Speedy Benjamin looks to lead Canes to the top

Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali once said, “I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”

Justin Gatlin, an Olympic 100-meter champion, once said, “Rain, sleet, snow? It doesn’t matter. I’m going to come out blazing.”

Superman was able to move at amazing speed. More than once he was described as “faster than a speeding bullet.”

So, where does that leave freshman Travis Benjamin?

Benjamin ran a team best 4.26 in the forty-yard dash, the best ever for a freshman.

“My strength is my speed,” a humble Benjamin said. “[I have] the ability to make people miss in the open, and when I’m in a crowd, I can get out of it.”

Benjamin grew up in Belle Glade, spending his entire childhood focusing on football.

Whenever he got a chance, he and his brother would go down to the local field and play ball. Anything that had to do with football, Benjamin was there.

“Belle Glade is a big football town,” Benjamin said. “We played football everyday. The first thing we did when we came home from school was play football and do homework later on. It was all football.”

Even though he has an enormous amount of love and pride for his hometown, Benjamin knows Belle Glade is taking a huge economic hit. Benjamin wants to be able to support his family and his two-year-old daughter.

“My ideal goal is to get my family out of our town,” Benjamin said. “Our town is going through rough things. They are cutting out jobs, and people don’t have anywhere to stay. I know people who go two to three hours to their jobs. I just want them to live well.”

To meet his goal, Benjamin is taking advantage of his opportunity at Miami.

Currently, Benjamin leads the ACC and ranks 10th nationally in kick return average (29.9), while ranking second in the league and 11th nationally in punt return average (17.7).

This young man is has seen a vast amount of playing time, especially on special teams.

Against rival Florida State, Benjamin combined for 274 all-purpose yards and scored twice

His flashy play has catalyzed comparisons to former Hurricanes such as Santana Moss and Devin Hester, players Benjamin idolizes.

“They are great players,” Benjamin stated. “They came from Miami, and I grew up watching them. I believe I’ve got the same things they’ve got. My favorite thing is scoring touchdowns and helping the people around me succeed.”

However, even with his extraordinary play on the field, Benjamin is one of the most silent players off it.

“Travis is one of the quietest guys ever,” head coach Randy Shannon laughed. “Out of an hour of conversation you may get 12 words out of him.”

But that doesn’t stop him from helping his team to the best of his ability.

Whenever the Hurricanes are in a bind, Benjamin wants to come through in the clutch. His goal is to see the Canes at the top of the ACC, and more importantly, No. 1 in the nation.

“I want to help my team be No. 1,” Benjamin said. “I know I can’t let my team down.”

Despite knowing of all the legendary players that have suited up for the Hurricanes, Benjamin has one thought in mind: “I want to be the greatest player to come through here.”

He certainly has the quicks and potential to become great, because this rabbit knows: blistering speed kills.

October 8, 2008


Lelan LeDoux

Senior Sports Writer

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