The number four player in the state of South Carolina is wide receiver Mazeo “MJ” Bennett. The Greenville High School star is six feet and 180 pounds. In his senior campaign, he was a Swiss army knife, catching passes and running the ball for the Red Raiders. Bennett’s former Gamecock comparison is Deebo Samuel. He projects much like Samuel did coming out of high school. Although Bennett is lighter than Samuel right now, he is expected to pack on weight once he enters the program. He possesses the ability to make defenders miss and has a nose for the end zone. Another of Bennett’s strengths is his versatility as a wideout. He functions well in the slot as well as outside. Perhaps the most important strength that Gamecock fans will appreciate is his ball skills and ability to make contested catches. Gamecock receivers have made a living of stealing the ball from defenders in traffic over the past 15 years. Some of the best receivers in the history of the school have displayed this skill and turned 50/50 balls into big plays. Bennett already has this skill and simply needs to gain strength as he transitions to the college game.
What He’s Done and Where He’s Going
In his senior season, Bennett carried the ball 29 times for 332 yards and 10 touchdowns. His junior season was his best season as a pass catcher (with a more skilled quarterback). He caught 47 balls for 857 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2022. Fans are clamoring for a quick impact on the receiver room. That room, before incoming transfers, is littered with true sophomores. While they are only one year ahead of Bennett, that year has allowed them to sharpen their skills and put on muscle that he doesn’t have yet. He could surprise everyone and make an impact immediately, but he will most likely contribute on special teams early on, then work his way up the depth chart late in 2024 and early in 2025. Make no mistake, as the top receiver in the class for the Gamecocks and highest-rated high school recruit for Justin Stepp during his time in Columbia, Bennett is one of, if not the, most important players in this class.