Bennett's Besties Keep Senior DT Grounded

Rather than live with his teammates, Ohio State senior defensive tackle Michael Bennett chose to escape the football bubble by rooming with four of his friends from high school. The group, which Bennett playfully described as a bunch of "weirdos," helps him stay grounded and gives him some perspective away from the football field.

Among the five Ohio State students that reside in the same off-campus home, there’s a talker, a screamer, a goofball and a disappearing act with a proclivity for tall tales. In the middle of it all, there’s also a second-team All-Big Ten defensive tackle.

The final spot in that wild and wacky spectrum belongs to Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett, a force both on the field and in the interview room. In 2013, Bennett led the Buckeyes in fumble recoveries with two and finished third with seven sacks for 50 yards but also showed in interviews and on Twitter that his interests range far beyond the gridiron. He has some help when it comes to switching gears after practice is over, as none of his four roommates – Brandon, Cole, Nick and Austin – compete in varsity sports for Ohio State.

After the customary freshman year on-campus residency at Ohio State, Bennett had the option to move off campus. There was no shortage of potential landing spots, as many of his teammates were looking to do the same and hunting for roommates. And while he values his relationships with his fellow Buckeyes, the son of two United States Military Academy graduates also knows that there’s plenty of perspective to be gained outside of football. A Centerville, Ohio, native, Bennett chose to move in with his high school friends instead.

“I decided to live with my friends from Centerville because you want to keep a presence in life outside of football so you don’t just get too caught up in all of what football is,” Bennett said. “I know how much I get to see my teammates, and I can always go out with them and hang out with them but it’s good to come home and get a different perspective on college, a different perspective on life and stay connected with a different group of friends.”

That’s not hard to do with the four friends he chose to live with. Although they all played sports in high school – according to Bennett, Cole played hockey, Brandon played football and Nick and Austin played soccer – the group’s interests and personalities range far beyond the regimented, focused lives of big-time college athletes.

“You’ve got so many different personalities,” Bennett said. “You’ve got Brandon Beam, he’s a radio personality. He’s at 97.1 (FM The Fan) right now on an internship. He’s a goofy guy who’s a lot like me. Cole, he’s a guy who will come downstairs, will randomly come out of his room stomping around and screaming for no good reason. Nick’s a goofy guy because he’ll just say off-the-wall stuff and he’ll be running around yelling with Cole. Our other roommate Austin will disappear for three days and come back with the craziest stories. You never know what’s going to happen with us, and it’s a good group of personalities.”

With a group like that, adventures and stories aren’t hard to come by. It was only a matter of time before the group sought to chronicle its hijinks for the outside world, and they found a blueprint when former OSU point guard Aaron Craft’s roommates started the Twitter account @Craftroomies.

Bennett’s roommates decided to do the same, debuting the handle @BennettRoomies on July 28. The topic of the newly formed account was raised on July 29, the final day of Big Ten Media Days, drawing a laugh and a shake of the head from Bennett.

“That stupid twitter account,” Bennett said. “Those guys, they were texting me last night about what kind of days we’re going to have, like is it gonna be Fight Night Friday? I was like, ‘No, you’re putting too much thought into it.’ They’re trying to do too much. But it’s going to be funny.

Craft’s roommates made Taco Tuesday famous, and Bennett’s roommates are looking to do the same with just about every day of the week. As Bennett jokingly pointed out, though, they’ve already run into some mathematical and logistical issues along the way.

“They wanted to come up with eight (ideas for themed days),” he said. “I was like… there’s seven days in a week. One of them was gonna be like Board Game Thursdays or something. I told them I don’t want to play board games every Thursday. Another one was going to be like Chef Sunday and Fight Night Friday. I was like… I’d beat the crap out of all you guys. All of it’s gonna be just goofy. I think it would be funny enough if they just tweeted what they do, because they’re some weirdos.”

With fall camp starting today, Bennett will be ready to go on the football field. A preseason All-Big Ten pick by Scout.com, the senior defensive tackle is ranked among the top NFL Draft prospects at his position. But when he comes home each day, he’ll have a reminder that life is about more than just football.

“I think it’s helped me stay grounded because especially as stuff starts going better for you, if you’re just around you’re teammates and stuff like that, you need to be able to get away from football,” he said. “Those guys are going to treat me just like they treated me in high school, and I think that’s a really welcome and just refreshing aspect of the whole thing.”

Besides, what better way is there to warm up for a football game than Fight Night Friday?

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