|6 DaShawn Benton|
A physical and punishing member of the secondary who will be counted on to play a more defined role as a junior after serving as a reserve and special teams contributor during his first two active seasons on the roster … Primarily manned the cornerback slots as a freshman and sophomore, but was moved to safety on a full-time basis during the spring … Will open third campaign penciled in as a top backup behind Terrell Richardson at strong safety, but coaching staff expects competitive battle for starting job could emerge during preseason camp … Could also continue handling key coverage responsibilities on both kickoff and punt squads as well (depending on role in defensive unit) … In all, has played in 22 career games with 24 tackles (19 solo) … Half (12) of credited hits have come on special teams (11 kickoff return, 1 punt return) … Logged four stops in each of the first two scrimmages (March 28, April 11) … Made one tackle and knocked down a pass during the Purple-Gold Game on April 18 … Turned in one of the top back squats among all defensive backs during spring strength and conditioning testing with an effort of 480 pounds … Three-cone agility drill time of 6.79 also ranked among positional leaders.
2014: Appeared in 11 of 12 games (DNP vs. South Carolina and Florida) ... Tallied 14 tackles (11 solo) with one resulting in lost yardage (-3 yards vs. Temple in third quarter) ... Recorded at least one tackle in nine of 11 games played (multiple twice) with a career-high five against SMU ... Also had a pair of stops at USF ... Credited with one pass breakup (SMU) ... Had string of eight-straight games with at least one tackle snapped in the Pirates’ season finale against UCF at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium ... Four of his 14 tackles came on special teams (all on kickoff unit) ... Experienced extensive action in the Pirates’ secondary in a reserve role as well ... Did not record any statistics against Virginia Tech or UCF.
2013: Experienced action in 11 games as a member of special teams unit and as a backup in the Pirate secondary ... Booked 10 tackles (eight solo) ... Ranked fourth on the squad with eight special teams stops (seven on kickoff returns, one on punt returns) ... Posted multiple stops on three occasions, with a season-best three (all solo) at NC State ... Added a pair of tackles (both solo) in a regular season matchup vs. Tulsa at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and again vs. Ohio during the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl … Credited with lone pass breakup against UAB ... Nine of 10 stops came in the last five contests ... Had single tackle totals against Southern Miss, UAB and Marshall.
High School: A two-way player at Grady High School, starting in the secondary on defense and as a wide receiver on offense ... A prime contributor to a Knights team that produced a 9-4 overall record and a 4-1 league ledger under the direction of Ronnie Miller ... Rated as a three-star prospect and among the top 65 cornerbacks nationally by Scout.com as a senior ... Earned second-team all-state honors as a pass catcher in 2012 ... Had 25 receptions for 870 yards and eight touchdowns ... On the defensive side of the ball, registered 61 stops (37 solo), forced three fumbles, picked off four passes and recorded six pass deflections ... Also had special teams role, returning a pair of punts for 78 yards ... Recovered a pair of fumbles during second round playoff action against Monroe Area, returning last pick-up 80 yards for a touchdown ... Made 12 catches for 560 yards and eight TDs as a junior … Credited with 39 stops and one forced fumble in 2011 … Participated in the IMG Madden 7v7 Combine ... Also considered Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana and Mississippi State.
Personal: Full name is DaShawn O’Neal Benton … Born January 29, 1994 at Atlanta, Ga. … Brothers Joseph Benton and Isaiah Wilson both played football at the prep level … Hobbies include music and working out … Major is recreation and park management.