Kelvin Benjamin grew up chasing down rabbits and grabbing them with his bare hands in an effort to build his speed and obtain his dinner.
The big wide receiver from Florida State is from Belle Glade, Fla., an impoverished community and a football hotbed informally known as Muck City because of its rich, dark soil and sugarcane fields.
“Everybody chased rabbits,” Benjamin said Friday at the NFL scouting combine. “They were good to eat. They’re really good if you’ve never had them before, but that also helps you with speed and agility and stuff like that.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder is one of the biggest wide receivers to enter the NFL since Detroit Lions star Calvin Johnson. He has a 34 7/8-inch wingspan and 10 1/4-inch hands.
Benjamin says he plans to run the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds at the NFL scouting combine and has only 4 percent body fat.
Benjamin caught 54 passes for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore last season, including the game-winning touchdown against Auburn in the BCS national title game.
“I just try to be physical, dominate at the highest point,” Benjamin said. “I try to play small and let my size take care of the rest.
"I watch a lot of receivers. I don’t just watch the big guys, I try to watch the little guys, too. You watch the smaller guys to imitate their quickness off the line."
Benjamin has an official meeting with the Ravens, who have made it clear that they're looking for a wide receiver to complement former Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith.
There are some question marks about Benjamin's maturity and work ethic, but he's hoping to ease concerns with teams during interviews this week and emphasized that he's matured.
"Just growing up and being a man, I’ve learned to do the things you have to do to be a man," Benjamin said. "Before, I was basically just being a kid, doing kid things, not putting in the work you need to put in to be a great receiver."
The Ravens have had meetings with Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin, Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (DeMatha Catholic) and Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses.
"I'd love to play for the Ravens," Kouandjio said. "I had a great meeting with them, I really enjoyed talking with them."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun