Posted: 2:06 pm Sunday, January 9th, 2011
By Jeff Greer
Star Glades Central receiver Kelvin Benjamin verbally committed to Florida State on Sunday. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound receiver took an official visit to Tallahassee this weekend and said he will not take his originally planned official visits to Florida and Miami this month.
Benjamin’s commitment provides some relief for Florida State, which lost the verbal commitment of Cape Coral defensive end Aaron Lynch last night. It also reunites him with his good friend Greg Dent, a freshman receiver at FSU who starred at Glades Central. He had been seen in Florida State hats and jackets all fall and winter, and he even did FSU’s tomahawk chop after a 48-yard reception at the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Dec. 31.
Benjamin (No. 2 on our Big Board) wanted to announce his decision a week before Christmas, but new Florida coach Will Muschamp called Benjamin and convinced him to delay his announcement and visit Gainesville. Benjamin did not respond to messages last week asking if the departure of Florida receivers coach Zach Azzanni, who heavily recruited Benjamin for the Gators, had any impact on his decision.
Former Glades Central coach Jessie Hester, who is an FSU alum, said in December that if Benjamin had stuck to his announcement plan, he probably would’ve picked FSU. So, Sunday’s news that Hester’s star wideout picked Florida State after all didn’t surprise Hester.
“It’s not (surprising),” Hester said. “I know he was leaning that way. The other coaches had just come aboard at the other schools. It would’ve been wise to visit the other schools and see what they have to offer, but if he’s happy with that then that’s great for him.”
Benjamin had 30 catches for 551 yards and six touchdowns in eight games this season for Glades Central. He reached the age maximum (19 years, 9 months) for Florida high school football and sat out the remainder of the season, which saw Glades Central reach the Class 2A state finals. Hester has said on multiple occasions that Benjamin is on track to graduate at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
At 6-foot-6, Benjamin possesses rare size and strength for a receiver. He has 80-plus-inch wingspan and 9 1/8-inch hands, and presents a challenging tackle for much smaller defensive backs.
Benjamin is the second highly-touted receiver to verbally commit to Florida State. Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas receiver Rashad Greene also said he’d play for the Seminoles in 2011. Both ESPN and Rivals.com say Florida State has the third-best recruiting class for 2011. Another recruiting service, Scout.com, rates Florida State’s class fourth.