oak Park defensive tackle Rayshaun Benny flipped from Michigan State to Michigan on National Signing Day. Benny also fielded offers from Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, along with numerous others.

Benny is listed at 6'5" and 275 lbs.

ESPN: 4-star, 80 grade, #19 DT
Rivals: 4-star, 5.9 grade, #9 DT, #90 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 91 grade, #16 DT, #212 overall

Hit the jump for more on his commitment.

Benny was considered a tough pull at one point with Michigan fighting to keep Benny away from Ohio State and/or southern schools. Then the Wolverines seemed to jump out to a solid lead. Then Michigan came up with an all-time terrible game plan to beat MSU in the fall of 2020, resulting in an embarrassing loss to a terrible Spartans team. Shortly afterward, Benny committed to the coaches in East Lansing. Michigan kept plugging away and seemed to plant a seed of doubt strong enough to prevent Benny from signing in December. Despite repeated reassurances that he was excited to sign with MSU, he kept listening to the coaches - including the revamped staff. Things were still looking bleak . . . until they weren't.

Like James Hudson in the 2017 class, I like Benny best as an offensive lineman. He's nasty and aggressive and finishes plays. He has a good punch, drives his feet after contact, and punishes defenders. He could wear some people out by the third or fourth quarter. But Michigan recruited him to play defensive tackle, which he reportedly prefers. He played out of position at defensive end in high school, but he will certainly move inside in college.

On the negative side, Benny can get a little overextended and off balance on offense, playing with perhaps a little too much aggression. Defensively, he lacks an explosive first step even though I think he has the physical ability to get off the ball quicker. He could play with heavier hands and a more aggressive punch. Those are things he does on offense, but they don't necessarily translate to defense.

Overall, I see great qualities on offense that don't show themselves on the defensive side of the ball. I think part of that is the position he was playing, and part of it is what he was being asked to do at that position. Those things will change, which will play to his strengths. As Jim Harbaugh might say, "I see an ascending player." Benny should be a serviceable player by 2022, but 2021 looks like a development year.

Michigan has three defensive tackles signed in the 2021 class, including Benny, George Rooks (LINK), and Ike Iwunnah (commitment post coming tomorrow). Michigan has not had much success at Oak Park High School, landing just one commitment (Ja'Raymond Hall) who transferred quickly before retiring from football.

TTB Rating: 81


  1. Big step forward, IMO. Getting three guys at a position of need is the "plus up" many were hoping for. Unfortunately, none will be ready to contribute in 2021, and probably not much by 2022 if we use Mazi or even Hinton as recent comparisons

    Still need to score in the portal

  2. Meanwhile, Alabama signed seven 5 Stars, one DT weighing 330, another DT weighing 299.

    1. Michigan is not Alabama now and they've never been that kind of program. They are not going to sign seven 5-stars every year - not without a geographic advantage, willingness to break the rules overtly, or all those championships they don't have.



  3. Patience is warranted with all linemen. I'm not worried about offense or defense at this point - that will sort itself out after he arrives. Just good to see a big linemen with that offer list end up in AA.

    Nua certainly changed some minds in the last few week. I'm impressed.