This year’s football recruiting class comes with the kind of offensive lineman rarely seen at Louisville, a tackle who either runs over people or knocks the hell out of them. Imagine that.

Welcome Mario Benavides, of Los Fresnos, Texas, the player ESPN describes as “one of the more violent, underrated offensive linemen in the country.” The 6-4, 295-pound Benavides was first team all-state in his junior year and started 11 games as a sophomore. He graduated early, finishing in the top 5% of his class.

“He’s like Jekyll and Hyde,” his coach Scott Ford told Texas Football. “He’s extremely nice off the field, a yes-sir, no-sir kid, but he’s ultra-nasty on it. We’ve got to hold him off in practice. He’s got the perfect football mentality. He definitely plays until the whistle blows.”

That final whistle came late this past year. Los Fresnos went undefeated through the regular season, then went three rounds deep before bowing out to eventual state finalist Austin Westlake.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.