Janesville Craig alum & UW Badger Keeanu Benton enters NFL draft

Wisconsin nose tackle Keeanu Benton warms up before playing against Nebraska in an NCAA college...
Wisconsin nose tackle Keeanu Benton warms up before playing against Nebraska in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Lincoln, Neb.(Rebecca S. Gratz | AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 12:56 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Janesville-native is likely on his way to the NFL. Former Craig High School star – and current Badger – Keeanu Benton revealed Friday that he will enter next year’s draft.

One of the anchors of the Badgers defense, Benton announced his decision Friday in a tweet where he said it was an honor to play for UW.

“I have become a man at the University of Wisconsin and consider this my second home,” the senior nose tackle wrote. “Being a part of this Wisconsin Badger football team has taught me resiliency, passion, and dependability.”

Benton’s statement thanked defensive line coach Ross Kolodziej , whom he referred to as “Coach K,” along with former Badgers football head coach Paul Chryst and the team’s defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, who led the team following Chryst’s departure, for his development as a player and as a person.

He also expressed his appreciation to his teammates, pointing out that some bonds can never be broken – as well as the Badger fans that “supported me and made Saturdays at Camp Randall unforgettable.”

“I will never forget the time that I have spent here and the connections I have made along the way,” he said. “So, with that being said, my collegiate football career has come to an end and I will be declaring for the 2023 NFL draft.

A highly-touted recruit when he graduated from Craig, Benton brought with him a slew of honors picked up in his senior season as Cougar. When his high school career was said and done, he was named first-team all-state by the Associated Press, all-region and All-Big Eight Conference, and Janesville Gazette All-Area Player of the Year.

Benton finished the 2022 season with 35 tackles, 10 for loss and 4.5 sacks for a total of 29 yards.

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