MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Cedric Benson is arguably one of the best athletes to have come through Midland and the Permian Basin.
Reports indicate the star running back was killed in a motorcycle crash overnight in West Austin. But before he was a nationally known star, Benson was a bright spot in the oilfields of West Texas.
At Midland Lee, Benson played a key role in leading the Rebels to three consecutive state championships. In those accolades Lee also won a national championship. During Benson’s high school career, he also rushed for more than 8,000 yards placing him fourth on the all-time list in Texas high school football history.
What many may not know, is that Benson was also a standout athlete on the baseball diamond. He was also an outstanding baseball player at Midland Lee High School. Benson was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 12th round following his senior year. Benson played in Summer League with the Dodgers in Vero Beach and in their Gulf Coast League team.
Benson became the talk of the town having an impact not just in the community, but in the state as all-eyes were on him an his next move.
The Lee running back would ultimately end up at the University of Texas, playing under then coach Mack Brown.
Benson rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his four years at Texas from 2001-2004. In his 2004 season, Benson ran for 1,834 yards and 19 touchdowns and won the Doak Walker award for the nation’s best running back and was a first-team All-American.
In all, Benson ran for 5,540 yards and 64 rushing touchdowns, second behind Ricky Williams at Texas and currently ranks 9th all-time in NCAA rushing yards. Benson was inducted into the UT Hall of Honor in 2014.
Benson was a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 2005. He played eight seasons in the NFL with the Bears, Bengals, and Packers. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards three times, ending his career with 6,017 yards. Benson was inducted into the UT Hall of Honor in 2014.
He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2005.
In 2018, Benson returned to his stomping grounds in Midland to host a free football camp, with the goal of building character and putting Midland back on the football map.
It was a special moment for many in the community and for Benson himself, the running back said at the camp. Benson also said he wanted to expand his foundation in Midland and build a new facility to help athletes struggling with the balance of sports and academics.