2019 Katy (TX) Cinco Ranch four-star inside linebacker David Gbenda has Michigan football in his top group, and shares why the Wolverines made the cut and what he’s looking for.
2019 Four-star Explains Why Michigan Made His Top Ten
It’s rare that a student-athlete who’s eyeing a career in football also pursues a challenging concentration path.
But such is the case for 2019 Katy (TX) Cinco Ranch four-star inside linebacker David Gbenda.
Gbenda is rated by ESPN at 196th overall, and the fourth-best inside linebacker in the 2019 recruiting class. Usually, with high star ratings and with high accolades coming out of high school, players are literally concentrating on getting to the NFL. But Gbenda is looking at things differently.
It’s not that he doesn’t want to get to the pro-level (who in college football doesn’t?) — but he also knows there’s more to life than football. That’s why, as he deduces his options from his recently dropped top ten, he’s hoping to find an engineering program that he can balance with his football regimen.
“Engineering – you can get a lot of money (and) it’s just something (I’ve been looking at) really,” Gbenda said. “I’ve been in engineering classes since middle school since like eighth grade. I’ve been doing it all up till now, so yeah.”
Of course, Gbenda is aware of the time constraints that come both with being a student-athlete at a big time football program and studying engineering in college. Unsure of what branch of engineering he wants to study at this juncture, he’s taking all of that into account, and wants to hear more from each of his top schools about how he can make that life work at the next level.
“There are some concerns, yes,” Gbenda said. “I know all of engineering is hard, but I’m probably just going to try to see what would best work with the schedule. That’s why I’m really taking my time in trying to decide what type of engineer I’m going to become – depends on if I like the job, either way. So that’s another thing I’m going to take into account of things.”
Michigan is one of the ten schools that have made the cut for the four-star linebacker, along with four home state schools — Texas, Texas A&M, TCU and Houston. Nearby Missouri and Ole Miss also made the cut, as well as midwest institutions such as Notre Dame and Nebraska. PAC-12 powerhouse Washington also made the cut.
Gbenda admits he has half the summer to start whittling things down, before he starts to focus on his senior season. He doesn’t know what official visits he’ll take before he gets his list from ten down to five.
But Michigan intrigues him for multiple reasons, he told WolverinesWire.
First, it’s his conversations with Jay Harbaugh and Al Washington — and how they see him as being a force inside at middle linebacker. He’s seen Michigan and what they do with Devin Bush Jr. and how crazy Don Brown’s defense looks to be.
That, in and of itself, has his attention.
Asked what his style of play is, he immediately referred to what he sees on the field in Ann Arbor as being something of an ideal fit for his skill set.
“My style of ball – I consider it more to really a fast-style defense,” Gbenda said. “Fast, hard-hitting defense. I watch what (Michigan does) with linebackers and stuff. They’re sending them on blitzes and their D-line is crazy.”
What sticks out about Michigan for the 6-foot, 213-pound linebacker is the success that the Wolverines have had on that side of the ball. “Really the type of ball they play over there – smooth-type ball,” is what he noted to be the key thing that has his attention.
But he still has decisions to make.
He detailed what he’s looking for from his current round of finalists, and what he envisions his future to be at the next level — something again that jibes with what Michigan has to offer.
“I’m looking for a place that allows me to play somewhat early, or not, but at least get some playing time,” Gbenda said. “I also want to set a place that really develops me to be a better linebacker. A place with crazy ball, so I can learn different things as I continue to play on. And really a great education that’s really going to set me forward and get me prepared for life after football. That’s really all I’m looking for in a school.”
But, looming large are the four in-state schools as well as the several others that are in his immediate region.
However, Gbenda isn’t necessarily looking to stay close to home. He does say it would be a perk, of sorts, but distance isn’t something in consideration to his decision.
“Staying or going – it’s really not an issue,” Gbenda said. “It’s really more like, if I really like the school, I’ll go there. It wouldn’t be a problem, to be honest with you. If I like the school, I’ll go there. To stay at home, it’s just like an added perk. But it doesn’t really bother me if I go out of state and do my own thing, because it’s college. I have to grow up and do stuff on my own and really learn how to do things and get prepared for the real world.”