South Carolina 2017 quarterback target Jake Bentley visited USC this past weekend for the first time since Will Muschamp took over the program and his father, Bobby Bentley, joined USC’s staff.
Bentley’s trip to USC was also his first since attending a camp in Columbia two summers ago. He said he enjoyed his time on campus and added that it was nice to meet with Carolina offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
“It was great. I haven’t been there in a while. Both times my family went I was kind of busy with the ACT and then I had to do something else the other week, so just going back up there was good,” Bentley said. “It was great seeing all the new coaches and getting to meet them and getting to meet with Coach Roper and Coach Muschamp. It was really good.”
Bentley knows that South Carolina will run the spread offense under Roper, but he is interested to see how exactly everything works out.
The unanimous four-star prospect plans to pay close attention to the Gamecocks this upcoming season as he tries to decide which college to attend.
“I actually don’t know a lot about (USC’s offense), just talking with the coaches they said they don’t really know the players they have now or what they’re going to be working with,” Bentley said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out as the season goes.”
Bentley’s current top four includes South Carolina, Stanford, Georgia and Miami. He said all four schools are pretty even.
“Stanford and South Carolina are definitely probably up there, then Georgia and Miami with Coach (Mark) Richt. I got an offer from Georgia when Coach Richt was there, and now he went to Miami,” Bentley said. “Stanford, South Carolina, Georgia and Miami are probably the top, but it’s going to be interesting to see with three of the four having new coaches how it’s going to be this season.”
Even though his dad coaches running backs at South Carolina, Bentley said his recruitment is being handled by Muschamp and Roper. He would like to be treated the same as any other recruit as much as possible.
Bobby Bentley was a member of Auburn’s staff before joining Muschamp in Columbia, and Jake was being recruited by Auburn when his dad was there.
“Just like when he was at Auburn you’ve got to go into the process and go into the school not thinking about that and just trying to really focus on the school and the other coaches and the academics, but then again it’s hard not to think about it,” Bentley said. “Your dad’s always with you, and just talking about work or football it always is related back to where he’s working. He wants what’s best for me, and he’s not going to pressure me into going where he’s at or anything like that. But it is challenging at times.”
Bentley added that he likes the way USC is handling his recruitment with Muschamp and Roper.
“Coach Muschamp, the first time I talked to him when he was there at South Carolina, one of the first things he said was he’s not going to try to use my dad to persuade me or try to get me to come more,” Bentley said. “Coach Muschamp said he was going to be in charge of my recruiting and he would be the main person I would talk to, him and Coach Roper. He said he’s not going to use my dad at all.”
Bentley is anxious to continue to take trips to USC and other campuses and is excited to go through the recruiting process.
“I want to be treated just like another player,” he said. “I want to go through all the same processes of being shown the school and everything. Even though my dad’s a coach I don’t really get all what a normal recruit gets. I get a lot of it, but I still want to go through the whole process. I know my mom wants to see everything too.”
Before deciding on a college Bentley has to decide where he will play his senior year of high school. He is currently enrolled at Opelika High School in Alabama but has visited high schools in the Columbia area as he decides whether to transfer to a high school in South Carolina or stay in Alabama.
“We went and visited everywhere this weekend, and we’re going to decide soon what we’re going to do,” he said. “There is a possibility I could stay down here. There’s a lot going on right now, so I’m going to sit down with my mom and dad and figure out what we’re going to do.”
Top 5 for 2017
If he transfers to a high school in South Carolina for his senior season, Jake Bentley would become the top-ranked recruit in the state for 2017. The top five as it now stands:
1. Ortre Smith
2. Davondre Robinson
3. Shi Smith
4. Savalas Cann
5. Brad Johnson