Bennett Christian is only ranked as a three-star prospect, but there's a reason Kevin Wilson was elated when the young tight end verbally committed to the Buckeyes more than two weeks ago.
Christian brings a strong skillset to the table and furthers the Buckeyes' momentum in the 2022 class.
Let's take a closer look at what the Allatoona (Ga.) High School product brings to Ohio State on the field and in the class following his commitment on Tuesday night.
On the field
He hasn't even played a down yet as a junior, but Christian already stands at 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds. He brings what will be an ideal tight end's body to campus once he signs with Ohio State, and he'll also be bringing a strong athletic lineage.
His father, Bill Christian, was a defensive end at Tennessee in the ’70s under Johnny Majors, his mother was a two-time All-American cheerleader at Tennessee and his uncle was a defensive end at Penn State decades ago.
Those genes have helped Christian develop a strong football IQ and a confident attitude to go with it.
“I don’t wanna sound cocky, but this is my mindset – hopefully this doesn’t sound bad – but how I carry myself is that I’m the best player on the field,” Christian told Eleven Warriors. “I would never tell anyone that because that sounds terrible, but that’s how I go into every game against whoever is lining up across from me: this person cannot compete with me.”
Though he is ranked low at No. 370 overall, No. 19 at tight end and No. 31 in Georgia, Wilson was ecstatic to get him into the fold.
“What they always say to me is they think I’m the most complete tight end they’ve seen, so they think I can catch the ball and block,” Christian said. “I’m not better at one area more than the other, but I’m good at both areas. That’s the main thing that I’ve gotten from them.”
Ohio State notoriously does not use its tight ends a ton in the passing game (at least, their tight ends don't catch a ton of passes), but Christian sees a pretty clear reason why that might be.
“Listen, this is what I always say, Ohio State has the best skill players in the nation,” Christian said. “They have the best receivers, they have the best running backs, and they usually have the best quarterbacks. With that being said, there’s a lot of playmakers on the field. Tight ends are still a huge part in the offense. We have a ton of routes and have a great blocking scheme. A lot of it is masked up by the other amazing talent that’s on the field.”
Off the field
You won't be surprised to hear Christian has some pretty strong character off the field in addition to his talents on it. A person of faith and who loves nature/sights – evidenced by some of the things that stood out to him on his trip to Ohio State's campus – Christian hit it off right away with Wilson, and that was the first foot in the door for the Buckeyes to eventually land him.
“Me and Coach Wilson have really personal conversations,” Christian said. “I really trust him as a person, not just as a coach. We really had that connection, really from when we first started talking of, ‘This is a great man and a great coach.’ It was kind of that instant connection we had. He’s a great man.”
For the record, I am so entirely thankful for the blessings Jesus has given me. Without him I would have nothing and am so, so thankful for my king.— Bennett Christian (@BennettC87) August 20, 2020
Christian also comes from a good support system. Even though his dad is a Tennessee legacy, there was no pushing him to commit to the Volunteers. In fact, it was the opposite.
“He wants me to go to Ohio State. He’s so supportive,” Christian said. “He said, ‘Look, Bennett, listen, you make your own decision. You don’t listen to anyone else but you. Listen to you and God. Listen to your heart.’ He wasn’t pressuring me at all. It’s really cool because most people would think that because he played there, he would be pushing me to go there, but that wasn’t the case at all.”
In the class
Ohio State's search for a two-tight end class is well-documented. That was the plan in 2020, but the Buckeyes only brought in one (Joe Royer). That was again the plan in 2021, but Sam Hart remains the only tight end in the class, and it's becoming increasingly less likely Ohio State adds a second tight end to that class.
While that option is not completely off the table, it's looking more and more likely that the two-tight end class will come in 2022.
“They’ve pretty much said they’re not sure if they’re gonna take one or two (in 2021),” Christian said. “They said it all depends on what they get. If they do end up getting one more in 2021, which is not likely, then they’ll probably just take one in mine. They said they don’t know if they’re gonna take one or two in mine, or maybe take one and then a transfer. That’s kind of what I’m hearing from them.”
Donovan Green will remain a top target on the board for the Buckeyes, who only have two other offers extended to 2022 tight ends: Holden Staes, whose commitment to Penn State wiped the Nittany Lions off of Christian's list, and Benji Gosnell, who adamantly told Eleven Warriors that it will not bother him if a school brings in a second tight end in his class. Gosnell is a very strong candidate to wind up as the other tight end Ohio State brings in, and he will be looking to do what Christian did by taking a trip to the campus sometime in September.
As for the next steps Christian is going to take now that he's embedded in the class, he is going to start getting himself educated on who some of Ohio State's other top targets are so he can provide a helping hand on the recruiting trail. He will especially be helping out “Captain Buckeye” C.J. Hicks, as Hicks is leading the brigade to get the Buckeyes' 2022 class the recruiting crown and contend with their 2021 class for which group holds supremacy.
As of right now, the Buckeyes remain in second place behind LSU (157.69) in the 247Sports recruiting rankings for 2022 with 143.74 points following Christian's commitment.
“Oh, yeah, I’m definitely gonna help them out right away,” Christian said. “I’m gonna start trying to get guys to Ohio State. Once I announce, we’ll kind of go from there.”