With potential Iowa offer on horizon, West Virginia pledge Charlie Benton has a lot to think about

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa linebackers coach Seth Wallace paid a visit Tuesday to three-star linebacker Charlie Benton of Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.

Butler CC linebacker Charlie Benton celebrates a play during the team's first game this season.

That’s intriguing for two reasons: One, Iowa’s top linebacker target is Benton’s good friend and teammate, Will Honas. Two, Benton has been committed to West Virginia since Oct. 1.

Benton didn't receive a scholarship Tuesday. Wallace told him he was very interested, Benton said, but that Iowa has to wait and see how its current open 2018offers pan out before it would be able to offer him.

If Iowa does eventually offer, Benton said he’d certainly have a decision to make — especially if Honas commits to the Hawkeyes.

"I love playing with Will," said Benton, who wants to sign his letter of intent Dec. 20. "(So) I have that in the back of my head."

Texas Tech also visited Benton on Thursday, he said. Like Iowa, the Red Raiders are in wait-and-see mode in terms of extending an offer.

Benton said Wallace told him he’d know if he could offer him "within a week or two." Iowa, which loses all three of its starting linebackers, has more need at that position than West Virginia, which only graduates one of three 2017 starters.

A 6-foot-4, 215-pound outside linebacker from Opelika, Alabama, Benton finished the season with 69 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries. He is slated to graduate this winter and head to whichever school he picks by spring ball. He’ll have two years of eligibility.

He originally committed to West Virginia over Iowa State on Oct. 1.

"I just like how their defense is," Benton said of the Mountaineers. "They blitz a lot. I just like how he dials up all the crazy blitzed with the 3-3-5."

Benton also said he would enjoy playing in Iowa’s 4-3 defense — the same scheme he runs at Butler.

"With the three down linemen, you’ll have linemen on you quicker than with the four down linemen," he said, "because they take on all the blocks and the linebacker should be free."

Benton played safety in high school before transitioning to linebacker at Butler, and you can certainly tell with his length and speed. He said the position change was challenging at times. But ... 

"It was also kind of easy, because I like to hit."

Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at mbain@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.