With four consecutive nationally televised games to start the season, the Miami Hurricanes spent plenty of time in the spotlight showing off their young talent.
But just as important was the opportunity for them to showcase their trademark hairdos.
After asking 16 players and official team barber Steven Rivera about the best head of hair on the team, it was sophomore wide receiver Travis Benjamin’s long dreads that look the prize.
“It feels good because you have players come up to you and be like, ‘Man, you’ve got to cut your hair so I can have the longest hair on the team,’” the Belle Glade, Fla., native said. “I just sit there and laugh. Everybody wants to have dreads now.”
Benjamin said that he hasn’t cut his hair since the eighth grade, but is considering cutting it next year if an opposing player tackles him by his dreads.
That’s something that has yet to happen in a game, though.
“He’s the only person I’ve seen who doesn’t get pulled by his hair,” sophomore linebacker Sean Spence said. “It’s probably because he’s moving too fast. He also ties it too.”
The wide receiver’s signature dreads are pulled back in a “ponytail” by an orange ACE band. Teammates like sophomore cornerback Brandon Harris take advantage of Benjamin’s promise during practice.
“He says he’ll never cut his hair so we play with it on purpose and grab on it when hanging on,” he said.
So who does Benjamin believe poses the biggest competition to steal his crown?
“Olivier Vernon has a nice mohawk. Every game, every week, he’ll have a different kind of style of mohawk so if I had to do that, I’d get a mohawk,” he said.
On the other hand, Benjamin knows for certain that he would never sample junior running back Graig Cooper’s and freshman safety Vaughn Telemaque’s blonde streaks.
“I guess they think it’s a certain kind of style,” he said. “I won’t ever do blonde.”
While the high-profile position players seem to care more about their hair, others like senior offensive lineman Jason Fox get a kick out of their teammates’ concern.
“I’ll give it to Travis Benjamin because he looks like Jar Jar Binks. If I score that many touchdowns I’ll put a wig on or something,” said Fox, who caught a touchdown on a trick play during the Florida State game last year.
Harris, who has an interception and a league-high 10 pass breakups so far this season, doesn’t mind that it takes some of his teammates 20 minutes to get their hair ready for games.
“I know who’s crazy about his hair the most: Travis. He loves his hair,” he said. “I don’t care what kind of hairdo he has. As long as he keeps performing like he’s performing, it’s fine with me.”
Graig Cooper: 1
Levi Paalua: 1
Ryan Hill: 1
To vote for your favorite football player hairdo, click on “Polls” under the “Extras” tab on The Miami Hurricane’s homepage.