- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
KATY, Texas -- Offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) has set a decision date for Sept. 28.
But he’s willing to change that if need be. The four-star prospect feels he needs to take three official visits before he announces his choice.
“Northwestern is for sure one of them, Arkansas is one and so is Oklahoma,” Benenoch said. “Those are the three ones I’ve really been focusing on.”
Because the Sooners open up their season at UTEP, Benenoch said he’ll likely line up his trip to Northwestern or Arkansas for the Sept. 1 weekend.
Why only out-of-state trips? The No. 19-ranked guard prospect said he’s already been to the three in-state schools he likes, and he could take unofficial visits there anytime.
Benenoch is still considering seven schools at the moment: Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, Arkansas, Stanford, Northwestern and Texas A&M.
He won’t begin narrowing down his list until the visits begin next month, but Texas and Oklahoma have remained the favorites to land the 6-foot-6, 321-pound lineman’s pledge since he decommitted from Michigan State in June.
Benenoch said he calls Sooners offensive line coach James Patton two or three times a week during the afternoon to catch up. Sometimes those chats last 30 minutes or longer.
“We always have long conversations, and rarely about football,” he said. “We talk about schoolwork and my family, how I’m becoming a better person.”
He stays in touch with Longhorns line coach Stacy Searels and head coach Mack Brown, too, and admitted saying no to Texas would be difficult.
“I feel good about Texas,” Benenoch said. “I love UT. I’ve loved them since I was little, and I love them regardless of whether I go there or not.”
Benenoch fell in love with Stanford after attending a camp there this summer, but he has yet to hear whether the school’s admissions office will approve him for a scholarship offer.
Baylor is another tempting option, too, as his brother Josh Benenoch is a redshirt freshman defensive back for the Bears. Benenoch said he does have interest in A&M, but he hasn’t heard from the Aggie coaching staff in a while.
As for the decision date, Benenoch still wants to announce after Seven Lakes’ homecoming game against Mayde Creek.
But first, he’s got some traveling to do.
“It depends on how fast I can knock the officials out,” Benenoch said. “If I can get three of them in that I really want to, I might. That’s why it’s not a solid date.”