PHENIX CITY, Ala. — One of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays details the relationship of two young people who grew to be inseparable. The same premise of that relationship can be applied to new Alabama linebacker commit Markail Benton and his brothers.
“Our relationship is like Romeo and Juliet,” Tre Lee, one of Markail’s two brothers, told SEC Country. “We can’t go anywhere without each other. We’re stuck together.”
Tre, who is a freshman running back at Central High School (Phenix City, Ala.), won’t have his brother around every day next year when Markail heads off to Alabama. But don’t expect the brothers to stay away from each other for too long.
“I’m going to go (to Tuscaloosa) every day if I can,” Tre said. “If I don’t have practice here at Central, I’m going to try to be there. I want to make sure I see my brother play football.”
Markail, the 4-star prospect who committed Friday to Alabama over Auburn and Florida State, is a role model for Tre and their 2-year-old brother, Cameron Lee. He relishes that responsibility.
When Benton was on stage announcing his commitment, he didn’t do it alone. He had his brothers, mother and stepdad all on stage for the big moment. One of the main reasons why he chose Alabama is because the Tide feel like a second family to him.
“I don’t think anything can come between blood,” Benton said. “I really wanted to find another family like I have here at Central and like the one I have at home.”
Benton makes sure he’s always there for his brothers. When Cameron was born two years ago, Benton made sure he did everything he could to help his mother — feed him, bathe him and clothe him. There is one thing Benton decided to stay away from though.
“That is one thing that I do not do. I don’t do diapers,” Benton laughed.
With Tre, Benton is the one making sure his middle brother is making the right decisions. On the football field, he does what he can to help, but he said it’s not easy with Tre playing offense and him on the defensive side of the ball.
Benton says he wants Tre to be better at the sport he plays. As for Cameron, Benton is always playing ball with him. Benton hopes Cameron ends up playing the sport he loves one day.
“Anything that deals with football, he loves it,” Benton said. “I think he looks up to me a whole lot. Any time he’s watching me play football, he’s always saying ‘look mommy, that’s ‘kail. Look mommy, that’s ‘kail.'”
It’s hard to miss Benton when he’s on the football field. The 6-foot-2, 237-pound prospect is the anchor of Central’s defense. But if you see him in a Red Devils jersey this year, don’t be surprised if you see Benton lined up at quarterback.
Central coach Jamey Dubose has plays for Benton to be the team’s wildcat quarterback. His athleticism is Benton’s best attribute.
“His size, combined with his speed, is something you don’t see a lot,” Dubose said. “He can run as well as anybody on the football field. You can put him at outside linebacker and cover in man and rush him off the edge. He’s big enough that you can play him inside and have him handle the tackle box. I’m not so sure, but maybe over time, you could move him to safety. He’s that versatile of an athlete.”
Despite holding offers from schools coast-to-coast, Benton isn’t the type to gloat about his success. In fact, he doesn’t really talk much at all. He’s not going to be the Ray Lewis type of player at Alabama, meaning he won’t be rallying his teammates in some impassioned speech.
His coach said he’d rather have his players be like Markail when it comes to doing much talking.
“He’s not one of those guys that’s going to lead a cheer, and that’s not necessarily what you’re looking for in players,” Dubose said. “He leads by what he does on and off the field. He’s one of those guys to lead by example.”
That’s how he is at home, too.
” ‘Kail is the kind of brother that’s always pushing me to do something the right way,” Tre said. “If I’m not doing it right, he’s always going to show me how to do something to make sure I do it right.”
The family has talked about what it’s going to be like when Markail heads off to college, and there’s going to be a void at home. Benton said he can’t process what it’s going to be like when he’s away from his brothers.
He said he hopes to FaceTime his family every single day.
His love for his family and his desire to be with them as often as possible is why Auburn was the perceived favorite to land his commitment until recently. Auburn is less than an hour car ride from his home, compared to the 3-hour trip to Tuscaloosa.
Benton’s mother, Carla Lee, isn’t worried about the distance and her son being away. She thinks the relationship he shares with Cameron and Tre will be stronger when he gets to college.
“I think their relationship will grow even more because they won’t be able to see each other every day.” Carla said.
Tre isn’t looking forward to that day when he has to say goodbye to Markail. Even though we’re a year away from Benton heading off to begin his collegiate career, Tre has already thought about what he’s going to miss most about Markail’s daily presence in his life.
“I’m really going to miss my brother caring for me every day,” Tre said. “He’s the kind of brother that keeps me in line. He tells me what’s good and what’s not good.
“He’s just a great kid. He’s going to make it big one day.”
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.