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Duke's David Cutcliffe: 'Kelvin Benjamin is just a monster'


Quarterback Jameis Winston receives the bulk of attention on top-ranked Florida State's high-powered offense.

That's not surprising. Winston is supremely talented, and when a team averages 53.7 points and 526.1 yards per game, the quarterback generally receives the lion's share of the credit. But don't overlook the Seminoles' deep and talented group of receivers.

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FSU doesn't have a clear-cut go-to guy in the mold of Clemson's Sammy Watkins, Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews or Penn State's Allen Robinson. But three FSU players have at least 800 receiving yards, and the Seminoles are the only FBS team in the nation that can make that claim. In addition, it's the first time FSU has had an 800-yard receiver since 2003.

Junior Rashad Greene (6-foot, 180 pounds) leads FSU in receptions (61) and receiving yards (914). He also has nine TD catches, giving him 22 in his 35-game career. Senior Kenny Shaw (6-0, 170) has 48 receptions for 855 yards and five TDs. And redshirt sophomore Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 234) has 45 catches for 838 yards and an ACC-high 12 TDs. Junior tight end Nick O'Leary (6-3, 248) also is a weapon, with 30 receptions for 509 yards and seven scores. The potential exists that all four will leave after this season, though there has been much less talk about O'Leary leaving early than Greene or Benjamin.

That quartet will test its wares Saturday against Duke in the ACC championship game.

"They're all good," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said during Sunday's ACC championship game teleconference. "They've got size and speed. They've got quickness. All of them catch the ball extremely well."

Cutcliffe seemed especially worried about Benjamin.

"We don't have anybody that can line up and match up physically with Benjamin," he said. "He's just a monster, and with great skills."

Benjamin, who has been clocked as fast as 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is a third-year sophomore who was a consensus national top-100 prospect in the 2011 recruiting class out of Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central. He redshirted as a freshman, then made 30 catches last season. But his focus and work ethic were rebuked, and there were times this season when he didn't seem to be going all out.

But he has seven TD catches in his past four games, highlighted by his performance last Saturday in a rout of Florida: nine catches, 212 yards, three TDs. Florida is not a good team, but it has an extremely talented secondary that could not handle Benjamin. He had more receiving yards than eight teams -- including LSU and Miami -- managed against Florida this season. And the Gators had allowed just six TD passes before coming up against Benjamin.

What also has to worry Cutcliffe is that Duke has been spotty against the pass this season. Pitt, Troy and Miami torched the Blue Devils through the air; those three teams threw for 1,165 yards, 10 TDs and two interceptions. Duke runs a 4-2-5 set and starts fifth-year seniors at each cornerback spot. But all three starting safeties are underclassmen, including two freshmen.

"They're very difficult to match up with," Cutcliffe said of FSU's receivers. "They cause everyone problems in that regard. ... We'll be working all week on that answer."

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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