Josh Kendall

What Jake Bentley said about Ryan Hilinski and Gamecocks backup QBs

Jake Bentley knows what he wants in a backup quarterback – the same thing he had last year.

“If you look back on it and think about (Michael Scarnecchia) and what he did,” Bentley said Monday. “He was one of the most consistent and hardest working guys on the team, and it obviously paid off for him in the Missouri game. He was a guy that came to practice every day with the right mindset to compete with me every single day.”

With Scarnecchia lost to graduation, South Carolina is auditioning redshirt freshmen Dakereon Joyner and Jay Urich and true freshman Ryan Hilinski for the backup job this spring. Through three spring practices, all three have looked good, senior offensive lineman Donell Stanley said.

“They all have been taking reps. I feel confident blocking for anybody,” Stanley said. “It’s a good competition at that position. That’s what we need at every positions. All of them are showing that they can play and they’re competing. That’s what we need.”

Joyner and Hilinski are considered the frontrunners for the job, and Hilinski has done a good job of absorbing the Gamecocks’ system despite being just a week into his college career, Bentley said.

“He’s looked good. He’s looked real good,” Bentley said. “He’s able to pick up the plays really well coming in here and showed some good things. Like all of us, he’s learning a lot, but he looked good.”

Freshman wide receiver Josh Vann has been particularly impressed with Joyner, he said.

“His throwing arm has gotten way stronger,” Vann said. “Everything, being able to scramble and throw on the run, has gotten better since last year.”

Bentley, who has started 31 of the last 32 games for South Carolina, is trying to tutor all three young quarterbacks, he said.

“Especially now just trying to pour into them as much as I can and give as many tips and information as I can to try and help them as much as I can like Perry (Orth) and guys before me did,” he said.

Josh Kendall has covered SEC football for almost 20 years. He has covered the Gamecocks since the 2010 season. Have a question? Shoot him an email or find him on Twitter, and he’ll be happy to respond.
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