KATY, Texas -- Last weekend was both frustrating and memorable for Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes standout Caleb Benenoch.
The 6-foot-6, 321-pound Benenoch, who is ranked 19th nationally among offensive guards, aggravated a right high-ankle sprain injury he suffered in the preseason and couldn't finish his team's thrilling 45-42 triple-overtime win over Friendswood (Texas) Clear Brook.
But the win was memorable and the next day, Benenoch was in College Station, Texas, taking in the festivities as Texas A&M opened its Southeastern Conference era against Florida. GigEmNation caught up with Benenoch to get his thoughts on the trip and where he is in the recruiting process.
Sam Khan Jr.: What was your visit to the Texas A&M-Florida game like?
Caleb Benenoch: It was a lot of fun. It was really loud. It was the best college experience that I've had. I went with one of my friends from Cinco Ranch High School and he's a season-ticket holder, so I tailgated with him and his family up until kickoff and then I went into the stadium. It was just exciting and the people were really nice. The atmosphere was the best I've seen yet.
SK: When kickoff approached, what did you think of that moment inside of Kyle Field?
CB: It was crazy. I got chills when the crowd started going, you saw all the white towels waving and just how loud it was when [the team] came out of the tunnel, the music ... the whole atmosphere was the best I've ever seen. It was just awesome.
SK: Which coaches did you get to visit with while you were up there?
CB: I got to visit with coach [B.J.] Anderson a little bit right before kickoff and we just talked about A&M a little bit. He told me to 'soak it all in,' and I did. It was a great experience for me.
SK: Who has been recruiting you from A&M?
CB: Coach [Brian] Polian, coach Anderson and coach [Matt] Wallerstedt. They're all really good guys. I've mainly been talking to coach Wallerstedt and he's real nice. The thing I love about A&M is that they haven't tried to pressure me at all. They've just let everything go the way they go and whenever I'm ready, I let them know what my plans are. So it's been a good recruiting process with them.
SK: Where does A&M sit on your list?
CB: A&M is in my top five schools moving forward. I had originally planned on announcing Sept. 28, because that's our homecoming game. But because of the way official [visits] are and we have a lot of Friday and Saturday games, I'm going to have to wait until after the season. So whenever playoffs are over, I'll start my officials then. I have one set up for Oklahoma on the 22nd, we have a bye week that weekend, and then after that, I'm not going to do any until November.
SK: So who is in your top five?
CB: A&M, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA and Baylor.
SK: How important is it that you visit each campus before you decide?
CB: It's very important, because it's not just saying 'Yes' to an opportunity, I'm saying 'No' to several other opportunities. So I need to know exactly what every school has to offer me and see the best thing for me and my parents and how I fit into the atmosphere and stuff like that.
SK: How difficult has it been dealing with the high ankle sprain early this season?
CB: It has definitely been a challenge. You lose a lot of physicality when you can't push off of it. I'm right-handed and so my right foot is my predominant foot. In my right stance, it hurts when you can't push off the way you want to. It affects everything that you do. But I feel like being a leader of the team, it's one of those things I'm going to have to fight through and show my teammates that I'm here for them. So I'll fight through it and I'll fight through the pain. It was unfortunate I couldn't finish the game last week but we won in triple overtime.
SK: That being said, how was it to see your team pull out a win like that?
CB: It was great. I wish I was out there because watching it was killing me. It was just awesome and just an awesome game to be a part of. I wish I could have been out there with them.