Breaking tackles and rushing for touchdowns has become a habit for Chaston Bennett, sophomore running back from Rusk.
“It’s exciting, knowing you’re in open space, with no one around, the end zone 30 yards away. It’s the best feeling,” said Bennett. “ Especially at home. The fans on their feet, and you know they are all cheering for you. Your teammates all congratulate you afterwards and you feel on top of the world.”
Rushing for 591 yards and 13 touchdowns in four games, the end zone has been his sanctuary. With a combination of speed and vision, Bennett makes playing football seem easy.
Bennett has loved the game of football since he was a kid.
“It started at 7. That’s when I could finally understand the game inside and out, instead of just knowing who scored a touchdown,” Bennett said. “I didn’t play little league, but just watching teams like the Eagles and Cowboys, I told myself I would be out there one day.”
After moving to Rusk from Crockett, it didn’t take long for Bennett to make a sudden impact on the team.
“I started realizing I was pretty good in the eighth grade,” Bennett said. “I could outrun everyone, and it was just kind of easy. I got my first start on varsity as a freshman, and on my first play ever, I went around the left side for a score. The rest is history.”
Coach Ted Patton, athletic director for Rusk High School, had nothing but positive things to say about Bennett.
“I knew from a young age that the boy was a player,” said Patton. “He was faster, stronger, and just more mature than everyone. He had an impact on me, and this school. We still talk about him.”
Bennett, who rushed for 1,456 yards and 15 touchdowns his senior year, carried the momentum to TJC. Coming from a run heavy offence, he got a ton of looks, but he said he gets even more in at TJC.
“I got the ball a ton is high school, but I surprisingly get more carries here at TJC. At Rusk, we always had three running backs on the field, so it made it to where anyone could get the ball,” Bennett said. “The thing that is different about TJC is we are more balanced. We mix the pass and run very well to keep defenses on their toes.”
Teammates also have high praise of Bennett.
“He is a good guy and a great player. He has become a leader and benefits to team in several ways,” said Michael Taylor, sophomore linebacker from Alto.
Through the first four games of the season, only one other junior college player in the nation has rushed for as many yards or scored as many touchdowns.
“Wow, I had no idea I was that far up,” said Bennett. “It feels good, but I really don’t know how to take it. After not really getting to reach my full potential last year, this is all new to me.”
After running for 154 yards on 28 carries and five touchdowns week two against Blinn and being named the NJCAA National Offensive Player of the Week, he believes he still has a long way to go.
“I still have a ton of work to do,” Bennett said. “My dream is to be an Oregon Duck. I love their scheme, speed and tempo. I believe I could fit in very well, but in order for any of that to be possible, I have to stay focused and get better every single day on and off the field.”
The 5’9, 165 pounder credits the team for his success.
“I couldn’t do what I do if it wasn’t for the other ten guys on the field. My offensive line blocks for me to make my plays. Without them nothing would be possible.
He is still like a little kid when it comes to the game. He loves it.
“The game is fun,” said Bennet. “It’s exciting seeing all the fans. You get all hyped up. It’s really just a different mindset and makes you stay focused and pay attention to every detail.”