UGA lost a quarterback commitment for 2017 that was the son of a respected football coach in Bailey Hockman. Could Georgia’s next quarterback pledge come from a similar background?
Those odds are promising when it comes to 4-star Opelika High School (Ala.) standout Jake Bentley. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior makes it sound like UGA will be in it until the very end with his decision.
When he spoke to DawgNation.com, he clarified recent media reports that UGA and Stanford made up his Top 2. It’s actually a Top 4, but that doesn’t mean Georgia isn’t on his mind.
“Stanford, Georgia, South Carolina and Miami are all up there,” Bentley said. “That’s really not a Top 4, but there’s really no order among those schools either.”
Bentley attended the South Carolina and Georgia Southern games at Georgia this season.
“I remember being asked after that South Carolina game if I could see myself playing at Georgia and I really didn’t have to think about it too hard,” Bentley said. “My answer was yes.”
He also won’t be fazed by the thought of competing with incoming 5-star freshman Jacob Eason, who is set to enroll this month.
“Anywhere you go there is going to be competition,” Bentley said. “There is always going to be another really talented guy who is working hard to get the reps at any position. Not just the quarterback spot. Jacob is a great quarterback. I have been to a lot of camps with him and seen him throw but competition makes everyone better. If I did go to Georgia, I would just go in, work hard, do my best and let it all play out.”
Bentley is rated as the nation’s No. 4 pro-style quarterback for the Class of 2017. He was also pegged as the No. 83 player overall.
Bobby Bentley, his father, was a wildly successful high school coach who went on to become the head coach at Presbyterian College. He spent the last two seasons at Auburn as an off-the-field analyst before getting hired away to coach running backs for Will Muschamp at South Carolina.
But the fact the Gamecocks made his Top 4 does not mean it is a given he will follow his father with his college choice.
“It would be a unique thing to play with my dad, but I am going to make this decision based on what is best for me and my future,” he said.
Bentley plays high school football in Alabama, but said he has yet to build a great relationship with UGA head coach Kirby Smart from his days as a lead recruiter for a lot of top prospects at Alabama. That’s understandable in Bentley’s case, as Smart served as the defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa
A few other things to know about Bentley:
- He will enroll early.
- Bentley is an outstanding student. He’s already scored a 28 on his ACT and is considering a career in the medical field or perhaps sports medicine.
- He’s looking to make his college commitment “as soon as he can,” but look for that to be around June or July in the thick of camp season.
- He’s been timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
- Bentley threw for 2,500-plus yards with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions playing Class 6A football in Alabama this past season.
- He had an offer from Mark Richt’s staff, but he said that new UGA assistant Glenn Schumann recently re-confirmed the offer.
- He’s also already visited Stanford. That program sounds like a major player for his college decision.
- His older brothers also played quarterback at Old Dominion and Rutgers. He’s watched one of them go through merry-go-round coordinators during his college career. That’s why he’s looking for stability at head coach and the offensive coordinator positions as a big factor in his decision. He also wants to build a great relationship with the position coach and coordinator he will be playing for.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.