Bruce Bennett
No. 30     
Personal information
Date of birth: 1944 (age 75–76)
Place of birth: Valdosta, Georgia
Career information
Debuted in 1966 for the Saskatchewan Roughriders
Last played in 1972 for the Saskatchewan Roughriders
Career history
Roster status: Retired
Career highlights and awards
  • N/A
Career CFL statistics as of 1972
Games played     112
Interceptions     35
INT return yards     606

Lamar Bruce Bennett, Jr. (c. 1944) is a former American college and professional football player who was a safety in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for seven seasons during the 1960s and early 1970s. Bennett played college football for the University of Florida, and was recognized as an All-American. Thereafter, he played professionally for the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the CFL.

Early yearsEdit

Bennett was born in Valdosta, Georgia. He attended Valdosta High School, and played quarterback for the Valdosta Wildcats high school football team. As a junior in 1960, he led the Wildcats to a 20–14 victory over Avondale High School in the Georgia state championship game. Bennett ran for a touchdown, threw for another, and ran for a third with twenty-nine seconds remaining to win the game. As a senior in 1961, he was recognized as a high school All-American.

College career Edit

Bennett received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, and played for coach Ray Graves' Florida Gators football team from 1963 to 1965.[1] Bennett set a Gators career record with thirteen interceptions, including three in the Gators' 21–14 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in 1963.[1][2] He was the senior defensive team captain of the 1965 Gators team that finished 7–3 and earned a berth in the 1966 Sugar Bowl, the Gators' first-ever New Year's Day bowl. He was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection in 1964 and 1965, and a United Press International first-team All-American in 1965.[1][3] Ray Graves rated Bennett as the Gators' best free safety of the 1960s.[4]

Bennett graduated from the university with a bachelor's degree in 1968, and was later inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great."[5] In a 2006 article series published by The Gainesville Sun, the Sun sports editors rated him as the No. 38 all-time greatest Gator from the first 100 years of Florida football.[6]

Professional career Edit

Bennett joined the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1966, and participated in the team's 29–10 Grey Cup victory over Ottawa.[7] He played for the Roughriders from 1966 to 1972, and became one of the league's top safeties.[7] He also was the team's go-to "good hands" player for onside kicks.[7] He registered career highs of eight interceptions in both 1969 and 1971.[7] In seven CFL seasons, Bennett played in 112 games, and totaled thirty-five interceptions (including two he returned for touchdowns), and 606 return yards.[8] His career interception total still ranks third on the Roughriders' all-time list.[8] Bennett's teammates selected him as the team captain four times, and he earned six Western Conference All-Star selections (1967–1972) and one CFL All-Star selection (1969).[7]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 2012 Florida Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 76, 79, 87, 143, 158, 176 (2012). Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  2. Buddy Martin, "Bennett Leads Gators To Victory," Ocala Star-Banner, p. 25 (November 10, 1963). Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  3. United Press International, "Bennett Is All-America," St. Petersburg Times, p. 1-C (December 3, 1965). Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  4. Tom McEwen, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama, p. 305 (1974).
  5. F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  6. Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 38 Bruce Bennett," The Gainesville Sun (July 27, 2006). Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4, Players A–Z, Bruce Bennett. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  8. 8.0 8.1, Team History, All-Time Leaders in Saskatchewan Roughrider History. Retrieved December 17, 2011.

Bibliography Edit

  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974). ISBN 0-87397-025-X.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.
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