Justin Benton is one of the best players from the Atlanta, GA area in the Class of 2023.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Benton, who attends Newton County High School, is a dynamic player that works as a defensive end and tight end.
Benton recently earned an invitation to participate in NextGen's invite-only main event, The Show based on his stellar showing at the NextGen Atlanta Regional Showcase.
“It felt great. Especially being able to perform on a platform that large,” Benton said. “To earn the Top Lineman Award and also earn an invite to NextGen’s big event The Show, it felt like some of my training, hard work and dedication to improving my craft paid off.”
This will be Benton’s first time competing at The Show and he’s excited to leave a positive impression.
“Although I would’ve liked to, I have not participated before now,” Benton said. “I am looking forward to competing at this elite event against other elite players on a national stage, to show my athletic ability.”
Benton describes his biggest strengths.
“Some of my strengths on the field are how fast I get of the ball and how I use my hands to get past the offensive tackle,” Benton said.
Benton explains why he’s drawn to the defensive end and tight end positions.
“What I love about these positions is that the players are considered the alpha males on the field because they have one of the more important jobs on the field. The “great” players in these positions have both size and athleticism,” Benton said. “Like great defensive ends, I can get off the ball quick, I have great change-of-direction as well as short-area quickness. In rushing the passer I have really developed a skill/love for rushing the QB. It's a priceless feeling when you make a sack at the right time. I wouldn't trade it for anything.”
Benton has great passion and energy whenever he’s on the gridiron. Benton tells why he enjoys the game of football so much.
“I love sacking the quarterback and using my strength to set the edge against the run,” Benton said.
Benton is pleased with his progress but refuses to allow complacency to set in. Benton is on the grind to perfect and hone his craft in any way possible.
“The areas I'm trying to improve most is my speed off the edge, my variety of pass-rush moves and how explosive I am off the ball. I’m also working on strength conditioning to improve my tackling. I often find myself analyzing and breaking down every single bad play I have and to try to improve it,” Benton said. “On the next level, I hope to improve my football IQ, my awareness on the field and my speed.”
Benton is staying busy in the offseason. Benton earned a starting position at defensive end for his excellent play in spring ball with Newton County High School.
Benton tallied a solo sack, solo tackles and several assists during the Spring game.
“To me, being able to start varsity while still in eigth grade was an honor,” Benton said. “I prepared for spring football by waking up at five o'clock every morning and working out with the team for six weeks straight.”
Benton is also attending the Kirby Smart Camp in May, the Will Muschamp Camp in June and FBU Top Gun Showcase in July in addition to summer weight training and workouts for his high school team.
Benton patterns his play after this outstanding defender.
“I try to model my playing style after Khalil Mack because of how consistent he is and how he is able to relentlessly get after the quarterback,” Benton said.
Benton is ready to seize the moment and make a name for himself at The Show.
“I am most definitely excited and ready to compete against some of the nation’s top talent. Each player will try to dominate every rep but one will outperform the rest. I hope that player will be me. I'm looking forward to establishing a name for myself that is synonymous with hard work, determination and execution. Doing that against some of the nations top talent will say a lot about me,” Benton said. Getting an invite to The Show, is confirmation that I am headed in the right direction as a well-rounded and talented football player. With the understanding that I am a long way from reaching my goals, I hope to grow though this experience.”
Check out his Youth1 Player Profile -> here.
View some of his highlights below.
Article written by Rolando Rosa.
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