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Panther joins Cyclones as walk-on

Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014 3:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, June 19, 2014 3:14 a.m. CDT
(CNA file photo by LARRY PETERSON)
Trey Benson

A Creston High School senior will pursue his dream this fall at Iowa State University.

Trey Benson, a starting offensive tackle at Creston/O-M last season, will be a walk-on at Iowa State as a projected defensive end candidate. Now 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds as an outfielder on the Panther baseball team, Benson said he’s looking to get to 240 pounds before reporting to camp with other walk-ons on the first day of school on Aug. 21.

Benson said he’s been an avid Iowa State Cyclone fan for as long as he remembers.

“I always wanted to play football at Iowa State,” Benson said. “I grew up in Newton before moving to Creston and I’ve always been a big Cyclone fan.”

Benson made a visit to Iowa State in February and got the green light to join the program after talking to Wally Burnham, ISU defensive coordinator.

“He asked me to walk on,” Benson said. “They have 11 of us coming in this fall, and they’ll also have tryouts for about four more spots on this year’s team. But I won’t have to be in that tryout.”

Creston/O-M coach Brian Morrison said Benson made a strong recovery from a broken thumb at the previous summer’s team camp at Northwest Missouri State, and had received some interest from coaches at Drake University, Simpson College and Central College.

“He really had a good senior year for us coming off that injury in the summer,” Morrison said. “It was the type of season where there were some (college) coaches looking at him.”

Benson will not be among the 95 players that begin preseason two-a-day camp because of NCAA limitations, but will be eligible for full team activities when classes begin.

“The NCAA implemented a new program that all walk-ons get free food, too,” Benson said, “because they are burning the same calories as scholarship athletes. I’ll get the same gear and stuff, but they just won’t pay for my school.”

Benson is the third member of last year’s Creston/O-M team to continue his football career in college. Nathan Haley signed as an offensive lineman at Graceland University, and Levi Eblen is an outside linebacker recruit at Simpson College.

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