November 12, 2009

Freshman wide receiver breaks through

The rising popularity of recruiting makes stars out of many players before they even step onto a college campus. But when those athletes fail to immediately live up to the hype, those high expectations can sometimes become a curse.

Wide receiver DeAngelo Benton was one of the stars of Auburn's 2009 class, spurning LSU on National Signing Day. Many expected Benton's impressive combination of size, speed and athleticism to bring a big-play dimension to Auburn's offense this fall, one it's been lacking for the last several years.

But for the first nine games Benton failed to register one catch.

While Benton admits to being a little frustrated with his start, especially a couple of dropped passes, he never let the pressure or the failure to meet those early expectations keep him down.

"About all the hype, me coming in, that didn't really get to me," Benton said. "I just came in to work hard and don't let all the hype get me up. I just stayed focused and stayed on my path in trying to be successful.

"…I went through a lot getting here so it wasn't a time for me to quit. I had all my family and friends behind me so I couldn't let them down."

Benton finally broke through last Saturday against Furman catching six passes for 88 yards. Receivers coach Trooper Taylor said the game was a big boost to Benton's confidence.

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