Jake Bentley, the top-rated quarterback in the state of Alabama, left Tuscaloosa Tuesday with a scholarship offer.
Bentley, a four-star prospect from Opelika (Ala.) High School, told SEC Country that the main point of the trip, other than receiving that offer, was to see how Nick Saban was as a person. He’s heard the chatter of him potentially not being the most approachable coach, but Bentley left with a totally different perspective than what many others see on their television screens.
“He is a very genuine person. He cares a lot about his players, even after they play for Alabama,” Bentley said about Saban. “He’s just a really good guy.”
So how does the state of Alabama’s top quarterback prospect just now receive an offer from the Crimson Tide? Well, for one, Alabama did have four-star quarterback Jake Fromm committed for several months until he decided to flip his commitment to Georgia just last month.
Bentley says he has no hard feelings on Alabama waiting so long to offer him because he understands recruiting from a different viewpoint. His father, Bobby, is South Carolina’s running backs coach, so he knows how schools operate when it comes to recruiting.
“Jake Fromm was committed, so I don’t know if that had anything to do with it or not,” Bentley said when asked if he discussed why the staff hadn’t offered until now. “They did today and that’s all that matters to me. I understand both sides of the recruitment process being that I am a coach’s son and just being around it. It doesn’t matter how it came or when it came. It just matters that it did come.”
The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder spent limited time with offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin because Bentley had to leave early to see his little brother’s basketball game. Bentley said he spent some time with Kiffin in the film room before heading to Saban’s office, which is when the offer was given.
“(Saban) said that I was a great fit for their system and I have what it takes to be successful,” Bentley said. “It doesn’t seem like they put a lot of pressure on quarterbacks to have to make a play to win a game because of their great tradition of running backs and great defense.”
Now that he has that elusive offer from Alabama, Bentley says the Tide are in his second bracket of favorite schools. In the top bracket, there’s South Carolina, Stanford and Miami in no particular order, and then along with Alabama, LSU and Nebraska are in that second tier.
The nation’s No. 6 pro-style quarterback, who will graduate high school in December and be an early enrollee at the school of his choice, said he plans on making a return trip to Tuscaloosa, but he doesn’t know when just yet.
In order for the Tide to move up into that top bracket of his favorite schools, Bentley knows what Alabama needs to do.
“I would like to see Coach Kiffin and more of the offensive coaches to see how they relate to their players. I need to establish a better relationship with the coaches, too.”
Bentley is planning on making a commitment before his senior season begins. If he isn’t ready to announce, he said it could go a couple of weeks into the season but not much longer than that.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.