By Kyra Hallett
Michael Bennett, DE, #71
Hometown: Alief, TX
College: Texas A&M
Michael Bennett Jr. was born on November 13, 1985 in Avondale, Louisiana. Football runs in his family as his younger brother, Martellus Bennett is a tight end for the New York Giants. The two got to play against each other when the Bucs and Giants faced off in Week Two. The brothers had a friendly wager going on. The brother whose team lost would have to pay for the winning brother’s family vacation. Michael ended up losing the bet, but no word yet where Martellus will being going on vacation.
Michael Bennett attended Alief Taylor High School near Houston, Texas. In his junior year, Bennett earned honorable mention All-District honors. In his senior year he earned first-team All-District honors as a defensive lineman. He made 110 tackles and four sacks that season.
Bennett went to Texas A&M where he majored in agricultural and life sciences. As a freshman in 2005, Bennett played in 11 games and started four. He recorded 24 tackles and three sacks. In 2006, he was the team’s top tackler that didn’t start a game with 27 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles. In 2007, Bennett only started one game but was an honorable mention All-Big 12 by the coaches, racking up 43 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. In 2008, Bennett started and played in all 11 games getting 42 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumbled and one interceptions for one yard.
At the NFL Combine, Bennett had a 31″ vertical jump, a 9’2″ broad jump, ran a 5.00 forty-yard dash with a 10-yard split of 1.62 and a 20-yard split of 2.84.
Bennett went undrafted and ended up signing with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent on April 27, 2009. During the preseason that year, he had nine tackles, two sacks, a tipped pass and a fumble recovery. Bennett made the final roster but was waived on October 10, 2009 to make room for offensive tackle Kyle Williams. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Bennett two days later on October 12 to fill in for the injured Gerald McCoy.
Bennett has a total of 68 tackles, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries for his career. This season, he has started all five games and leads the team in sacks with four. He has also made11 tackles and two forced fumbles. Bennett has been very strong on defense, teaming up with McCoy in bringing pressure on the opposing quarterback and stopping the run. Bennett is having a career year but gives the credit to his teammates. “The guys around me help me play better,” said Bennett. Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano said the next step for Bennett is to show that he can play at this level with consistency. Bennett said, I’m “trying to get better every week.”
Bennett has also helped out in the community. On Day of Giving in December 2010, he helped surprise 30 families with tickets, gift cards, and more. Bennett also took part in the Bucs’ Thanksgiving event where the team distributes meals to the homeless. He has even taken part in speaking and participated in spots with students where they talk about staying in shape and eating healthy.
Bennett and fans hopes he can continue with his successful season.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.