FAYETTEVILLE — Covington (Ga.) Newton Class of 2023 three-star defensive tackle Justin Benton was among the recruits at Arkansas on Saturday as he opted for an official visit.
Benton, 6-2, 285, committed to West Virginia on June 18. But Arkansas, Texas and others continued to recruit him hard. He talked about how the visit to Arkansas went for him.
“The greatest part of the visit is coach (Sam) Pittman,” Benton said. “Just the kind of person he is. You can tell while sitting down and talking with him before the game how genuine he was. How genuine he felt about me as a prospect being as being a guy they’re trying to finish the 2023 class and they thought highly enough of me to bring me on an official visit and show me Arkansas and show me what they have to offer. I loved everything about the visit.”
Benton attended Arkansas’ game against Liberty. He talked about what caught his attention at the game.
“Just the atmosphere before the game,” Benton said. “Just how everybody loves Arkansas football in Arkansas. You could just tell when the players were coming onto the field. The atmosphere around the stadium, who wouldn’t want to play in that? Everybody loves the football team. Just the vibe from the guys on the team. Everybody loves coach Pittman. Everybody wants to play for him so anytime the head coach can get their team riled up like that, rally and ready to play, that’s a testament of what type of person he is.”
Benton talked about how it seems all the players on the team respect Pittman.
“That’s the testament to what kind of person he is,” Benton said. “He’s going to keep it real with you. You can feel the authenticity when you talk to him. He doesn’t shade you on anything. I feel like that’s the best type of person you can ask for. A person that is going to keep it real with you. Somebody you aren’t going to have to jump to conclusions with. I love everything about him.”
The Hogs are recruiting Benton to play defensive tackle. His player host was freshman JJ Hollingsworth.
“He’s pretty cool and I like him,” Benton said. “He’s from Arkansas so he loves everything about it. Everything about the school. He likes the system they’re running. He’s ready to get on the field. He’s a pretty good guy and I’m glad he’s my host.”
Benton and his school are 6-4 on the season. They have a playoff game against Marietta this Saturday. In the first eight games of the season, Benton had 42 tackles, 14 solo, eight for loss and three sacks.
The following week after the Marietta game Benton will possibly take his final official visit.
“I’m taking an official visit to Texas then I will make my final decision,” Benton said. “Maybe in two weekends.”
Benton has approximately 20 offers. His father, Phillip Benton, was a linebacker at Georgia from 1992-95. Benton also holds SEC offers from such schools as Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi State, Kentucky and South Carolina. Florida State, Penn State, Michigan State and Oregon are among his other offers. He also was offered by Illinois on Sunday.
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