As the Tyler Huntley-era comes to a close, finding his successor is one of the top priorities heading into 2020. With Cameron Rising now eligible and a patient Jason Shelley waiting in the wings, the Utes have added even more depth with South Carolina graduate transfer, Jake Bentley.
The 6’4”, 200 lb. native of Opelika, AL was thrust into action in what was to be his redshirt year in 2016 after the Gamecocks trudged through a 2-4 record to start the season. Bentley’s red shirt tag was removed during the bye week before SC was scheduled to take on UMass in week eight, helping to secure a 34-28 victory over the Minutemen before toppling the 18th ranked Tennessee Volunteers the following week, wrapping up the season with a 4-3 record, including an overtime loss to USF in the Birmingham Bowl. Bentley remained SC’s starter for the next two seasons, throwing for a total of 5,965 yards, 45 touchdowns and 26 interceptions with a 16-10 record over the span of his sophomore and junior seasons. In week one of the 2019 season, Bentley suffered a season-ending foot injury, sidelining him as Ryan Hillinski took the reins, setting up the eventual Bentley transfer.
As a recruit, the four-star prospect held offers from a number of prolific programs, including Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Nebraska and Stanford, among others. Outside of his NFL-ready measurables, Bentley has displayed good composure in the pocket, while being able to make smart throws while on the run, despite being more of a pocket passer. His accuracy and ability to throw deep makes him an intriguing fit inside Andy Ludwig’s offense.
Utah’s future at quarterback looks bright, with a deep well of talent to utilize, the loss of Huntley may sting a little less than first expected.