|6 DaShawn Benton|
A physical and punishing, yet versatile member of the secondary who offers the Pirates quality depth at a multitude of positions in the defensive backfield … Should experience action, perhaps even be in the mix for a starting position at either the cornerback, nickelback or strong safety slots ... Primarily manned the corner positions as a freshman and sophomore, but was moved to safety on a full-time basis during the spring of 2015 and developed into a full-time starter over final half of the season … Could also continue handling key coverage responsibilities on both kickoff and punt squads as well for the fourth-straight year (depending on role in defensive unit) … In all, has played in 29 career games, made six starts and logged 52 tackles (36 solo) along with two interceptions and four pass breakups … Thirteen (13) of credited hits have come on special teams (12 kickoff return, 1 punt return) … Posted multiple tackle totals on 10 occasions …Did not record any stops during pair of scrimmages (April 9, April 16) under new coaching staff … Owns one of the top back squats among all defensive backs with an effort of 485 pounds … Three-cone agility drill time of 6.70 and flexing rating of 15 also ranked among top 10 percent of position group and earned “Elite Pirate” designation … Other spring strength and conditioning testing numbers of note was a 335-pound bench press, a 294-pound power clean, a push jerk of 282, a 34” vertical jump and a pro shuttle clip of 4.09.
2015: Was pressed into action prior to the BYU contest because of personnel depletions (injuries), thus voiding an intended redshirt season … Sat out first five games (Towson, Florida, Navy, Virginia Tech and SMU), but returned to secondary for the last seven contests – starting the final six …Credited with 28 tackles (17 solo), one TFL (USF), one forced fumble (Connecticut), two pass breakups (Tulsa, USF) and a pair of interceptions … Returned initial pick 32 yards for a touchdown during first-quarter action at Connecticut and added second pass theft in season finale against Cincinnati (no return) at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium … Collected at least one stop in all seven games and four or more in five tilts, including a personal-best seven (six solo) vs. the Huskies … Booked six hits against Golden Hurricane in first career start, five vs. Bulls and four each against Knights and Bearcats … Contributed single tallies at BYU and against Temple … Averaged 5.0 tackles per game over last four outings of season.
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 season-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) during true freshman campaign ... 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.