Jerry Ratcliffe and Wahoos247 report that the University of Virginia football program is the transfer destination of Chico Bennett Jr., who departed Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division rival Georgia Tech following the fall semester. Bennett Jr., a sophomore, played defensive end for the Yellow Jackets.
Citing “sources,” JerryRatcliffe.com first reported the news Thursday evening. Wahoos247 has since confirmed the report directly. As of this writing, TheSabre.com has not yet received a response to initial contacts.
On December 14, Bennett Jr. announced he was seeking a transfer.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the entire Georgia Tech family as I have decided to enter the Transfer Portal and continue my pursuit of academic and athletic excellence elsewhere,” he wrote in this tweet. “A special thanks to coach Collins, coach Coleman and the entire coaching staff, medical staff and academic advisors for all that you have done for me. To my teammates – you all will always be my brothers and I wish you all the best on the Flats and in life. I am looking forward to this next chapter…1-5 out.”
The Atlanta-Journal Constitution spoke with Bennett Jr. soon after his announcement. According to the report, a major reason for the transfer was he wanted to be closer to his family, who live in Ashburn, Virginia. AJC reporter Ken Suguira wrote that the 6’4″, 250-pound student athlete “showed promise with his quickness off the line of scrimmage.”
Bennett Jr. played seven games for the Yellow Jackets in 2019, recording 17 tackles including a half a sack. An injury ended his true freshman campaign prematurely. As a sophomore this past season, Bennett Jr. played in nine games, earning two starts and totaling 14 tackles including 1.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.
If Bennett Jr. does indeed wind up in Charlottesville, he will have three years of eligibility remaining. Neither of his first two seasons qualified for a redshirt, but the NCAA has granted every college player an extra year of eligibility because of the coronavirus. If the NCAA approves a one-time rule that grants every transfer – graduate or undergraduate – immediate eligibility, Bennett Jr. would be able to play in 2021.
Bennett Jr. was recruited by Virginia out of Battle Ground Academy (Franklin, TN), where he was a 3-star prospect and played outside linebacker. He moved to defensive end at Georgia Tech, but he could translate to either outside linebacker or defensive end for the Hoos. Virginia can use another experienced defensive lineman, but the Hoos are also looking to replace 2020 All-ACC Second Team pick Charles Snowden as well as key rotational player Matt Gahm at the outside linebacker position.
Stay tuned to TheSabre.com for more on this story.