Benson rumbles into role

Mykel Benson is no stranger to shocking performances. As a freshman, Benson scored three touchdowns in a victory against North Carolina A&T.

The redshirt senior who switches between fullback and tight end had another breakout performance Saturday, catching fives passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns (all game highs) in the Rattlers’ 34-20 homecoming victory against the Norfolk State Spartans.

“He has great hands,” senior quarterback Curtis Pulley said.  “It’s always good to have that security blanket.”

Benson has the size to bowl over linebackers at 6-0 and a “listed” 240 pounds. Benson also has the grace a speed to get past defensive backs as Saturday’s performance showed.

“I run the route and I know I’m not the number one receiver coming out of the backfield,” Benson said.  “I’m a check-down, but I know I have to be ready just like the wide receivers.”

Benson has 11 receptions for 161 yards this season and is averaging 14.6 yards a catch. While Benson was not a major part of the FAMU’s passing attack before Saturday’s game, he’s ready to become more a factor in the Rattlers’ offense if needed.

“Whatever’s working that’s what we’re going to do,” Benson said.  “If we’re running, I’ll be a blocking threat.  If it’s passing then I’ll use my hands and do whatever I can to get in the endzone and get first downs.”

Receivers Kevin Elliott and Issac West have been Pulley’s main targets this season, but with Elliot drawing double teams and West sitting out the second half with an injury, Benson offered Pulley a reliable security target against Norfolk State.

“He’s my brother,” Benson said about Pulley targeting him.  “We’re going to look out for each other.  He’s going to read the defense and throw it to the open receiver.  He’s not selfish.”

Next up for FAMU, is a trip to Baltimore, Md. to face the Morgan State Bears who are tied with the Rattlers (5-2, 3-1 in the MEAC) for second place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The Bears (5-2, 3-1) lead the nation in pass defense holding opponents to 123.8 yards passing per game. Benson said he is ready to step up again to help the receiving game if called to do so against the Bears.

“Me and Kevin Elliot go back and forth,” Benson said.  “I try and keep him and Issac [West] up when they drop passes.  We joke around about it, who has the best hands on the team, but it’s really no competition. We just try and keep each other up.”