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Benet’s quarterback Jack Beneventi (13) drops back to pass during the first half against Joliet Catholic at Memorial Stadium, Friday October, 19, 2012. | Ray Luna ~ For Sun-Times Media Ray Luna
Taking in his fifth unofficial visit to Notre Dame this past weekend, Benet sophomore quarterback Jack Beneventi has clearly made the Fighting Irish a priority in his recruiting process, especially after describing himself as a Notre Dame fan.
“I know, at Benet, I know a lot of kids go to Notre Dame. Even if they don’t go to Notre Dame, it’s followed hugely at Benet,” he said a couple weeks ago. “Everyone’s a huge Notre Dame fan, so it’s cool to be recruited by them.
"Also, I really like traditions they have and just the program and just the prestige there.”
On Sunday, his focus on Notre Dame became even more pronounced when Beneventi received an offer from Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.
“I was surprised I got (the offer) so early, definitely,” he said on Monday. “I mean, if I was even going to get an offer, I was (thinking) probably maybe later down the road. I was thinking more like early fall, maybe after (my) junior season. But I’m very excited at the offer right now.”
Earning All-East Suburban Catholic Conference accolades along the way, the lanky Beneventi, at 6-6 and 190 pounds, completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 2,318 passing yards and 20 touchdowns this past fall as the Redwings went 11-2 and advanced to the Class 7A state semifinals.
He believes the offense Kelly has instilled in South Bend, Ind. since his arrival before the 2010 season is a good fit for his skill set.
“Well, with their offense, they’re okay with running it sometimes, but they also do pass,” he said. “I feel like what they do is they go by personnel. So, like, for me, I’m a pocket-passing quarterback. I can also move in the pocket and make throws. But I’m definitely not the quarterback that can get you a 30-yard running gain. Maybe get you 10 … maybe.
“I’m not that quick quarterback, but I can throw it. I think that with their offense, what I like is that they do have that pro-style. They do have some spread in there, but they go by personnel. What their big thing is that they’ll call out a play, but then it’s up to the quarterback to either audible out of it or stick with it if it’s going to work.”
En route to reaching the BCS Championship Game in January, Notre Dame averaged 222.8 passing yards a game on its way to averaging 25.8 points per game and a 12-1 record on the season.
Developing a close, tight bond with Kelly, offensive coordinator Chuck Martin and passing game coordinator Mike Denbrock has been vital. The relationships have stood out throughout the early stages of the recruiting process.
“I’ve developed a great comfort level with them. I mean, Coach Martin was the first coach to even talk to me,” Beneventi said. “So I’ve been talking to him since June or July. So I have developed a great relationship with him, very comfortable, so it’s good to have that very early. Now it’s just … you keep building steps because I still have two more years of high school."
Beneventi has also received scholarship offers from Western Michigan, Massachusetts and Illinois. He hopes to visit Penn State either in April or May.