Benn, a sophomore, is in his second year as a starter after breaking Illinois' freshman receiving records in 2007. He was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year while leading the team in receptions and receiving yards. He was also named to multiple Freshman All-America teams. This year, Benn has already been named to watch lists for the Maxwell and Biletnikoff national awards.
Five players on the 2008 watch list - Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis, Florida QB Tim Tebow, Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree, Wisconsin TE Travis Beckum and South Florida DE George Selvie - were named to last year's Walter Camp All-America First Team.
The watch list will be narrowed to 15 semi-finalists in early November. The 2008 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, which is voted on by the 119 NCAA Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, will be announced on the ESPN/Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December. The winner will then receive his trophy at the Foundation's annual national awards banquet on January 10, 2009 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven. Last year's recipient was Arkansas running back and current Oakland Raider Darren McFadden.
Walter Camp, "The Father of American football," first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp - a former Yale University athlete and football coach - is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation ( www.waltercamp.org) - a New Haven-based all-volunteer group - was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team.