Durham's Opinion on Bennett and Mason

Durham's Opinion on Bennett and Mason

ATHENS – Kris Durham has played with some of the finest offensive talent to ever come through Georgia, qualifying his opinion on the perceptions of a few freshmen currently going through their first summer workouts.

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Durham, a senior receiver, was part of the 2006 recruiting class that included Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. He's also gone through wide receiver drills with A.J. Green for more than two years.

Durham recognizes talent, because he's not only played with it—he lived with Stafford.

Entering his fifth season at Georgia, Durham can look back on some good times with great players.

"You don't realize how good they are until they leave," Durham said. "I walked in the door playing with Matthew. When Knowshon walked in the door, I was already here. We've been extremely blessed to say the least."

Rooming with Stafford, watching film and going through the route tree on a daily basis made Durham somewhat numb to his teammates' talents. When you see something special every day, it can be difficult to fully appreciate.

"I didn't realize how good Matthew was until he was gone, and watching him play against professionals," Durham said. "He's doing some great things, but when you see it every day you get accustomed to it. When you don't see it every day, you realize how special of a talent he was."

Now Durham is talking about two lesser-rated recruits. Lassiter quarterback Hutson Mason and Michael Bennett, of Alpharetta, were great players in high school. Their stats indicate as such, but they weren't nearly as regarded as Stafford, Moreno and Green.

All rankings aside, Durham has indicated both players have the potential to be SEC caliber, and have impressed him thus far in summer workouts.

Bennett enters into a wide receivers corps that is low on numbers, but high in quality. Gaining playing time, unless injuries play a role, could be difficult. But Durham says Bennett is already physically ready.

"He definitely impressed me," Durham said. "He came out there and caught a few balls. I look forward to seeing what he can do this fall. He's going to surprise a few people. He's come in, and he looks good. He probably weights 200 pounds or so. I don't know exactly what his weight is, but he looks thick and looks like he's ready to play. We'll see what he can do."

With Logan Gray's probable switch to receiver, Mason figures to be Aaron Murray's backup this fall. One snap away from being thrust into action, Durham sees a player willing to do anything asked.

The obvious best-case scenario would be to have Mason redshirt. If Murray can stay healthy, or in the event the need arises, Gray moves back behind center, this can easily be accomplished. Then again, this is football, where an injury is potentially one awkward tackle away.

No matter what happens, Durham says Mason has the right attitude.

"He's ready to work," Durham said. "You can tell that from talking to the guy and watching that he's ready to work. He's ready to work and do what's best for the team. If that means he comes in and plays this year, or that means he sits back, redshirts and learns the entire offense, he's just going to do whatever is best for the team. That's the kind of guys you want."

The encouraging point to Mason's and Bennett's story is neither have to be Stafford or Green. Those are one-in-a-generation type players. There is no pressure to perform immediately, and progression can be made at the needed rate.

Regardless of whether they're needed this season or not, Durham says Bennett's weight and strength, and Mason's team-first mentality is comforting.

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