Cornell Offers Pleasant Grove’s Xavier Benson
Xavier Benson seems to have a bit going for him upstairs in addition to being a standout high school football player.
Cornell confirmed that Monday by inviting the junior Pleasant Grove linebacker to join its team upon graduation. Benson, who reported the news to ETSN.fm, is now an Ivy League prospect in addition to a Louisiana-Lafayette target.
Benson (6-3, 200) helped guide Pleasant Grove to the third round of the Class 4A Division II state playoffs last season. He had 89 tackles and tied for the team lead in takeaways with four through the 13-game campaign.
Pleasant Grove also utilizes Benson as a heavy receiver on the high school level. He caught nine balls for 122 yards and two touchdowns out of an offense that utilizes the Wing-T formation.
Cornell, based in Ithaca, N.Y., posted a 4-6 record last season and finished tied for sixth in the eight-team Ivy League. Three losses were decided by one possession, including an overtime defeat at Brown.
The biggest feature of the Big Red program's invite is its university's academic prestige. Cornell reports an acceptance rate of 14 percent, and the Princeton Review claims students accepted by Cornell last year generally scored between a 31 and a 34 on the ACT.
Famous Cornell undergraduates that transcend culture today include Bill Nye, Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann and Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Cornell, as well as the rest of the Ivy League, deemphasized football and athletics at large in the latter years of the past century. It is a member of the FCS level of NCAA Division I football, but it abstains from the FCS playoffs and has only produced two NFL Draft picks since 2000.
The Big Red won five national championships between 1915 and 1939. The program is home to 16 consensus All-Americans, the latest of which departed in 1971.
Benson, like all college football prospects currently in their junior year of high school, will become eligible to sign with any school that offers him in February.