Countdown to Kickoff: 80 Days (Phil Benker)

Written by: Lydia Knoll (@lydddknoll)


There are now 80 days remaining until the Indiana Hoosiers kick-off the 2016 season in Miami against the Florida International Golden Panthers. Join us each day for each part of our 100-day countdown to the opener! No current IU player is wearing #99 so we’ll take a short walk back in time and focus on former Hoosier, Ben Ishola.

Phil Benker (incoming Hoosier)

-Height: 6’2”
-Weight: 190 pounds
-Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
-Position: Wide Receiver

Coming into the 2016 season, one could say the wide receiver position is decently stacked with both experienced, talented players as well as strong, upcoming players. Phil Benker is one of these strong, upcoming players. Benker was rated a three-star prospect by 247sports and had ten other offers including Wake Forest, South Florida, Florida International and Central Florida. He was committed to Central Florida before flipping his commitment to Indiana. His junior year of high school, Benker recorded 59 receptions for a total of 1,061 yards and 10 touchdowns, leading all other Jacksonville area receivers. According to an interview between Benker and Evan Massey of Rank Sports, Benker hopes to become an “elite receiver in the Big Ten.” He certainly has the potential to do so.

As an incoming freshman, Benker is already on the taller side of the receivers. His long frame could give him an advantage over some of the other players if he can utilize it on the field. However, he’s also very lean and needs to put on some weight in order to hold his own at the college level. With the return of last years starters Mitchell Paige and Simmie Cobbs, as well as last years true freshman Nick Westbrook and injured J-Shun Harris, the wide receiver roster does not seem to need any extra help from incoming players. Most likely Benker will be redshirted his freshman year, which will give him a chance to put on the weight he needs, learn the routes, and become comfortable with QBs Richard Lagow, Zander Diamont, and Austin King. By his sophomore year, Benker will be a strong and very capable receiver ready to make some big plays for IU. 

Share any comments about Phil Benker or the wide receivers in the comments section (or on the message boards) and be sure to come back to Hoosier Huddle each day during our countdown!