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Cardinal Capsule
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 11/10/2000

Nov. 10, 2000

Sam Benner
Sport: Football
Year: Senior
Position: Defensive End
Height: 6-5
Weight: 275
Hometown: Ventura, Calif.
High School: St. Bonaventure HS
Major: Communication
Stanford Athletics Highlights: Has started for most of the last three seasons at defensive end ... Has contributed 11 tackles in his first seven games of the 2000 campaign ... Had 19 tackles and a pair of sacks in 1999, while recording 22 tackles and a sack as a sophomore in 1998 ... Will be playing his final collegiate game at Stanford Stadium when the Cardinal hosts Arizona State this Saturday (11/11/00).

NICKNAME(S)
Everybody on the team calls me Sam B. It's real simple.

FAVORITE FOOD
My mom's lasagna. I love it.

FAVORITE MUSIC ARTIST(S)
It has to be the Beastie Boys ... growing up listening to them since I was a little kid. One of the first tapes I ever got was the Licensed To Ill.

FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM
LA Lakers. I watched Magic, Kareem, Worthy ... Sam Perkins was actually one of my favorites.

FAVORITE PLACE TO HANG OUT
Probably the movies. I go to the movies a lot. I'm kind of a cinema freak.

BEST BOOK YOU HAVE READ
I really like John Grisham books like "The Client" and all those books. I read a lot of those in high school. Pretty much any book by him I like.

FAVORITE CLASS
I actually had a history of film class in my major that was really interesting. It was a great thing. It knocked out a class in my major, and I got to enjoy myself at the same time. It was older films, a lot of the older cinema that I hadn't really had that much exposure to.

FAVORITE HOBBY
Probably going to the movies, but actually I also produce music in my spare time. I mix songs ... hip-hop and R&B music. I've got a little drum machine. I kind of play around with that. I have probably almost 400 CD's I've been collecting.

FAVORITE VIDEO GAME
It's got to be Tony Hawke's Pro Skater on Play Station. I play that thing to death. Sometimes I play a little 007 on Nintendo 64 with some of the guys from the team. I don't play that much during the season but definitely during the off-season.

FAVORITE MOVIE
It's got to be Swingers. From beginning to end, a great movie.

FAVORITE TV SHOW
I watch a lot of MTV, not a specific show. But if I probably had to pick a specific show, it would probably be Seinfield.

FAVORITE ATHLETE
Someone I've looked up to for a great amount of time is Magic Johnson. He's just one of those guys who was a great competitor, loved to play his sport, but was also really charismatic and just a great person overall.

FAVORITE NON-FOOTBALL ACTIVITY
Making music and hanging out with the guys on the team.

ONE WORD THAT DESCRIBES YOU
Blue-collar. I've been kind of associated with that over my football career ... a guy who just kind of does the dirty work and gets his job done for the defense.

IF YOU WERE GOING ON A ROAD TRIP AND COULD ONLY TAKE ONE CD, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU TAKE?
It would have to be the Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill.

BEST VACATION OR TRIP YOU HAVE EVER TAKEN
It would have to be my senior trip in high school. I went with my girlfriend and a bunch of our friends to Hawaii. We had a blast. It was so much fun and a great place to go on vacation.

OPPONENT YOU WOULD MOST LIKE TO BEAT
UCLA, being a Southern California guy you have to love to play those guys. I'd love to beat them.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE BEFORE A GAME? DO YOU HAVE ANY GAMEDAY SUPERSTITIONS?
Mentally preparing myself I really kind of envision myself making big plays and doing my job. As far as superstitions are concerned, probably my weirdest superstition is that I always put my cleats on in the same order. I always put my left on first, then my right. I do everything kind of left to right with everything.

IF YOU COULD PLAY ANOTHER SPORT AT STANFORD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
It would have to be basketball. I would love to play in front of a huge crowd at Maples. That would be too cool.

BEST THING ABOUT BEING A STUDENT-ATHLETE AT STANFORD
One of the things that's great about being a student-athlete is just the student-athletes themselves are kind of a family. We're all good friends and kind of a close tight-knit group. I definitely enjoy that aspect of it.

BEST PART ABOUT YOUR GAME
Physical, man-to-man. I love that ... face-to-face with your opponent.

WHAT IS THE BEST SPORTING EVENT YOU HAVE EVER ATTENDED AS A SPECTATOR?
I went to a USC-Notre Dame football game my senior year in high school. There was a huge crowd in the (Los Angeles) Coliseum. That was a great experience to see college football. I had a feeling then that this could be me playing here pretty soon.

SOMEWHERE YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN THAT YOU WOULD MOST LIKE TO VISIT
I think Europe would have to be a place that I've never been to or experienced that I'd really like to go check out.

IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH A FAMOUS PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE?
I'd have to say Magic ... I would love to meet Magic Johnson and sit down with him, figure out how he got to where he is.

WHAT DO YOU SEE YOURSELF DOING IN 10 YEARS?
Hopefully 10 years down the road I'll have my own record label and be producing music ... definitely in the "music biz". That's where I see myself. I'd like to get involved in that. I've done a lot of parties and handed out some of my own songs. People have really liked them, so we'll see.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR ATHLETIC CAREER TO THIS POINT?
It had to be playing in the Rose Bowl (last season) ... I just think running out of that tunnel and hearing the crowd blow up was definitely the culmination of a really great season last year.

MOST INFLUENTAL PERSON IN YOUR LIFE
I've had a great family upbringing. If I had to pick someone specifically, I think my mom would probably be someone who has really been there since the beginning. But, if I could pick two people, I would add my high school football coach Jon Mack.

WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE TO ATTEND STANFORD?
I'm sure you've gotten this textbook answer every time, but it's such a great thing that you can get top-notch academics and be able to play big time Pac-10 football. You can't beat it.

WHAT IS SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT FEW PEOPLE KNOW?
I think that I can dance pretty well. Most of the guys on the team know it, but if people who didn't know me just looked at me they wouldn't see me as someone who loves to get on the dance floor and get crazy.

WHAT WOULD YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SAY ABOUT YOU WHEN YOU LEAVE STANFORD?
That I did my job every week to the best of my ability. I'm not exactly the most gifted athletically, but I think I've always made the effort to be consistent, to come in and do my job day-in and day-out.

FAVORITE BREAKFAST CEREAL
Honey Bunches of Oats.

COKE OR PEPSI?
Pepsi, all the way. It's addictive.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGSTERS WHO WANT TO PLAY COLLEGIATE FOOTBALL?
Basically, enjoy what you're doing now. Don't worry so much about the next step that you're not focusing on what you're doing now. A lot of people are saying 'I got to do this, I got to do that'. As long as you do a good job, no matter where you go to school, if you're playing good they will come and find you.

EARLIEST FOOTBALL MEMORY
The first year I played was eighth-grade. I played Pop Warner football. There was a guy who had played the year before who was huge on our team. Nobody had ever really been able to hit him and knock him off his feet. I was an offensive lineman and he was a defensive end. The first day of practice, I came pulling around (on a run play) and just knocked him off his feet. Everybody was going crazy. He was totally embarrassed. I got him good. I had a pretty good feeling from then on I might be pretty good at this football thing.

MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH I LIKE...
Spending time with my girlfriend.

FAVORITE PRE-GAME MEAL
Pasta.

PAPER OR PLASTIC?
Paper.

HOW DID YOU SPEND LAST SUMMER?
I was at Stanford, got a place off campus with some guys on the team. I helped out working in the weight room. It was a great way to be around the guys all summer and be able to work out and go get big.


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