Gavin Bennett is well known on campus, not for his former position on the Gamecock football team, but for proudly sporting what BarstoolUofSC named the best mullet at the university.
Though he did not see playing time as an offensive lineman, Bennett still managed to gain recognition on campus. His unique style and attitude toward life has proven to bring a contagious energy to others in and beyond Williams-Brice Stadium.
Bennett expresses his free spirit through his hairstyles. In the past, he had different designs shaved into his hair. Currently, Bennett has a mullet that has earned himself the title of "best mullet at USC" by @BarstoolUofSC on Twitter.
“I’ve always had like a bunch of different hairstyles," Bennett, a second-year operations and supply chain management student, said.
He said he even had "Superman symbols cut into my head." Over quarantine, Bennett grew out his hair to the point where it started touching the back of his neck. Bennett said he "saw this guy with an awesome mullet, and I was like, ‘I’ve got to do that.’”
He is confident in his barber’s skills, and he said he felt like he didn't have any competition when it came to claiming his title from Barstool. He believes the biggest difference-maker in the social media competition was the first pair of sunglasses he has ever owned, Pit Vipers.
“A lot of [other contestants], they had the mullet, and I’ll give them props," Bennett said. "But I think the Pit Vipers stole the show.”
The sunglasses have become such a staple to Bennett’s look that his family wore the same sunglasses in the stadium on game days in support of Bennett.
Gavin's sister, Lilly Bennett, remembers last semester's Auburn game.
"We all ordered his jerseys ... My mom was like, 'Well, since he's wearing the Pit Vipers, we have to,'" Lilly Bennett said. "So, now, when we go to the games, we just wear them and everyone knows. They're like, 'Oh my God, are you the family of Gavin Bennett?'"
With an underwhelming 2-8 in the books for the 2020 Gamecock football season, Bennett knows from personal experience just how much the team feeds off of the fans’ energy in the stadium. With this in mind, he worked to create a contagiously enthusiastic attitude from the sidelines no matter the game’s development, especially with a smaller crowd presence due to the pandemic.
“I always try to bring it," Bennett said.
Bennett's close friend, Noah Weisberg, said Bennett's positive attitude is contagious.
"When I'm around him, I can't not be happy," Weisberg said. "He'll find some way to get me out of a crappy mood ... Even if I'm tired, him just coming over is like an uplifting spirit."
Throughout Bennett’s middle and high school experiences, he said he felt labeled as the "weird kid." This never bothered the aspiring football player because he was always confident he was doing what made him happy.
“Why would I not want to live every day like it’s the last?" Bennett said. "It’s me and I own it, and I love it because who knows, I could die tomorrow."
Perspective plays a large role in Bennett’s lighthearted outlook, as he often finds the good in all situations. He said even though he did not get playing time during his time as a preferred walk-on for the Gamecocks, a team he has supported since he was a kid, he could not have been more excited just to wear his football uniform.
“I only wore that uniform three times, but it was the best three times of my entire life,” Bennett said.