Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin announced last week that he would be bypassing his final two years of eligibility in Tallahassee to head off to the greener pastures of the National Football League. Benjamin only spent two years on the field for the Seminoles, but man, did he send himself out in style.
No matter what happens the rest of the way in the career for Benjamin, he will always be remembered as one of the key pieces that secured Florida State it’s first national championship since 1999.
But, that moment was merely the icing on the cake of one of the better turnarounds of any single player in the history of Florida State football, as it wasn’t always that easy for the 6’6″ monster.
Benjamin arrived on campus in Tallahassee prior to the 2011 season. He had only played three years of organized football at Glades Central, but he was such a natural at the game–and the receiver position–with his combination of size and athleticism that he worked his way up to being a four-star recruit.
After redshirting his first season in school, it was time for him to emerge in 2012 as the next great FSU wide receiver. The hype was incredible as this Seminoles team continued to improve as a whole.
But we quickly found out that just because he was 6-6 and well over 230-pounds, that wouldn’t translate into instant success.
He was unpolished, undisciplined at times, basically he looked like a freshman.
In 2012, Benjamin tallied 30 catches for 495 yards and four touchdowns. While those aren’t numbers to be embarrassed about by any means, if you watched the entirety of the season, there clearly could have been a lot more from this young man. It was to the point that it frustrated you because you knew that he was capable of so much more. With every dropped pass–and there were a lot of them–you cringed just thinking how good he could be.
Well, when 2013 rolled around, whether it was the emergence of Jameis Winston, coaching, or a combination of both–Benjamin matured mightily and announced himself to the college football world as one of the elite receivers in the game.
During the entire march to the National Championship, Benjamin exploded his numbers from his redshirt freshman season. He grabbed 54 balls for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns. He and Winston developed a chemistry like no other tandem in the country, and Benjamin put the entire package together, finally.
Just ask the Florida Gators.
That one play right there is a good example why Benjamin went from one of the more scrutinized players in college football, to now a potential top 10 NFL Draft pick at the upcoming event this May.
But no matter what impact he makes on the next level, it’ll be hard to top the lasting impression that he left on the entire Florida State community.