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The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

Senior football player commits to Nebraska, continues family legacy

CeCe Gerard
Caleb Benning, pictured with his parents, committed to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, capping off a successful high school football career.

Westside’s star defensive back and receiver Caleb Benning is staying home and has committed to Nebraska. Benning is ranked as a three-star athlete by the top three recruiting services (247Sports, On3, Rivals). The standout senior has had a phenomenal career at Westside. Benning has been sitting on many offers for much of the year, but he came to his decision to commit to the Huskers on Oct. 19. 

Benning is a big believer in the direction Husker football is heading and that’s a big part of his choice. Benning has developed strong relationships with coaches at Nebraska. The school has shown constant interest in Benning from the start of the process. Between the direction of new head coach Matt Rhule has the program going, the relationships and trust in the coaches has Benning confident in his decision.

“Coach Rhule and the way he has the program firing right now, I think they’re definitely on an upward trajectory,” Benning said. “I would say what the guys in the program have to say about coach Rhule, that really means a lot to me because they see it everyday and they usually don’t fake anything. Being close to home,  I didn’t want to go too far but going right up the street is pretty good.”

Benning did lots of research and wanted to ensure he made the right decision. He received an offer in 2021 from Nebraska, but coaching changes delayed the process. Benning received many other offers from different schools, and also went on recruiting visits to some schools. Football programs that showed interest in Benning and offered him scholarships include Wisconsin, Iowa, Duke, Vanderbilt, Kansas, Iowa State, Minnesota and Wyoming. Benning also was injured much of his junior year, which put a big wrinkle in the recruitment process. With all of those things in mind Benning took his time. 

“Just making sure it was the right decision, because I didn’t want to mess up and have to decommit and worry about all that, so just going at my pace and making sure I got it right,” Benning said.

Benning comes from a line of great athletes from Nebraska. His mom and dad were both great athletes that played sports at Nebraska. His dad, Damon Benning, is a former Husker running back, who won two national titles and an Orange Bowl MVP. Caleb is seen as a “Legacy”, since his dad is a former Husker and current broadcast analyst for Nebraska football games. Caleb says he doesn’t necessarily like the title, but it’s grown on him. 

“It used to bother me in the past,” Benning said. “Once I started picking my performance up, I kind of got rid of that, but it’s still here and there. I kind of take it as an honor now, being a legacy and being his son.”

Caleb has grown up with his dad coaching him, and Damon is a defensive coach on the current Westside team. Damon is really proud of how far Caleb has come, and even believes that Caleb is better than him at this point in their careers. When Caleb first began football, Damon questioned if his son was tough enough for the sport. Caleb has definitely proved that wrong and Damon agrees. 

“I’ll be honest when he was younger, I wondered if he was going to be tough enough,” Damon said. “Because he was such a gentle spirit. He’s very kind, he’s very good natured. He’s about five or six, but he’s very rough, like he played hard. We had to spend some time at a couple of the local gym establishments, for accidentally knocking kids over, so I knew it wasn’t a toughness thing. It was just he could hit the light switch kind of thing, so as he’s gotten older, I love the fact he can be so other centered and good natured yet when it comes time to compete he’s highly competitive and he’s extremely tough.”

Benning leads the Warriors in receiving, with 454 yards and six touchdowns through 10 games. Benning has 33 tackles and six tackles for losses. He also has five interceptions as a defensive anchor for the Warriors, which leads class A. Benning reflects on what it means to be such a big part of the team’s success. 

“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Benning said. “I feel like I’m pretty dependable and I want the game to go on my terms, so I’m glad the coaches trust me and my teammates trust me to have a big role.”

Benning and the rest of the top-ranked Warriors will take on No. 9 Bellevue West in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs on Friday, Nov. 3 at Phelps Field. 

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About the Contributors
Hi, my name is Zach Kastrick! I'm a writer for Sports Journalism. I'm a junior and this is my second year in Sports Journalism.I love positivity and encourage my staff to do great things. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected]!
Sammy Kendeigh, Production Director
Hi! I’m Sammy Kendeigh and I’m a senior. As well as being an editor of WTV, I am involved in show choir and Dance Marathon. This is my second year on staff, and I’m excited to continue sharing news with the Westside Community!
Elaina Kratky, Reporter
Hi! I'm Elaina Kratky and I'm a junior. This is my first year on WTV but my second year in the journalism program. Other than journalism, I'm involved in swimming, ATSC, Spanish NHS, and Dance Marathon.
CeCe Gerard, Sports J Photographer
Hi, my name is CeCe Gerard! I'm a sports photography Editor for Sports Journalism and a writer this year. I'm a Senior and this is my third year in Sports Journalism. My Favorite foods are ice cream and really good soft pretzels. I also have a dog named Walter. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected] and view my portfolio at cecegerardphotography.com
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