LB Benkic has performed at high level in multiple sports

Cole Benkic

Positions: Linebacker

Height/Weight: 6’1, 220 lbs

Teams: Saskatoon Hilltops (CJFL)

Commitment: None

Official Visits: None

Consideration: Saskatchewan, Calgary, UBC, Open

Class: 2016

Cole Benkic started playing football around 10 years old and continued to play all throughout high school. After high school, he got a phone call from Head Coach Tom Sargeant asking him to come play for the Saskatoon Hilltops. Cole is currently in his fifth and final year with them. The Hilltops have won three National Championships in the four years that he has played with them, and 18 National Championships in total.

“We are looking forward to competing for this title again in the 2016 season,” Cole says.

 In 2015, he was excited to be chosen as a PFC All-Star Linebacker and a CJFL All-Canadian.

“I was also extremely humbled to be named the CJFL Defensive Player of the Year,” he says. “This year, I was ranked as the number one player in the CJFL on a Top 50 list.”

Being a part of a championship team was the highlight of last season.

cole-benkic

“Without a doubt, winning my third National Championship against the Okanagan Sun was the best part of last season,” Cole says. “It was an unreal experience because I was playing with all of my closest friends who I have been playing with for so many years, and the fact that my little brother Adam was on the team made it even better. Playing in front of a home crowd with all my family and friends watching made it that much more exciting. All in all, it was one of the best experiences of my life.”

As for the recruitment process, he hasn’t had any serious discussions with CIS schools because his main focus is representing the Hilltops.

“I still have one more year left to play with the Hilltops,” he says. “We take the Saskatoon Hilltops football club very seriously and we have a strong tradition of staying with the team for the full five years of our eligibility. Anytime I have been approached by a representative of a CIS team, I have thanked them for their offers and asked them to come talk to me once my Hilltop career is over.”

Cole Benkic 2

Photo Credit: Louis Christ Photography

There are a few schools that he’s considering, though.

“Obviously, I am considering the University of Saskatchewan because I am from Saskatoon and all of my friends and family live here,” Cole says. “But I want to keep my options open. I would like to play for either the University of Calgary Dinos or the UBC Thunderbirds because they both have really good football programs.”

Cole also plans on taking some courses at the University of Saskatchewan in the fall, before he begins his university football career in 2017, but not necessarily at that school.

Throughout the years, he’s had numerous influences on and off the field.

“My parents are two of the most influential people in my life because they got me involved in sports from such a young age and taught me a lot of positive lessons about hard work and staying dedicated,” he says. “My girlfriend has influenced me to become a better person by getting involved in my community through volunteering, coaching and public speaking. I have a lot of really close friends who have always supported me in football and showed up to my games. I have had so many influential coaches and fellow football players in my life that I can’t name them all, but one stands out so I have to mention him. After high school, I had actually written football off because I was a competitive swimmer and I had signed with a university swim team. I wasn’t able to able to attend the Senior Bowl football tryouts because I was going to the Olympic trials for swimming. Coach Leo Grosjean from Walter Murray high school convinced me that I had to try out for the team, and he convinced the head coach of the Saskatchewan-North football team that they had to let me miss the first tryout, but that they would not regret letting me try out later. I ended up winning the Most Outstanding Linebacker Award, and five years later my football career is going strong. If it wasn’t for coach Grosjean, I wouldn’t be playing football today, so I have him to thank for that.”

Cole has been training at Ignite Athletic Conditioning in Saskatoon for the past four years.

“Ignite offers competitive training for elite athletes and I work out there with my fellow Hilltops as well as other junior, college and professional football players,” Cole says. “I work out five days a week and lift weights year-round. In the winter months, we focus on getting bigger and stronger, coupled with some footwork and then once spring and summer rolls around we hit the field more and work on drills, running techniques and conditioning. Training with Ignite is such a positive environment and we push each other to constantly do better every time we are in the gym.”

Cole Benkic 3

Photo Credit: Louis Christ Photography

He’s looking to improve other aspects of his game this season as well.

“I’m working hard at practice and lifting weights after practice,” he says. “As a team captain and a fifth-year player, one of my biggest things this year is setting a good example for the younger guys on the team. I’m always trying to increase my football IQ and show the other guys that no matter how good you are there is always room for improvement and something to be learned.”

Cole has his head on straight when it comes to his education and career goals.

“I would really like to get a university degree in something,” Cole says. “I am planning on studying environmental science and eventually pursuing a career in that field.”

 

(*Featured Image should also be captioned as Photo Credit: Louis Christ Photography)

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