I’ve never been a Seahawks fan (@ Pete Carroll), but Michael Bennett is one of my favorites in the league. The DE joins my beloved Colin Kaepernick as an athletic hero due to his consistent community service, mentoring, and good stewardship. He was a three sport athlete at Alief Taylor High School where he excelled in baseball, football, and track. In his senior year, Bennett notched 110 tackles with four sacks, landing first-team All-District honors while succeeding in discus with a personal record throw of 147 ft. Bennett attended Texas A&M (disgust) where he played all four seasons as a DL. As a freshman, Bennett totaled 23 tackles for a loss of 4.5 yards with 3.5 sacks and one pass defended. He increased his numbers as a sophomore with 27 tackles for a loss of 6 yards with two sacks, one pass defended, and two forced fumbles. He exploded on the field as a junior where he notched 43 tackles for a loss of 6 yards with one sack, four passes defended, and one forced fumble. Bennett’s numbers took a nosedive in his final year in College Station as he only showed 19 tackles for a loss of three yards with one interception. Bennett’s younger brother Martellus (my other favorite! Post written about him here) also played at A&M from 2006-2008.
The Super Bowl XLVIII champion and two-time Pro Bowl participant went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, but was picked up by the Seahawks in his first attempt with the team. Although he initially showed promise, Bennett was dropped from his contract with Seattle and he moved to Tampa Bay where he notched a career-high 41 tackles, nine sacks, and three forced fumbles. He was released by the Buccs in 2012 before he returned to his inaugural team. Bennett’s stats have fluctuated during his time in the league as he began his first season with the Seahawks under the guise of 18 tackles, 8.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. His 2015 season was a showstopper as Bennett recorded 33 tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles. He was a two-time NFC Champion in 2013 and 2014 and earned the title of Pro Bowl Defensive MVP in the 2015 game.