Big-Play Benjamin

It's time to start focusing energy on the '12 football prospects and 6-foot-5 wide receiver Dwayne Benjamin (Northside High School) is among the most talented players in Louisiana's crop of juniors.

As usual, the Northside Vikings made their customary deep playoff run in 2010 and junior WR Dwayne Benjamin played a giant role in his team's success.

At 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, Benjamin created instant mismatches versus undersized corners, as evidenced by his gaudy statistics: 45 receptions, 927 yards (almost 21 yards per catch), and 14 touchdowns.

The junior turned it up an extra notch whenever the stakes were high, catching three touchdown passes vs. La. Highway 94 (and district) rival Breaux Bridge and hauling in two crucial receptions in a come-from-behind second-round playoff win over Parkway.

"I caught a 59-yard touchdown pass against Parkway and a 56-yarder that helped put us in scoring position," said Benjamin, who was -- check this out -- playing at only 75% in that game due to a hyperextended knee (which is now completely healed). "I took a couple of weeks off after football season to get healthy for basketball. I'm averaging 10 points coming off the bench for our basketball team, which is 19-2. Our only losses were to St. Martinville and Glen Oaks."

Does Benjamin favor football, basketball, or track?

"I like football the best," he said. "I compete in the high jump, the triple jump, and the long jump in track. I transferred to Northside a year ago from Port Arthur Memorial, which is where Jamaal Charles (University of Texas, Kansas City Chiefs) went to school.

"I compare myself to Dez Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, or any big-play receiver...maybe a more explosive Randy Moss. I've run a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, but I don't know my vertical. It's up there, though."

Yes, Benjamin certainly has the hops, as was demonstrated repeatedly last fall when he would routinely sky up to bring down the difficult catch in double-coverage.

The Class 4A all-state performer is receiving early interest from several state schools, incluing Louisiana Tech, UL, Grambling State, Southern, Southeastern, and McNeese State.

"They're all telling me to continue lifting weights and get stronger, and that they'll be watching me. They want me to come to their camps this summer.

"LSU is a team I wouldn't mind hearing from...and I like any team that throws the ball a lot."

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