Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cowboys sign JUCO QB

Robert Benjamin

by Wyoming

To no one’s surprise, new Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen went on the offensive during the second day that midyear junior college players could sign national letters of intent.

Christensen, known for outstanding offenses as offensive coordinator at Missouri, announced the signing of quarterback Robert Benjamin from Phoenix College in Phoenix, Ariz. Benjamin will join the Wyoming football program for the 2009 spring semester that begins in January. He will be a junior when the 2009 season begins.

Benjamin was the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region I Offensive Player of the Year this past season. In addition to being the Region I Offensive Player of the Year, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Benjamin was an Honorable Mention NJCAA All-American. He was one of only eight junior college quarterbacks nationally to earn All-America honors from the NJCAA this season.

“Robert was an academic predictor coming out of high school and was eligible to go the Division I route right out of high school, but he chose to go to junior college,” said Christensen in a release. “He has developed a lot as a player the last couple of seasons. He had an outstanding sophomore season, and led Phoenix to their first bowl game in over 20 years.

“Robert is a tremendous athlete, and a great person. He is a good student, and he brings a variety of skills to the quarterback position -- skills that you look for when you’re running a spread offense like we run. He ran the spread offense at Phoenix College, and was very athletic in doing it. He is a good thrower, and has good throwing mechanics.”

Benjamin completed 192 of 355 passes (54.1 percent) for 2,391 yards, 25 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also ran for 468 yards for 2,859 yards of total offense.
He led Phoenix College to a No. 12 ranking in the final 2008 NJCAA National Poll. Phoenix posted a 7-4 record and a 6-2 mark in the Western States Football League, placing it second behind Snow College. Snow College ended the season ranked No. 2 in the nation. Phoenix earned a berth in the Valley of the Sun Bowl to conclude the season, marking the first bowl appearance for the Bears since 1986.

Phoenix College entered the Valley of the Sun Bowl ranked No. 8 in the nation. In that game, Benjamin completed 21 of 40 passes (52.5 percent) for 237 yards and threw three TD passes. He also carried the ball five times for 21 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown scamper, as he accounted for 258 yards of total offense in a 39-38 loss to then No. 4 ranked Harper Community College of Illinois.

Heading into its bowl game, Phoenix College was ranked No. 11 in the nation in total offense (381.1 yards per game), was also No. 11 in passing offense (224.9 ypg) and ranked No. 22 in rushing offense (156.2 ypg). Individually, Benjamin was ranked No. 6 in the nation in total offense (257.3 ypg), and was No. 7 in passing (212.6 ypg).

He played for head coach Land Jacobsen at Phoenix College. The sophomore prepped at South Mountain High School in Phoenix. Coming out of junior college, Benjamin was also recruited by Utah and Idaho.

This is the only midyear junior college player that Wyoming will sign during the midyear JC signing period that runs from Dec. 17, 2008, to Jan. 15, 2009

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