Focus on: Benson Mayowa

Posted Jul 31, 2013

For a pass-rusher who started out as “The kid from Idaho,” injuries are allowing Benson Mayowa to get first-team reps at the Seahawks training camp and make a name for himself.

Benson Mayowa has come a long way since being signed by the Seahawks after he participated in their rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.

After those three days in May, coach Pete Carroll was asked if there had been any surprises. “Yeah, the kid from Idaho did a nice job,” he said.

Tuesday, when asked about that and Mayowa’s most-recent efforts, Carroll cracked, “Right now, I know his first name is Benson.”

The 6-foot-3, 252-pound Mayowa has been making a name for himself during the first week of training camp practices. He is getting reps at the Leo end spot in the No. 1 defense because sack leader Chris Clemons is completing his rehab from knee surgery, free-agent addition Cliff Avril is out with a sore hamstring and Bruce Irvin, last year’s first-round draft choice, also is working at strong-side linebacker.

And Mayowa isn’t just playing the hybrid position, he’s making plays.

“He’s done a really cool job in this camp,” Carroll said. “He’s shown an unusual knack rushing the passer. So far, he’s been very impressive. We don’t know what that means at this point, we haven’t gotten him in enough live situations. But every day he’s made a play of some sort to gain some recognition. So we’re kind of hopeful to see what that means.

“He’s in the body type where he’s just 240 pounds, but real fast, kind of lean. He has shown special pass- rush ability.”

Yes, Mayowa has come a long way since participating in a regional combine at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in March, which got him the invitation to the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp. Did he ever think then that he’d be spending his summer getting first-unit snaps with a defense that last season allowed the fewest points in the NFL and ranked a franchise-best No. 4 in average yards allowed?

“Oh no, no, no, no, no, no,” Mayowa said after Wednesday’s practice, and a stint at the kid autograph table. “Man, I didn’t envision any of this.

“But when you work hard, it pays off. When you grind, people start noticing what you’re doing. I come out here and give 100 percent every day. So I’m starting to get noticed.”

He’s also noticed the obvious difference between working against the offensive tackles he faced while playing at Idaho and those he’s lining up across from in camp – starting with Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung and also including starting right tackle Breno Giacomini as well as the rookie tandem of 332-pound Michael Bowie and 320-pound Alvin Bailey.

“Me coming from Idaho and me not being a big name, when I get in there I have to go hard,” Mayowa said. “I come to practice with the attitude of working. But these guys are huge. It’s hard taking on those blocks, so I’ve got to keep working.”

And making a name for himself. Next goal: Getting to the point where Pete Carroll knows his full name.