Jan. 10, 2008
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Record-breaking Vanderbilt wide receiver Earl Bennett announced today that he intends to make himself available for the 2008 NFL Draft.
Bennett, the Southeastern Conference's career leader in receptions, made the announcement during a press conference held Thursday on campus attended by Head Coach Bobby Johnson, several Vanderbilt coaches and staffers, and numerous Commodore teammates.
Bennett ends his distinguished Commodore career with 236 receptions, 28 more than the next closest player in SEC history. Bennett earned First Team All-SEC recognition from coaches and Associated Press writers last month after hauling in 75 catches, good for 830 yards and five touchdowns during the 2007 season. He also became the only receiver in SEC history to reach the 75-reception plateau in three seasons. He also received the team's postseason Most Valuable Receiver Award.
Bennett holds numerous Vanderbilt receiving records in addition to the career receptions mark. He has the most receiving touchdowns in a game (5, vs. Kentucky, Nov. 12, 2005), and the most receiving yards in a game (223, vs. Richmond, Sept. 1, 2007). Bennett also has the team record for the most receptions by a freshman (79) and sophomore (82); most receiving yards by a freshman (876) and sophomore (1,146); most games with more than 200 receiving yards (3); and most games with 10 or more receptions (9).
Bennett's decision will not allow him to claim several other SEC and Vanderbilt marks that are well within his reach. He departs as the Commodores' third all-time leader in receiving yardage, just 113 yards behind team record-holder Boo Mitchell (2,964 yards, 1985-88) and 242 yards shy of the SEC mark of 3,093 yards set by former Georgia standout Terrence Edwards. Bennett also ends his career two touchdown catches shy of overtaking Dan Stricker (21 TDs, 1999-2002) as the team's all-time leader in that category.
A semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Trophy, Bennett finished the 2007 regular season as the SEC's No. 2 receiver. He became just the second Commodore, joining former standout linebacker Jamie Winborn, to be recognized for All-SEC honors by the coaches in three different seasons. He was also named to Rivals.com's third-team All-America squad following a sensational sophomore year in 2006.
Bennett Key Stats:
Single-Game Receiving Highs:
Receptions: 16, at South Carolina, 10/22/2005
Receiving Yards: 223, vs. Richmond, 9/1/2007 (sets team record)
TD Catches: 5, vs. Kentucky, 11/12/2005 (ties SEC record)
Receptions Yards Avg. TDs
2007 75 830 11.1 5
2006 82 1146 14.0 6
2005 79 876 11.1 9
Career 236 2852 12.1 20