Nebraska legacy Keagan Johnson raised some eyebrows when he chose Iowa Football as a member of the 2021 recruiting class. His father, Clester Johnson, won two national titles with the Huskers back in the 1990s.
Clester’s college teammate, Damon Benning, also has a son being pursued by Power 5 programs. Caleb Benning, a ’24 Athlete from Omaha (NE) Westside High, is going through the process now.
The Hawkeyes are attempting to pull another talented prospect out of their Big Ten West Division’s back yard again. Caleb Benning holds a scholarship offer from them after a weekend visit to Iowa City. He also reports offers from Nebraska and Minnesota.
Like Keagan Johnson, Caleb Benning is fine following his own path.
“I am not limiting myself at all,” Caleb told HN. “I know some people may not want to hear that, but I am not set in stone just a Nebraska kid. My dad coached at Omaha North, and I ended up at the Westside.
“So, I really look to him in helping me make my own choice that fits me. I also know Keagan Johnson. I see the relationship between him and his dad have knowing Clester played at Nebraska and think highly of that.”
Caleb visited Iowa on March 5 before returning on Saturday. He stopped at Jan. Nebraska. 29, March 22 and was scheduled to be back in Lincoln this coming weekend.
The Lincoln (NE) Journal-Star named Benning (6-0, 180) to its first-team Super-State team this fall, the only sophomore on the squad. He played both ways for Westside, recording 68 tackles (55.0 solo, 4.0 for loss) with six passes defended and four interceptions as a defensive back. He caught two touchdowns as a receiver, averaged 23.0 yards on six kick returns and 19.9 yards on 17 punt returns.
Iowa sees him as a defensive back. Phil Parker, who serves as the Hawkeyes’ defensive coordinator and secondary coach, spent a lot of time with Benning on his visit.
“We just talked about defensive backs in general. He showed me some movies at all the DB positions,” Benning said. “His look at defense is very simple, and I understood it very well. I also talk to coach (LeVar) Woods a lot. I’m extremely comfortable with him. He’s a really cool dude.”
Woods led Iowa’s recruitment of Keagan Johnson.
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“It meant a lot,” Benning said of the Hawkeye offer. “It’s a great and highly respected program in a great conference that wins a whole lot and produces great players.
“I loved the facilities and the hospitality. I was very comfortable all day and enjoyed it a lot.”
Benning appreciated watching Iowa’s spring practice and seeing how the program runs.
“I learned the way they go about their business. People say college is a job and say it in a negative way, but they talk about it in a way that prepares you for life,” he said.
“Coach (Kirk) Ferentz’s view is recruiting really impressed me. He talked about it from my view not his and Iowa’s. I can tell he has my best interest at heart and that means a whole lot.”
Benning focused on defensive backs while watching the workout.
“I feel like I would fit in great. The success of the physical and smart DBs is right up my alley,” he said.
Sports Management and Business are college majors Benning is considering. He’d like to see what Iowa offers in those areas when he returns to campus, which could be in the late spring or early summer.
“I would love to get into the academics. I know a lot about the great city and community, so diving into the school part would be cool,” he said.
You can check out Benning’s sophomore highlights HERE.