High school junior QB Jake Bentley to join South Carolina for 2016 season

ByDerek Tyson ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Jake Bentley, the second-ranked quarterback and the 33rd-ranked player in the ESPN Junior 300, announced on Twitter he would be forgoing his senior year of high school and enroll to play atSouth Carolinaover the summer with the rest of the Gamecocks' 2016recruiting class.

"I am announcing that I will not be playing high school football next year," Bentley wrote in his Twitter post. "After doing some research and confirming with my academic counselors I will be able to graduate this year. Because I can graduate early, I will be joining the excitement of Gamecock football this summer."

Bentley, the 18-year-old son of South Carolina's running backs coach Bobby Bentley, threw for 2,831 yards with 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season.

The 6-foot-4, 219-pound quarterback from Opelika (Alabama) High School committed to new South Carolina coach Will Muschamp a few weeks ago and will join another 2016 quarterback, Brandon McIlwain, who is already enrolled and participating in spring practices for the Gamecocks.

The influx of quarterbacks is sorely needed in Columbia. Projected starter Perry Orth (broken collarbone) and backup Lorenzo Nunez (hyperextended knee) are expected to miss the remainder of spring practices with injuries.

The quarterback position was Muschamp's Achilles' heel at Florida, but the new Gamecocks head coach has to be happy with the two freshman quarterbacks he will have on campus in the fall.

While a high school prospect skipping his senior year to play college football is rare, it is not unprecedented. In 2003, John David Booty skipped his senior year of high school at Evangel Christian in Shreveport, Louisiana to enroll at Southern California a year early.