Benton a real 'steal' for Auburn

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

My apologies to Auburn fans, and my apologies to DeAngelo Benton.

In the pre-spring SEC power rankings on Monday, I referred to Benton as a junior college receiver when I meant to refer to him as a prep school receiver. He attended Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, and as I've been reminded now by countless Auburn fans, did not spend any time at a junior college.

My bad. I'll make it up by helping to roll Toomer's Corner after Gene Chizik's first big win at Auburn next season.

Anyway, now that we've got that straight, I do think Benton is perhaps the steal of the 2009 signing class.

I say "steal," because nobody really saw Auburn as a player until the very end. Even then, it was a shocker to many that Benton, who's from Bastrop, La., didn't sign with LSU.

He made an impromtu visit to Auburn late in January. New Auburn assistant Trooper Taylor worked his recruiting magic, and Benton saw himself fitting into Gus Malzhan's spread offense and playing for Taylor, who coaches receivers.

But, hey, any offense can use a 6-3, 210-pound receiver who has the hops to go up and get the football over most defensive backs and the speed to run by them. Benton is that kind of athlete, and the Tigers were ecstatic to get him.

Here's something else about Benton: He's hungry.

He signed with LSU on two different occasions, the first time out of high school in 2007 and the second time when he was at Hargrave last year. He failed to qualify academically both times, meaning he doesn't take anything for granted.

The plan is for Benton to be on campus this summer, assuming there are no snags with the NCAA Clearinghouse.

It shouldn't be hard to spot him in the fall, either. He'll be the new guy out there making all the plays, the kind the Tigers didn't make many of last season.