Richard Benjamin, Tampa Bay Tech, photo, lousiville

Ex-UCF commit Richard Benjamin of Tampa Bay Tech, had three interceptions in the FACA North-South All-Star Game in Sebring. He called out the third one just before picking off the pass. Benjamin will play at Louisville next year. (CHRIS HAYS/ORLANDO SENTINEL / December 19, 2012)

It was the kind of thing from which legends are born.

And even though it happened at a high school football all-star game somewhere deep in the middle of the Florida plains, what Richard Benjamin Jr., did Wednesday night must be somehow etched into historical reference.

Who knows, the former UCF commit could become a big-time star one day, but on this one night at the FACA North-South All-Star Game in Sebring, Benjamin was certainly the star of Firemen’s Field.

The Tampa Bay Tech wide receiver/defensive back, who committed to Louisville last week, played cornerback all night for the South team and he wreaked havoc when North receivers crossed his path. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound athlete picked off three passes en route to being named the South team MVP, but it was the final interception that will go down in FACA lore.

There were only a few sideline witnesses, this reporter included, who heard his chatter, but right before his last theft, he told Warner Christian receiver Bentlee Critcher, “You’re going to run this wheel route and I’m going to step up and take the ball away from you. You watch. You’re gonna see. I’m going to get this pick.”

And then, just like he had forecasted, North quarterback Sandon Mims locked in on Crticher’s curl pattern and lofted a bit of a fluttering ball toward Critcher, and Benjmain, lying in wait like a cat ready to pounce, jumped the route as if he’d written the script himself. He even nearly took the pick for six until he was drug down about 40 yards later by North chasers.

“I kinda figured they were going to that route. It was three on two over there and they tried to high-low me coming up top on the low route,” Benjamin said of the triple receivers loaded to his side of the cover-two zone. “I just kind of sat back in between one of the two high routes and the low route and once he threw the ball I was just able to jump the route.”

“I was saying I wanted to get three picks. It was pretty surprising to just say it and it happens. It was like a once in a lifetime thing. … just for me to get blessed like that I thank God. To be able to call it out and then it happened … I was pretty happy about it.”

He would have liked to have taken the interception back all the way for the touchdown, but things got confusing during the return.

“It was kinda crazy,” he said. “I saw people running and I was just trying to keep going but then I couldn’t even tell who was on my team and who wasn’t. Bodies were all over.”

When Benjamin committed to UCF this past summer, it was a big score for the Knights, but it only lasted about a month before he opened things back up to all suitors.

“I was very close to going there, but I just thought about it and wanted to revaluate things,” Benjamin said. “I always kept them [UCF] in my top, but this is a business and I just had to go with it the way I saw was best for me.”

Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at chays@tribune.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.