On Friday evening, Missouri State and head coach Dana Ford landed a major recruiting victory when they received a commitment from one of the top 2022 big men in Illinois. The commitment was from 6’8” power forward NJ Benson of Mt. Vernon High School and the SW Illinois Jets program. 

Benson picked the Bears from his final list of five. Missouri State was able to beat out Illinois State, Murray State, Southern Illinois, and Southern Illinois Edwardsville. 

Even though he did not receive his first division one offer until May, Benson became one of the fastest rising recruits in the entire Midwest and compiled a long list of offers while playing with the SW Illinois Jets. Bradley, Eastern Illinois, Loyola-Chicago, Miami (OH), Radford, St. Louis, Western Illinois, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee were other schools to have also offered him. 

The commitment comes after Benson took a visit to Missouri State just a few weeks ago in the middle of September. “I loved my visit, very nice campus, enjoyed hanging out with the guys and going to the football game. It showed me how life on campus was there.” When talking about why he picked Missouri State, Benson said “I liked the style of play, the players, coaching staff, and the campus the most.”

Benson marks the third commitment in Ford’s 2022 recruitment class. He joins forwards Jonathan Dunn of We Are United Prep and Jalen Hampton of Link Year Prep. 

Missouri State is getting a strong and physical forward in Benson. With all his tools he can be a true force in the paint on both ends. He is a tough interior defender that can just control the glass with his aggressiveness. On the other end he is a tough paint scorer with a great ability to finish with his strength plus has good hands.