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DT Michael Bennett signs with Jaguars


JACKSONVILLE – And then there were three.

Moving quickly between rookie camp and the start of organized team activities later this month, the Jaguars as of Friday now have signed more than half of their 2015 draft class.

Michael Bennett, a defensive tackle from Ohio State University, signed his rookie contract with the Jaguars shortly after noon Friday at EverBank Field, becoming the fifth rookie in four days to sign with the team.

The Jaguars have signed five of the eight rookies selected in the 2015 NFL Draft.

"I can say I'm officially an NFL football player, and I'm in the right place for it," Bennett said Friday. "I still have a lot to do and a lot to grow with. I'm happier than I can remember, and I'm in the right place, so I'm just excited for the future. …

"Now, it's time to prove yourself on the field."

Bennett (6-feet-2, 293 pounds), a sixth-round selection and the No. 180 selection in the draft, joined first-round defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., fourth-round safety James Sample, seventh-round wide receiver Neal Sterling and seventh-round tight end Ben Koyack as selections signing with the Jaguars this week.

Fowler signed Tuesday, with Sample and Sterling signing Wednesday and Koyack signing Thursday.

"I'll definitely call my parents when I get back to the hotel and talk to them, celebrate with them," Bennett said. "A lot of people helped you to get here, and everyone helped a little bit, so it's just an exciting time. You look back … all of the parties I missed … it makes it all worth it, to sign a contract and be a part of this team."

Bennett, a starter the past two seasons, started 28 of 47 games in four seasons for the Buckeyes. He registered 18 sacks in four seasons, including seven each of the past two seasons. He had 31.5 career tackles for loss, including 14 as a senior and 11.5 as a junior.

Bennett, a first-team All-America selection as a senior and a two-time second-team All-Big 10 selection, was projected by many as a second-round selection. While he slid to the Jaguars in Round 6, he said he believes Jacksonville is the right place for him.

"Talking to my agents, and being here, it makes me realize this is where I definitely want to begin my career and hopefully end my career," Bennett said. "This is the perfect place for me to excel. They have great guys here and great coaches to push me. It's the right environment to be a part of to be the best I can be."

Bennett's signing leaves three Jaguars 2015 draft selections unsigned: running back T.J. Yeldon (second round), offensive guard A.J. Cann (third round) and wide receiver Rashad Greene (fifth round).

As was the case with Sterling earlier in the week, Bennett said buying a car likely will be a post-signing priority.

"I'm actually pretty hurting for a car, so I might have to get some used car or something like that just to drive around," he said.

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