Oregon running back Kani Benoit, a freshman from Phoenix Thunderbird High School (Phoenix, Arizona), enters his first season in the Oregon program.
Before joining the Ducks, Benoit rushed 137 times for 879 yards and 11 TDs along with seven receptions for 108 yards and one score as a sophomore. He also returned 14 kickoffs for 354 yards and one touchdown. As a junior he rushed for 1,401 yards and 19 touchdowns, earning All-Arizona Division III honorable mention. His breakout year came as a senior when he rushed for 2,260 yards on 285 carries with 36 touchdowns. He rushed for 200+ yards in six games including a season-high 260 yards. Benoit was recognized as Division III Section III East and All-Glendale Union High School District co-Offensive Player of the Year.
Benoit was a three-year prep star earning high praise from scouting services. Rivals listed Benoit as a two-star recruit while Scout and 247Sports each had him as a three-star. He received offers from Division 1 programs Colorado State, Idaho, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Toledo, UNLV and Wyoming before signing with the Ducks.
Going into the 2013 season, Benoit will almost certainly redshirt. The Ducks have a medley of talented running backs starting with returning contributors Byron Marshall and De’Anthony Thomas. Joining the duo will be 5-star recruit Thomas Tyner who will also compete for the starting job.
Benoit’s time to shine will be in 2016 once Marshall and Thomas have left the program. Tyner has already said that he plans to be a three-and-done player, not planning on sticking around for his senior season. Benoit could have two seasons as the Ducks’ starting running back if he sticks with the program and doesn’t transfer.