Plant City Courier
Raiders' Coney making waves
PLANT CITY - Bennie Coney has become quite the jet-setter. The Plant City High quarterback will make his farthest travels yet this weekend, though, as part of the prestigious Steve Clarkson Dreammaker Tour. From an opening field of 200 high school quarterbacks, Coney landed a coveted spot in the final seven. As a reward, Coney is taking part in the Super 7 Maui Steve Clarkson retreat, which starts Thursday. There, he and the other members of the Super 7 will receive instruction from big-name quarterbacks such as Matt Leinart of the Arizona Cardinals and Hall of Fame players Joe Montana and Warren Moon. In fact, Coney already has met Montana, at the Super 7 event in Santa Barbara, Calif., this month."He was throwing; when I found that out, I was kind of happy. He still throws it pretty good," Coney said. "It's been real nice; I'm starting to meet a lot of new friends and learning a lot." Steve Clarkson is a well-known quarterback coach who has tutored the likes of Montana. The Dreammaker Tour made stops in 15 different U.S. cities, including one showcase in Orlando, where Coney first stood out in April. From that regional showcase, Coney was chosen to compete in the national showcase in Santa Barbara in late May. "There were 200 quarterbacks in all, and I knew my chances to be in the top seven out of 200, that's a big number," Coney said. "So I kept my head straight, worked hard and just tried to be the best at every drill." Along with top-notch football instruction, Dreammaker Tour athletes have been receiving tips on how to handle the media and other off-the-field aspects. Coney has matured physically and is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 210 pounds heading into his junior year at Plant City. He is certainly getting used to national attention, if for no other reason than he continues to show up across the country. This past week, he was at a camp at the University of Southern California. Joining him there were two of his Raiders teammates, backup quarterback Nick Rodriguez and receiver Lamarlin Wiggins. His schedule is so busy that he had to put off a trip not many would cancel. "I was supposed to go to Notre Dame (after USC), but I had to go home," he said. "I had to get a little rest before Hawaii."