1. Benjamin is big. Really big.
We'll get this one out of the way first -- at 6'5, 234 pounds, Kelvin Benjamin is a matchup problem for defensive coordinators, with unique size most corners are not equipped to handle and speed most safeties can't match.
Like it has most of the season, that could prove to be a factor on Monday night -- the four members of Auburn's starting defensive backfield are all listed as shorter than 6'0, and none have listed weights of over 200 pounds. At minimum, whoever draws the assignment of covering Benjamin will be giving up half a foot in height, not to mention nearly 35 pounds, making plays like this possible.
2. He's always known he's this good.
Benjamin was a heralded four-star recruit with SEC offers. And as detailed in Muck City, Bryan Mealer's book about Benjamin's high school team in hard-life Belle Glade, Florida, the big speedster found a way to break out of a tough environment and in a crowded state of prospects thanks to his talent:
After KB's junior season, there had been a rush to secure an early commitment. Alabama head coach Nick Saban had personally visited Benjamin at Glades Central just months after the Crimson Tide won the national championship. The coach had seen KB's highlights and told him he had the build and style of Julio Jones, the Tide's standout receiver.
"He was down-to-earth," Benjamin said of Saban, whom Forbes once called "The Most Powerful Coach in Sports." "I didn't really know who he was."
But by senior year, Benjamin had narrowed his choice down to the University of Florida and Florida State. Both programs had already hosted him at summer camps and tournaments and each felt it had a shot.
"[A Florida coach] called me last night," KB said one day at practice. "Said I'd be a threat on their team and get them to the national championship. Said I'm not like a regular receiver with the height and speed I got. It's not all hype. I know it's true."
3. He is getting better. Rapidly.
Benjamin was already significantly older than most of his high school competition as a recruit, which meant there was some worry about how good he might be at the college level. He redshirted in 2011, and began to flash some promise in 2012, his redshirt freshman season, but there were still question marks, particularly about his effort and his polish. Tomahawk Nation has more in a 2013 season preview and scouting report of Benjamin:
Unfortunately, even in the Clemson game, it was clear Benjamin might have some bad habits. Chief among them is playing small. Instead of running through routes, he has a propensity to turn, backpedal and look for the ball (gif below). This is the worst way to go about using a huge size advantage.
Benjamin also suffered from lapses in concentration and intensity at times. Sometimes he wouldn't run his routes hard. Other times, he would run the incorrect route, or not run the route to the correct depth (taking seven steps instead of ten, etc.). The extent of the lapses is perhaps overstated by some, but there's no doubt that a 6'6 player not running hard will draw the attention and ire of fans who expect so much more. The hope is that with increased maturity, Benjamin will become more consistent in doing the little things that will allow him to make the big plays.
To his credit, he has absolutely erased those concerns with his production this year, already becoming twice the player he was a season ago. That is actually not hyperbole -- Benjamin basically doubled his numbers from 2012, going from a line of 30 catches, 495 yards and four touchdowns to one of 50 catches, 957 yards and 14 scores, with Monday's BCS Championship Game still remaining.
In an interview with Tomahawk Nation, Benjamin attributed his growth to increased maturity, and on Monday, the Seminoles will have one more chance to reap the benefits.