Posted: 11:41 pm Sunday, December 12th, 2010
By Jeff Greer
Updated on Monday, Dec. 13, at 11:30 p.m.
NOTE: After talking to new Florida coach Will Muschamp, Kelvin Benjamin has delayed the announcement of his college choice. Read here for more.
Highly touted Glades Central receiver Kelvin Benjamin said he will make his college choice at the Glades Central High School gymnasium on Thursday at 4 p.m.
Benjamin (6-6, 220, No. 2 on the Big Board) will pick from more than 40 scholarship offers. He said Sunday night that he’d pick between Miami, Florida and Florida State. Several sources have said that Florida State, where Benjamin’s good friend and former Glades Central receiver Greg Dent is a freshman, is the leader.
His announcement that he’d pick a school on Thursday came as a bit of a surprise to those around him. The senior said all season that he’d wait until National Signing Day on Feb. 2, 2011 — the first day recruits can sign national letters of intent with colleges — to make his choice.
At Glades Central’s state-championship game on Saturday night, Benjamin told reporters that he was still undecided. A day later, he told reporters he was ready to announce. Something must’ve changed.
“Maybe with all the changes with the coaching staffs, that had something to do with it,” Glades Central coach Jessie Hester said Monday. “At the end of it all, you want to make sure you make the absolute best decision for Kelvin Benjamin and nobody else.”
It’s unclear if the recent hires of Will Muschamp at Florida and Al Golden at Miami will have any affect on Benjamin’s choice, although he told Rivals.com that he was more familiar with Muschamp than Golden. Florida wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni has visited Belle Glade several times in recent weeks, meeting with Benjamin and juniors Jaime Wilson and Dominique Gibson, who are both Florida targets, but Azzanni may not be retained by Muschamp.
Hester also said that he’d prefer that Benjamin wait to announce his choice until Feb. 2, which is the first day recruits can sign letters of intent with schools and typically the day Glades Central seniors make their college choices.
In August, Hester said that Benjamin was leaning toward Florida, if where he unofficially visited most was any indication. But Florida State has made a serious push for the uber-talented receiver, whose sheer size (80-plus-inch wingspan and 9 1/8-inch hands) makes him a huge target and difficult to bring down.
Benjamin recently visited West Virginia and has been spotted wearing Florida State hats and jackets over the past few months, whipping almost every fan base on the East coast into a frenzy over where he’s headed. He attended Florida State’s 31-7 win over Florida on Nov. 27 in Tallahassee and enjoyed the visit. Benjamin also took an official visit to Marshall, and Hester told our Matt Porter 10 days ago that LSU had an outside shot at the 80th-ranked recruit and ninth-rated receiver in the 2011 class.
Before reaching the Florida high school football age maximum of 19 years and 9 months, Benjamin had 30 catches, 551 receiving yards and six touchdowns in eight games. He will play in the Offense-Defense Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Jan. 31.