Posted: 5:52 pm Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
By Jeff Greer
National signing day provided a bit of an anticlimactic finish to the Kelvin Benjamin recruiting saga.
One of the nation’s top-rated receivers, Benjamin (6-6, 215, No. 2 on the Big Board) stuck to his January verbal commitment to FSU and signed with the Seminoles on Wednesday. He joins what may end up being the nation’s top recruiting class, with other area signees including our top-ranked prospect, Dwyer tight end Nick O’Leary, and three standouts from the Treasure Coast.
“It’s a relief,” Benjamin said. “There was a lot of pressure from coaches calling me, or you walk into the store and people talking to me, saying, ‘Go here, go there.’ I just picked where I felt I could see myself for four years, and I see myself in Tallahassee.”
That doesn’t mean the talented senior didn’t make things interesting along the way.
Benjamin announced in December that he’d make his college commitment at a ceremony at Glades Central the week before Christmas. A day later, new Florida coach Will Muschamp called Benjamin and convinced him to delay his decision until after he visited Gainesville.
Former Glades Central coach Jessie Hester said that had Benjamin announced when he said he would, he probably would’ve picked FSU. Instead, Benjamin scheduled official visits to FSU, Florida and Miami, saying he’d give all three a fair look. But it didn’t take long after his visit to FSU for him to make the verbal commitment to the Seminoles that many expected.
“I love Florida State,” Benjamin said. “Once I saw all those cats coming in and signing and jumping on that bus, I felt like goodbye … This class is gonna change Florida State.”
FSU gets a freakish athlete in Benjamin, who sat out the final six games of Glades Central’s season because he reached the Florida high school football age limit of 19 years and 9 months. He has an 80-plus-inch wingspan and 9 1/8-inch hands, rare measureables for a receiver. His coaches at Glades Central said he had the combination of ability and size to play right at FSU, regardless of how talented the Seminoles will be in 2011.
Benjamin had 30 catches, 551 receiving yards and six touchdowns in eight games in 2010. He played in the Offense-Defense Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Jan. 31.