Roswell wide receiver Chris Boyd said Rajaan Bennett and the other eight Georgia high school players to sign football scholarships with Vanderbilt earlier this month “were like family.”
“I’ve been texting back and forth with other Vanderbilt recruits all morning,” Boyd said. “None of us really know how to react. We’re all in a state of shock and can’t believe that Rajaan is gone. It’s so sad.”
Boyd and Bennett became fast friends at December’s North-South all-star game in Columbus. Boyd was a longtime commitment to Vanderbilt and was trying to convince Bennett to also pick the SEC school.
“We hung out and chilled together that week,” Boyd said. “We talked about the recruiting process. He had big dreams for his college football career.
“He showed everybody what he could do that week. He was an amazing running back. He ran hard, running people over on defense, and gave it his all every play.”
Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson had grown close to Bennett and his family during the recruiting process. Bennett narrowly picked Vanderbilt over Kentucky and Tennessee, and Johnson considered him one of the stars of the recruiting class.
“Rajaan was an extraordinary young man and an ideal fit for Vanderbilt University,” Johnson said in a statement. “As we got to know Rajaan, it became very clear to our coaches that he was a better person than he was an athlete. He was a leader, a young man who gained the respect of the entire community at McEachern High School.”
“All of us at Vanderbilt are devastated by news of Rajaan’s death. This is just so tragic to everybody that knew and loved Rajaan. Initially, our thoughts and prayers are with his mother Narjaketha and family members. I know he meant so much to them.”
Related stories on the death of McEachern running back Rajaan Bennett (click on each link)