Army's Ted Bentler wanted more

Ted Bentler has always been been interested in the military. That's why he decided to read a book called Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point earlier this year. The book changed Bentler's life. It isn't the main reason why Bentler chose West Point, but it played a pretty big part. Ted Bentler isn't your ordinary incoming Army freshman.

He played in seven games at defensive tackle for the University of Iowa last year, including the Outback Bowl against Florida.

"Ted wanted something more in life," says Bentler's father, Tom. "He was thinking long-term. I think he almost felt like he was missing something, so he decided to give it a shot." Bentler made a huge sacrifice in coming to West Point. He was a student at Iowa for two years. But transfers are rare at West Point because the Academy doesn't generally accept credits from other institutions.

However, place-kicker Jared Nielson transferred from the University of Nebraska to Army last year. Nielson served as Nebraska's second-string kicker in 2004. He is listed as second on the Black Knights' depth chart behind Justin Koenig. "It takes a high-character individual to make the decision that Ted Bentler made, to start out as a freshman in order to serve your country," Army coach Bobby Ross says. "Ted just likes the style of structured life. He appears to be very excited about the opportunity to be here and already has taken a leadership role in his cadet company from what I understand."

Iowa and Iowa State offered Bentler full rides when he was a sophomore at Assumption High in Iowa. He chose Iowa, which is located about an hour away from the Bentler's home in Bettendorf. Bentler, who is 6-foot-2, 280 pounds, had four tackles as a red-shirt freshman for Iowa last season and was considered a fast-rising prospect after a strong showing this past spring. He's been listed second on Iowa's depth chart at defensive tackle and defensive end. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz moved him to the offensive line during the spring and Bentler ran with the second group.

"Ted is a good, solid football player," Army coach Bobby Ross says. "We've seen him on film and are very impressed with what he did at Iowa." As per NCAA transfer rules, Bentler will sit out this season, but retains two years of football eligibility. Before he graduates, it could be the Bentler Bunch at West Point.

His brother, Fritz, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end, is an incoming freshman from Assumption. Tom Bentler said his other son, Matt, is also considering Army.

Matt Bentler has already received an offer from Stanford. Let's hope he reads Absolutely American too.


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