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What to expect from defensive leader Al-Rasheed Benton in 2017

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The Mountaineers have a talented, vocal leader starting at linebacker this season. Al-Rasheed Benton could be a star for the West Virginia defense.

Kansas State v West Virginia Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The 2017 Mountaineer football profile series continues with defensive players this week. Al-Rasheed Benton looks to be a senior leader for the Mountaineer defense this season. With both his vocal presence and his play making ability, Benton could be a huge asset for West Virginia at the linebacker position.

Al-Rasheed Benton, LB, #3

Year: Senior (Redshirt)

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 237

Hometown: Newark, NJ

High School: Malcolm X Shabazz High School

How he got to Morgantown

Benton was recruited by Mountaineer coach Jake Spavital. He was offered many scholarships from schools such as Maryland, Penn State, Pitt, and Syracuse, but chose to play college football for the Mountaineers. Benton has been improving every year since then.

Benton began making his mark during his sophomore season. He had over 20 tackles in just six games that year. Benton continued to improve during his junior campaign. He played in every game and contributed to 80 tackles. He also had an interception and a fumble recovery. Benton’s disrupting presence was a huge lift for the Mountaineers in 2016, as he was one of the team's leading tacklers. With all of that experience, the 2017 season will likely be the best of Benton’s career.

Career Highlight

A career highlight for Benton would be his lone career interception. He made the interception against Youngstown State last season and it was the only interception forced by the Mountaineer defense that day. Another game that stands out in Benton’s career is last year’s game against Oklahoma. Benton led the team with 14 tackles that game, which was also the highest number of tackles in a game the whole season for the Mountaineers.

2017 Prospectus

Benton had the most tackles last season out of all of the returning WVU players. This means he should be expected to be a dominant playmaker for the Mountaineer defense this season. The linebackers for the Mountaineers should be a key part of the defense, because of the talent and experience that the three starters bring. Benton’s vocal leadership and physical presence could be the key for a successful season on the defensive side of the ball.

Creating more turnovers could also be a way in which Benton could contribute. Last season Benton showed that he can create turnovers, with an interception and a fumble recovery. If he can improve on this part of his game, Benton could not only be a big name in the Big 12 Conference, but also throughout the nation.

Dream Season

A dream season for Benton would likely include the Mountaineer defense giving up a minimal amount of points and helping the team win games. Benton would be a key part of this, because of his leadership on the defense. Personally, Benton’s dream season would include contributing to over 100 tackles. A dream season for him could also mean creating more turnovers, possibly resulting in points. Benton could also conclude his senior season with Big 12 honors, as well as national attention to help him get to the next level once he has concluded his career at West Virginia.

Up Next

The 2017 Mountaineer profile series will continue to feature defensive players throughout the week.