USC QB Jake Bentley: 'I want to be the best teammate I can be'
Jake Bentley didn’t pass up his senior season of high school football and decide to enroll a year early at South Carolina with the goal of coming in and redshirting.
The former Opelika (Ala.) star is aware there’s plenty of competition for the Gamecocks’ starting quarterback job, but he believes he can get in the mix.
No matter what happens, Bentley is entering his freshman season with one mindset.
“At the end of the day, I just want to be the best teammate I can be for the team,” he said. “Obviously, I want to be a starter like every other quarterback in that room. I’m going to work every day to do that, but at the end of the day, I just want to be the best teammate I can be and do whatever I can to help win games.”
Bentley is expected to compete with fellow freshman Brandon McIlwain and senior Perry Orth to start under center when the Gamecocks open the season Sept. 1 at Vanderbilt.
He opens the competition behind the other two candidates after arriving on campus in May. Orth is a redshirt senior, while McIlwain went through spring practice.
But Bentley remains confident that offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and his staff will give all three candidates an opportunity to win the starting job.
“Competition is just going to make us all better as a group,” he said. “Coach Roper does a great job of teaching every one of his quarterbacks the offense and really working to make them better. Me, Brandon, Perry and all of the other guys in there have a fair chance to start, and it’s going to be exciting.”
McIlwain is a dual-threat quarterback, while Bentley and Orth are more of pocket passers.
Even though Bentley is more of a traditional quarterback, he believes his athleticism is sometimes overlooked and added Roper will change around the offense to fit whoever is worthy of winning the starting job.
“I definitely feel like I’m more athletic than people think that I am,” he said. “I don’t feel like his offense necessarily has to have a running quarterback to be successful. He’s a great offensive mind, and I feel like he can be successful with any quarterback, but I do have athleticism to be successful.”