COLUMBIA, S.C. — With preseason camp just around the corner, SEC Country begins its position-by-position look at the South Carolina roster.
Up first: Jake Bentley and the quarterbacks.
It’s remarkable how much different the position looks in 2017 compared to a year ago, when Will Muschamp was approaching his first season as the Gamecocks coach.
Perry Orth is off to life after football. Brandon McIlwain transferred to California. And Bentley is — without a doubt — the man in Columbia.
After not playing a single down in the first six games of the 2016 season, Bentley showed flashes of excellence over the final seven, all of which he started.
The Gamecocks went 4-3 with Bentley as the starter. He completed 125 of 190 passes for 1,420 yards with 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. His 65.8 completion percentage is fourth-best in school history for a single season.
In 2017, Bentley was named Offensive Player of the Spring and voted Carolina Male New Student-Athlete of the Year.
The rest of the field
It won’t be a concern until it needs to be, but there are only two other scholarship quarterbacks on the South Carolina roster: Michael Scarnecchia and Jay Urich.
Scarnecchia, a redshirt junior, missed all of last season after undergoing labrum surgery on his non-throwing shoulder (left). As a sophomore, in 2015, he appeared in one game, completing a single pass for 9 yards.
Urich, a 3-star signee from Wren High School in Piedmont, S.C., completed more than 58 percent of his passes for 2,055 yards and 20 touchdowns during his senior season. He rushed for 1,036 yards and 15 scores.
South Carolina’s official preseason roster includes several walk-on quarterbacks: Darius Douglas (freshman), Bailey Hart (redshirt freshman) and Danny Gordon (redshirt junior).