Each year in the state we see twins that are impact players for there high school squad, and going into the 2020 season we have another talent duo in Gabriel and Garland Benyard. The 2021 two-way athletes for Irwin County have football in their blood – their older brother made our All-State team back in 2016.
Right now, they share offers from Savannah State, Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech, but we think more college offers are on the horizon for the brothers here. Their dynamic play-making was monumental in Irwin County’s state title run last season, so let’s do a quick break down of each player with their film included.
We have been following Garland since his sophomore year where he showed a lot of promise as a D1 athlete back then. He is a long athlete with nice versatility at 6’1″. When DJ Lundy went out with an injury early in the 2019 season, the 2021 recruit saw his production increase on offense, and was an important part of their attack, but at the next level he shows FBS upside at OLB/SS. Garland is an explosive player, who power cleans over 300 lbs. He is a long athletic talent who covers ground exceptionally well, and hits with impact in the open field. Initially, we thought Benyard would be loaded up with FBS offers by this point in 2021 recruiting calendar. Georgia Southern and Troy are his top offer at the moment, but we still think more D1’s will come in this fall. Irwin Co. basically plays him everywhere; TE, RB, OLB, FS, and SS. It doesn’t seem to matter, and his intensity really gives him an edge over the competition. Garland has immense upside given his frame and ability to attack a spread offense at the next level. He is all set for a huge senior year that should set him up well in the eyes of D1 programs.
Gabriel is a play-maker who shows excellent open field awareness and is excellent at surveying the field on either side of the football. Gabriel is a few inches shorter than his twin brother at 5’11”, but weighs nearly the same at 185 lbs., and has solid weight lifting numbers across the board. On offense, Gabriel mostly lined up at RB, which isn’t too much of a surprise knowing that Irwin’s bread and butter is rushing the football, but he also displays good hands as a receiver. He finds creases to run through, pretty slippery athlete with nice balance, and in the state title game against Clinch he did break off a long touchdown. Benyard is just a good all-around football player, he has a nice looking running stride, and more than anything, he just makes plays. If you make it to about halfway thru his May update to his junior highlights, and you will see the quick athlete look fantastic at DB. That’s not a surprise, Gabriel made our All-State team in 2019 at DB; he shows excellent ball skills on a few interceptions and looks even better tackling the middle of the field. He has a penchant of separating the football away from the ball carrier and just creating turnovers. Overall, it looks like Benyard is one of the more slept on two-way players in the state, and personally, I think more FBS programs should take interest.
The twin-killing-double-trouble-two-way athletes will look to recapture another state title here at Irwin County this fall. And in the process they are set to make a statement among FBS and FCS programs that the Benyard brothers belong on your program. They will definitely be on our preaseason All-State watch-list, so Class A, be on notice!