The Gamecocks of South Carolina were a fun football team to watch when they had Marcus Lattimore at Running Back and Connor Shaw at Quarterback. I also enjoyed watching Jadeveon Clowney when he was a Defensive End at South Carolina and especially in 2012 when he had 13 Quarterback sacks and 23 and a 1/2 tackles for loss. He was dominating and the Gamecocks enjoyed some prosperous years under Steve Spurrier.
Although I will say that the media ruined Spurrier for me by the non stop talk of ‘the old ball coach’. In spite of the verbal nonsense coming from ESPN, Spurrier coached South Carolina to entirely new levels.
After Will Muschamp was fired at Florida as the head coach, he was quickly picked up by Auburn
head coach Gus Malzahn as his Defensive Coordinator. While at Auburn, Muschamp built a relationship with Tiger analyst Bobby Bentley. Muschamp was only at Auburn for a season before being hired by South Carolina as it’s next head coach.
When putting his staff together, Muschamp hired Bobby Bentley as his Running Backs coach.
Bobby Bentley has two sons that play Quarterback. His oldest is Shuler Bentley who is a back up Quarterback at Old Dominion. But his younger Quarterback son, Jake, followed dad to South Carolina.
That’s not an unusual thing for a son to follow his coaching father to a school. But, what is kind of different from the norm, is to skip your senior year of high school to play college football.
John David Booty, from Shreveport, Louisiana, did it back in the days of Pete Carroll at USC. Booty
But, generally, it’s a good idea to play your senior season of high school football and mature a bit more physically to take the beating in college.
While his father was an analyst at Auburn, Jake Bentley played Quarterback at Opelika, Alabama. As a junior at Opelika, Bentley threw for 2,834 yards and 28 Touchdowns. ESPN had him rated as the 2nd ranked Pro Style Quarterback in the junior top 300. Not only did he have a big arm, but he was listed at 6-3, 225 and athletic enough to pick up yardage with his feet. With dad being hired by South Carolina as a coach, Jake could have stayed behind for his senior season, or he could follow along and finish high school in Columbia. He went ahead and graduated and he decided to skip his last year of high school.
Jake Bentley was expected to redshirt in 2016 for numerous reasons. The idea of him coming in and
learning the offense was part of it. But, also Perry Orth was a senior and he had thrown for almost 2,000 yards during his junior season. They also had another true freshman, Brandon McIlwain, who came in early and he looked really good in the Spring. McIlwain turned down a chance to play pro baseball to attend South Carolina.
When Orth and McIlwain faltered, South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp turned to Jake Bentley.
Steve Spurrier had some very good years at South Carolina. They won the SEC East in 2010 and then they had three seasons in a row with 11-2 records.
But, after that, the Gamecocks started going downhill. From 11-2 in 2013, they dipped to 7-6 in 2014 and they were fortunate to beat a discombobulated Miami Hurricanes in the Independence Bowl to salvage a winning record. With the team performing poorly, Spurrier retired in the middle of the season and a 2-4 record, he left the program in a mess.
In the 2016 season, the Gamecocks again started off with a 2-4 record. Coach Muschamp and staff decided to take the redshirt off of Bentley.
With Bentley in the lineup, South Carolina finished the season with a 4-2 record to even up the season even at 6-6.
Jake Bentley was really good in leading the Gamecocks to wins over Massachusetts, Tennessee and Missouri.
They lost to Florida and then beat Western Carolina.
Neither South Carolina, or Bentley looked good against rival Clemson and they lost, 7-56. That sounds really bad and South Carolina fans were certainly not happy. But, Clemson was national champions and they have a roster full of outstanding talent and South Carolina was just over
Will Muschamp failed at Florida as the head guy, and I was surprised that South Carolina hired him. He fielded great defenses, but his offenses were horrible and he could never keep a Quarterback.
Jake Bentley played really well at times last season and especially for a kid that should have been a senior in high school.
Bentley completed just over 65 percent of his 190 passing attempts. His 125 completions gained 1,420 yards and 9 Touchdowns. Those aren’t sparkling numbers until you figure he should have been playing against high school players. Instead of high school defenses, he was playing against Tennessee, Missouri and Florida.
Jake Bentley is a guy to keep an next year and beyond. He’s got a shot at being really good.