This is DeAngelo Benton, wide receiver, 6'3", 195#, 4.45 40-yard-dash, 37 inch vertical. He is a 4-star recruit out of Bastrop, and some say he is perhaps the most SEC-ready of all the wide receivers and wide receiver-maybes of the last couple of classes. Word is that he has great hands and body control, and can shield off defenders with his body, which is a very important skill that most high-level high school receivers do not possess because they are fast enough and athletic enough not to need to that. They say that Benton is the exception in that, even though he is very athletic as you can tell by his measurables, he is ready, willing, and able to fight for a ball using the higher-order skills you don't often see in a high school wideout.
He is pure wideout. He's not an "athlete" like John Williams, who has to find a position. He's not a slot receiver like a Ron Brooks or a Trindon Holliday. He probably won't be returning punts. He's a Dwayne Bowe style, line-up-against-the-cornerback-and-go-long (or medium, or short) wide receiver.
When I started this series, I did not anticipate profiling DeAngelo Benton because it was widely believed that he would not qualify academically. While he has not joined the team yet because of academic reasons, we received some hopeful news yesterday. Benton is in summer school in Bastrop retaking a course he had previously failed, hoping to get his core GPA up above 2.5. He has re-taken the ACT hoping to get that above a 17. If he can do both of those things, he will join the team in a couple weeks.
If he had been able to report to the team in time for summer workouts, I would believe there was a very good chance he'd be a solid contributor as a true freshman. However, because he's missing key development time here, and may have to miss part of Fall Practice due to the issues that kept Richard Murphy and Keiland Williams down, I don't really expect him to be able to beat out the Mitchells, Ricky Dixon, Brandon Lafell, Demetrius Byrd, and Terrance Toliver for playing time. Maybe in a year or two though.
This is, btw, the 13th edition of this series, which means we're halfway through the recruits, but more than halfway through the series. I won't profile everyone individually because I don't necessarily know a lot about each individual recruit. It's been a marvelous way to fill column inches while waiting for things of immediate importance to happen. Coming up, I will talk about the kickers we signed and use that as a starting point to discuss the importance of specialists. Hope you enjoy.
Update: Benton has fallen short of qualifying and will go to post-graduate prep school, hoping to be a part of the 2008 class.