Lakeville North (Minn.) High School offensive lineman Bryce Benhart received his All-American Bowl jersey Tuesday afternoon as part of the All-American Bowl Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
The 6-foot-8, 305-pound Benhart, a four-star recruit who verbally committed to Nebraska just 10 days ago, is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 20 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 2 overall prospect in Minnesota. He took his official visit to Lincoln in September, for the Cornhuskers’ season-opener against Akron that was eventually cancelled after a series of lightning delays, and plans on making his commitment official next month during the early NLI signing period.
Now, with his college choice out of the way, Benhart is excited to turn his focus to showing his immense ability against the nation’s best.
“It’s pretty surreal, to be told I’m one of the top guys and to be named to this game,” Benhart told USA TODAY following the ceremony. “I’m pretty excited about this.”
Equipped with a massive wingspan, great bend and a bit of a mean streak, Benhart is an intriguing addition to the Huskers’ 2019 recruiting class, which features six players ranked four stars or better. Benhart is the second-highest ranked recruit for the class by 247’s measures. He said he hasn’t been told whether he could play left or right tackle in Scott Frost’s uptempo attack. But there’s definitely some upside to work with:
The Huskers nearly knocked off Ohio State this past weekened, but their 0-6 start to the 2018 season was the worst in program history. Other blue-ribbon programs off to shaky starts, such as Florida State, have lost recruits. But Nebraska has only picked up commitments this fall. Benhart points to the long-term vision, plus an environment that bleeds Husker football year-round, as reasons for this.
“The atmosphere is crazy. They’ve sold out every game,” he said. “The whole new coaching staff, the games where they’ve put up 500-plus yards of offense, it’s a high-tempo attack. The offensive line coach [Greg Austin] knows what he’s talking about. I believe in him, I like him a lot. I like the guys there. I like the recruits coming in, too.”
For decades, a superior offensive line affably nicknamed “The Pipeline” was a hallmark of Nebraska football, including the years with Frost under center. Benhart says that rich history, going all the way back to the early years under Bob Devaney in the 1960’s, played a huge part in his decision.
“It was big, I guess you’d say, bringing back the pipeline and where it should be in the next few years,” he said.
The All-American Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 5 in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.