Joe Davidson

Football recruit transfers for fourth time, leaving Sacramento for national powerhouse

Lineman Evan Bennett enrolled at Capital Christian before his junior season and transferred to Mater Dei of Santa Ana for his senior year.
Lineman Evan Bennett enrolled at Capital Christian before his junior season and transferred to Mater Dei of Santa Ana for his senior year. Sacramento Bee file

Evan Bennett, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound powerhouse two-way lineman with swelling recruiting interest, has left Capital Christian High School for Mater Dei in Santa Ana.

His parents moved to the area this week. They met with Capital Christian coach Casey Taylor on March 14 to inform him of their decision to transfer. Bennett was a Mater Dei student on Monday.

He updated his Twitter profile to read, "Athlete powered by God ... Mid Year graduate| Mater Dei."

And Mater Dei is no ordinary program. It is of national renown, including going 15-0 in 2017, capped by a 52-21 rout of storied De La Salle in the CIF Open Division championship at Sacramento State. Mater Dei finished No. 1 in the country and has been a launching pad for athletes to the Division I colleges for decades.

Mater Dei has also been a magnet for transfers, including at least seven incoming players in recent weeks alone, according to Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times.

"It was a good parting," Taylor said of Bennett's departure, admitting he and his staff were surprised. "He was having a great spring here. It was a family decision that was just dropped on us. We wish him well. We'll move on and we'll continue to build. We've had a great spring, and the kids have taken a big step forward."

Mater Dei will be Bennett's fourth high school in as many years. He was a starting offensive lineman on Folsom's 14-1 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship team in 2015 that included tackle Jonah Williams, an All-American at Alabama. Bennett attended Whitney as a sophomore but did not play due to injury, and he enrolled at Capital Christian last winter.

"We're going to lose kids and gain kids as a private school," Taylor said. "I feel kids have a right to go where ever they want to go."

Neither Bennett nor his parents responded to The Bee's requests for comment.

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