It took receiver DeAngelo Benton 10 games to notch his first collegiate catch. That might be all it takes to get the former five-star recruit going.
Benton had six catches for 88 yards against admittedly sub-par opposition in Furman last week, but it was a confidence boost nonetheless for the soon-to-be 22-year-old freshman.
“DeAngelo is totally different now,” wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor said. “I mean, guys, it’s like he dropped 100 pounds off his back, because he is totally different. Just the smile on his face. He was frustrated.”
Benton missed two years while trying to qualify for college, going to Hargrave Military Academy one year before returning to his hometown of Bastrop, La., the next. The rust was considerable.
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“It was kind of hard on this type of level, the competition, the SEC,” Benton said. “You have to be extremely ready to play on this level.”
Darvin Adams, Auburn’s leading receiver, has helped bring him along, so much so that Benton jokingly calls the 19-year-old sophomore his “big, little brother.”
Taylor thinks last Saturday’s game is the first sign that Benton is starting to realize his potential.
“I told him the worst compliment we could have is potential,” Taylor said. “That means you haven’t done it yet. If you want to make him mad, say ‘D-Lo, you’ve got a lot of potential’ and watch his face. Do it from a couple feet away. I learned that myself. He has a lot of pride.
“I told you guys before, he’s what you’re looking for. He will rewrite the books before we leave here. I’ve been around some special ones, and he’s got it.”