Sept. 3, 2007
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Birmingham, Ala. - Just two full years into a remarkable Commodore career, junior Earl Bennett opened the 2007 season in even more remarkable style, setting new team and Southeastern Conference records in a dazzling performance versus Richmond.
Bennett, a product of West End H.S. in Birmingham, Ala., earned SEC Player of the Week honors today after catching 13 passes, good for 223 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He also added 62 yards in punt returns.
Bennett set two new records with the performance:
Bennett continues to rocket up various Vanderbilt and SEC all-time charts, seemingly setting a new record with each performance. He moved from 18th to 14th all-time among SEC receivers. With 174 receptions in his brief career, Bennett is just eight away for the SEC Top 10 and just 35 catches away from the all-time record.
He also moved to within 94 receiving yards of the SEC all-time top 20. He needs 848 yards to become the all-time leader in that category.
Bennett, a Rivals.com third team All-America selection in 2006, has been named to virtually every All-SEC preseason squad, and numerous preseason All-America polls. He is on the watchlist for several honors, including the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award and Biletnikoff Awards.
With three touchdown catches, Bennett pushed his career total to 18, moving into a third place tie on the Vanderbilt career list with former tight end Allama Matthews. He is just three touchdown receptions shy of sharing the team mark. He also needs nine receptions and 31 receiving yards to move into third place all-time among Commodores in both categories.
Bennett has produced an abundance of remarkable single game performances in a career that spans only 24 games - and 21 starts. He has achieved 150 receiving yards or more in seven games. On eight occasions, Bennett has caught at least 10 passes. He now has achieved three of the six highest single-game receiving yardage totals in school history - including three games exceeding 200 yards. He has five of the top 11 highest single-game receiving totals in school history.
Bennett topped the SEC last year with 82 receptions, matching a feat he accomplished as a freshman. He is the only receiver in SEC history to achieve at least 75 catches in different seasons.
Bennett's reception total and receiving yardage total (1,146) from 2006 are the second highest totals in Vanderbilt history. Of course, he set virtually every mark for freshmen and sophomore receivers in the process. His two-year reception total of 161 easily bettered the former mark of 138 catches achieved by former Florida standout Jabar Gaffney.
Bennett has been remarkably consistent, registering a catch in every career game - and at least four receptions in his last 18 consecutive starts.