College Football 2012 Top 150 Players: No. 95 Mario Benavides Louisville, C
Every day here at Your Best 11, we are counting down to the start of the regular season with our top 150 players for the 2012 season.
No. 95: Mario Benavides, No. 55, Louisville, Center
Benavides has started three seasons at the center position for the Louisville Cardinals. Ultimately, what he brings to the table is a wealth of experience.
If there is a defensive set to be run, the redshirt senior has likely seen it during his three-year career. The 3-3-5 at West Virginia, the 4-3 over look at Wannstedt's Pittsburgh, the aggressive 4-3 blitz scheme of Rutgers under Greg Schiano and plenty more—this kid has seen it all. That experience has helped him become as knowledgeable and as prepared as any center in the nation.
To go with his knowledge is a true talent for playing the position. He has the quickness to snap the ball and make his blocks. The rising senior also has the ability to get to the next level and pick off linebackers after defeating his primary target.
Benavides is a heck of a safety. The issue for him will be how the team around him performs. The Cardinals lose Victor Anderson, their leading rusher, and slide Wildcat quarterback Dominique Brown into the full-time running back slot along with Jeremy Wright.
The potential is most certainly there for the entire Louisville offense, so long as they can get rolling early.
Mario Benavides should be on everyone's short list for the Rimington Trophy. He has the ability, and in playing for a team that has a healthy shot to win the Big East, his accomplishments should match his talent.
Expect Benavides to be a first-team All-Big East-type player this season. As he is protecting Teddy Bridgewater, there will be plenty of eyeballs on him. In the grand scheme of the college football world, Benavides should elbow his way into the conversation with Barrett Jones, Khaled Holmes and Dalton Freeman as college football's best center.
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