Running back Rajaan Bennett, one of Vanderbilt’s top football recruits, was killed early Thursday morning in an apparent murder-suicide at his family’s home in Georgia.
“All of us at Vanderbilt are devastated by news of Rajaan’s death," VU coach Bobby Johnson said in a statement released by the school. "This is just so tragic to everybody that knew and loved Rajaan. Initially, our thoughts and prayers are with his mother Narjaketha and family members. I know he meant so much to them.
“Rajaan was an extraordinary young man and an ideal fit for Vanderbilt University. As we got to know Rajaan, it became very clear to our coaches that he was a better person than he was an athlete. He was a leader, a young man who gained the respect of the entire community at McEachern High School."
A running back at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Ga., Bennett was the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year in 2009 after he rushed for 1,857 yards and 28 touchdowns.
The 18-year-old signed a national letter-of-intent with Vanderbilt on national signing day.
“I promise he's a better person than he is player,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said of Bennett when he signed with the Commodores. “He has a great head on his shoulders, a guy that has been the man in his household for quite a while, yet still worked to maintain a solid GPA in class and become such a great player.”