October 29, 2012

Benjamin eyes visits

Hollywood (Fla.) McArthur inside linebacker Jeremiah Benjamin plans to begin scheduling official visits to Florida International, Marshall, Texas A&M, Wake Forest and West Virginia in the next three weeks.

"My recruitment has pretty much calmed down," Benjamin said. "I have like my top five schools [West Virginia, FIU, Marshall, Wake Forest and Texas A&M]."

"The two schools that stand out the most are … it's pretty much even, but the two would be FIU and Marshall."

Benjamin has not been able to take any visits, so he bases his feelings about those schools on the strong relationships he has with their coaches.

"The Marshall staff, my recruiter, Coach [Todd] Hartley, he's from down here and we can relate on a lot of things," Benjamin said.

The 6-foot-2 and 225-pound Sunshine State prospect added he has a great relationship with FIU head coach Mario Cristobal and assistant head coach and offensive line coach Alex Mirabal.

"I have been to the [FIU] campus a few times. I haven't taken any officials yet, but I like the program and everything FIU has to offer."

He lives about a half hour drive away from FIU.

"I can see the pros for having a college that's so close to home, but as far as being so close to home it doesn't really affect my recruitment," Benjamin said.

Benjamin, who is rated as a three-star recruit, the nation's No. 35 inside linebacker and the No. 97 overall prospect in Florida, is impressed by the number of players Wake Forest has brought in from the Sunshine State, and said it is a good football program.

"If I choose Wake Forest that will be a big factor, because just fitting in and being with the Florida family I think will be easier just because of all the people from South Florida," Benjamin said.

Derrick Jackson is Benjamin's primary recruiter for the Demon Deacons.

"He's a funny guy," Benjamin said. "He likes to joke around and make me comfortable and get me to open up. We have a really good relationship."

Benjamin said he will not choose a school until he takes two to three of his official visits, and added he may even wait till National Signing Day to make his announcement.

He wants to find the program that puts him in the best position to succeed on and off the football field and to reach the next level.

"West Virginia, Marshall and FIU are pretty much recruiting me to be like a hybrid linebacker/safety," Benjamin said. "Texas A&M [and] Wake Forest they're more just like outside linebacker."

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