Bryan Bennett — Beyond Oregon

Bryan Bennett 37, CU,12,KC

While most Oregon fan have all but forgotten Bryan Bennett after he lost his job to Marcus Mariota, I have been following him at Southeastern Louisiana University (SELU). SELU, being the college I will attend in the near future, made it particularly interesting to me when Oregon’s QB transferred there. Ironically, while everyone is jumping on the “Mariota’s overrated” bandwagon, Bennett’s stock is on the rise, and he is being seen as a potential mid-round NFL draft pick.

Bennett running with Oregon

Kevin Cline

Bennett toting the rock for Oregon.

Since being at SELU, Bennett has played well and routinely showed off the ability that got him to Oregon in the first place. In his first year of “exile” in Hammond, Louisiana, Bennett threw for more than 3,000 yards with a 60% completion rate and ran for 1,000, scoring 37 total TDs. This would make him the team leader in both categories. On the negative side, Bennett also had 11 INTs; despite this he led SELU to the FCS playoffs, and had a solid year overall.

In his second year at SELU, Bennett came out of the gates with one of his better games in his career, throwing for 2 TDs and 1 INT with 311 yards passing, adding another 97 yards and a TD on the ground.

In this game against Jacksonville State, Bennett had career long TD passes and rushes of 89 and 83 yards respectively, as well as a season-best 68% completions. He then led his team in rushing yards for the second straight week against Utah State, scoring 3 more TDs with one INT in the victory.

Bennett will be a dark horse QB candidate in the upcoming NFL draft.

Game 3 was the one everyone had circled on their calendars as Bennett played his only FBS opponent of the year in Tulane. Unfortunately, Bennet did not play well against the Green Wave, going into the half down 28-3.

In the second half Bennett began to rally his team, cutting the lead to 13 before throwing a late pick that allowed Tulane to seal the 35-20 victory. After this game Bennett went on to have a solid season, being a Walter Payton Award candidate for the second straight year and leading SELU to their second FCS playoff in as many years.

In a playoff game against Sam Houston State, Bennett played on an injured foot. He set the school record for career TDs with 69, running for two and throwing another in this game. Despite this, Bennet clearly struggled to throw accurately and completed only 17-of-48 passes in the 21-17 loss.

These Two Former Team Mates Stories May Still Be Intertwined

These two former teammates’ stories may yet be intertwined.

Going into the 2015 NFL Draft, Mel Kiper, Jr. of ESPN has Bennett ranked as a mid-round pick and as the No. 6 QB overall. Interestingly one can draw parallels between Bennett and Mariota.

They have very similar skill sets, sizes and builds. Both have had similar success at their levels of play since being teammates in 2012. Both of them had great debut seasons, being candidates for their respective player of the year awards before having somewhat lackluster second years. The biggest difference in playing style is that Bennett is much more a gambler and a gunslinger, as reflected by the number of INTs he throws.

While both QBs are clearly talented, Bennett is the much rawer of the two and will need to develop behind a veteran to make it in the league, while Mariota could start immediately. Nonetheless these two QBs futures could very well be intertwined, with many Oregon fans likely to compare their careers at the pro level.

Top Photo By Kevin Cline

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Noah Smith

Noah Smith

Noah is an undergraduate student from just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. Noah is currently pursuing a communications degree with the goal of becoming a sports journalist. Noah is a die hard Duck fan, mainly because of his obsession with football's X's and O's. In his free time he enjoys watching both pro and college football games,playing and listening to music, and drawing up his own playbooks.

  • maddog48

    What an assinine assertion that Mariota is overrated. I have followed Bryan’s career at Southeast Louisiana. He has enjoyed a nice two years. That being said, how many FCS championship games did he get into? While I hope Bryan makes it in the NFL the reality is that we was not as talented as Mariota, realized it and transferred to a lower division school where his talents would be maximized.

    • Noah James Smith

      I didn’t assert Mariota was overrated, that is what the so called “NFL experts” such as Todd McShay are saying about Mariota’s draft stock. For college Mariota clearly is in another class. When they get to the pros anything can happen. The comparisons made between the two was too illustrate their similar play styles and abilities.

      • maddog48

        Actually, you did not attribute the comment about Mariota being overrated to “NFL experts” in your article.

  • worldwidewebfoot

    Best of luck to Bryan Bennett. While we are on the subject of former Duck quarterbacks, the New York Times ran a long piece this past week on Jeremiah Masoli.

    Jeremiah “made bad choices” off the field, but boy oh boy could he play football! His play against Oklahoma State and Oregon State was superb. And in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State Jeremiah brought the Ducks to a lead in the third quarter. Best of luck to Jeremiah also.

  • The Guest

    Wait….. FCS????

    Ok, if you say so!!!!

    And for the record, that’s not even the quote that was used.