He may be remembered more this week for the car accident he had early Monday morning when he was rear-ended by another car, but Earl Bennett is a player fans need to start remembering. In the Bears win over Buffalo last Sunday, Bennett led the team with four catches for 52 yards and one touchdown.
The 23-year-old wide receiver was acquired by the Bears in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Vanderbilt. He signed a four-year contract.
Last year, Bennett joined the starting lineup. He started 15 of the 16 games, catching 54 passes for 717 yards and two touchdowns. He has played in 26 career games, 15 of those as a starter. He has returned 14 punts for 143 yards and one touchdown, and two kickoffs for 40 yards. He made his first career start on September 13 of last year against Green Bay.
Bennett is the all-time SEC league leader in receptions with 236 in his three-year career at Vanderbilt. He is the only player in SEC history to have 75 or more receptions in three years. He is ranked third in school history and ninth in SEC history with 2,852 career receiving yards. He holds the school record for career receptions, receiving yards in a game, touchdown receptions in a game, most games with 10 or more receptions and most games with 200 or more receiving yards. He holds three of the top five receiving performances in Vanderbilt history. To his further credit, he has at least one reception in every game he played at Vanderbilt and is only the fifth player in SEC history to make five touchdown catches in a single game.
Be sure to keep an eye on number 80 this Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.