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Run, Trey, Run! Benson Embracing Inner 'Forrest Gump'

Rookie became good friends with Michael Carter two months before draft

Rookie running back Trey Benson runs with the ball during an OTA this week.
Rookie running back Trey Benson runs with the ball during an OTA this week.

The iconic film "Forrest Gump" was released in 1994, eight years before Trey Benson was born.

But in an echo to a famous line from the film, when the running back sprinted with the ball downfield while playing at Florida State, only one thing was on his mind: Run, Trey, Run!

"Don't get caught and don't let anybody touch you," Benson said. "Once I get to the second level, my teammates used to call me Forrest Gump. Don't get caught, just run. Hit your head on the goal post."

A third-round pick of the Cardinals, Benson should fit in well to a room that morphed into the driving force of the offense late last season. James Conner finished the 2023 season with his first 1,000-yard season.

Similar to Conner, Benson is a violent runner that doesn't shy away from contact. According to CBS Sports, on 316 collegiate carriers, Benson had a 39.2-percent forced missed tackle rate.

If the Cardinals needed more speed and shiftiness, Michael Carter was the mid-season addition to carry the ball. Benson ran a 4.39 in his 40-yard dash and had back-to-back seasons of 900-plus yards.

"(Trey) has got a good combination of size and speed, and he works hard," Carter said. "When you mesh them together, it creates a good player. Now it's about learning the ropes of being elite which we're going to help him with."

Coach Jonathan Gannon and offensive coordinator Drew Petzing have referred to Benson as an explosive back with fast feet and a quickness that provides the offense with "home run ability."

While Benson is beginning to develop the on-field chemistry with the offense, Carter's connection began even before the draft.

During a seven-on-seven tournament in Florida two months before the draft, Benson introduced himself to Carter. The relationship was instant.

"Once I met him, we just automatically clicked," Benson said. "We were laughing, and you would've thought we'd known each other for years."

Carter, recalling the memory of their first interaction, said "we already recognized each other's game."

On the second day of the draft, after it was announced that Benson was a Cardinal, Carter was the first person to FaceTime his new friend.

"When I saw it, I was like 'Oh shoot, my boy,'" Carter said. "He knows anything he needs while he's here or away, I got him."

While rookies need time to acclimate to the NFL, Benson has a good support group in the fellow backs. "I know Michael Carter will make me better than I am right now. Him, James Conner, and all of the other guys in the running back room," Benson said.

His relationship with position coach Autry Denson has also grown in a short amount of time, adding that Denson "let's me be myself."

The NFL Draft may be like a box of chocolates, but Benson now knows what he got.

"I knew (getting drafted) was going to happen, I just didn't know when," Benson said. "I've come a long way these past couple of years."

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