"I wasn't expecting it. I was actually pretty shocked," said Tyler Bentley after picking up his offer from Florida on Tuesday. "I was actually really excited. I know as a child I really wanted to play at Florida, and my dad was a Florida Gators fan."
The Lakota West defensive tackle even jokes that maybe his dad was a bit more excited about the offer, "he was actually because we was more excited for me, because an offer from a big program like that, thats a big offer for me."
Bentley admits that the offer from UF certainly changes the landscape a bit. The West Chester, Ohio native has been an admirer of the program for quite some time and since plenty to like on the defensive side of the ball.
"Just the way their defense goes after it," he said. "The tenacity that the front four have is great. Seeing these guys do really well and then going to the NFL and then having great careers. I want to be part of that, that is pretty cool."
According to Bentley, he was offered by new Florida offensive line coach Brad Davis, who along with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier had recently visited his high school. Scout's sixth ranked defensive tackle in the midwest was very impressed by both coaches' pedigrees - considering their connections with former Lakota West lineman and current NFL lineman, Ryan Kelly, who also played at Alabama.
"Just coaching a guy, a great person from my high school, and he is playing in the NFL and that is pretty big for me actually," he said.
With the NFL draft soon approaching and the Gators producing several draft picks throughout the years, Bentley is keeping a close eye on the proceeding. He understands the importance of choosing the right program to help you reach your potential and goals.
"It's pretty big to know you can be one of those people," he said. "It helps to have a coach with a great name to help you get there to teach you everything you need to know."
Despite being very familiar with the Florida program since his childhood, he admits he wants to learn more about the academics at the university itself.
"I want to study sports management or nursing," he explained. "Just something to teach people or help people in my life would be pretty big for me."
Bentley has no visits planned, and he expects to break things down with his family at the end of the month before deciding on some destinations. This is a very important step for the defensive lineman since he has seen his stock rise this spring with offers from Wisconsin and Tennessee coming in. According to the standout defender, both the Vols and Kentucky are the schools that remain most in contact.
"Lately University of Kentucky has been saying a lot of positive stuff and saying they really want me on board," he said. "I love Tennessee, I got a great vibe from Tennessee. I really have a good relationship with [defensive line] coach [Brady] Hoke and [head] coach [Butch] Jones. It's real nice and I really enjoy talking to Tennessee."
Bentley is looking forward to his summer visits before firmly trimming his list a bit more and naming any favorites or making any decisions.
"Right now I'm just evaluating," he said. "I really need to see a big thing with academics. See what is going to help me. Am I going to get a real degree or a general studies degree. I'm going to see what I am going to get. Also what is going to happen to me after football, because football doesn't last forever - so how does the alumni base help you out."