In praise of Jake Bentley’s deep ball; potential pass-rush solutions to arrive on campus
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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before … Gamecocks QB Jake Bentley is good. Like really, really good.
Pro Football Focus is the latest to sing the praises of the South Carolina quarterback, calling him out for outstanding completion percentage on deep passes. More than 10 percent higher than the SEC’s second-highest-rated passer!
Among returning SEC QBs, nobody was better throwing the ball downfield than South Carolina's Jake Bentley pic.twitter.com/eczCUXfS63
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 17, 2017
Bentley has gotten so much love this offseason that South Carolina fans are probably even sick of it (loljk, of course we’re not).
With a steady hand at the game’s most important position, the Gamecocks are yet again in a prime spot to exceed expectations.
The rising sophomore is much more than a talented signal caller; he’s become the face of a program that so desperately needed one following the departure of Steve Spurrier.
I don’t mean to thrust more pressure on to Bentley, but …
WANTED: Pass rushers
The Gamecocks will be welcoming several members of their latest signing class to campus later this month — and with those incoming freshmen come potential answers to the team’s pass-rush issues …
“Aaron’s a guy we’re really excited about, was a very good player at Tucker, got to the state championship game,” coach Will Muschamp said of 2017 signee DE Aaron Sterling. “He’s got really great initial quickness. He’s a guy we’re expecting to come in and compete.”
Sterling is just one of the young players the Gamecocks are hoping to get early production out of in 2017.
A new favorite
Four-star CB Jaycee Horn has a new leader in his recruitment …
“’Bama just fell off with the relationship,” the 2018 cornerback said of his previous favorite, Alabama. “They are making other corners in the state more of a priority than me. I know that I’m South Carolina’s No. 1 guy.”
Horn is the son of former New Orleans Saints WR Joe Horn.
Nick Saban is arguably the best coach in college football today — so it should come as no surprise that in his years under Saban, Muschamp learned a thing or two.
“When you see things alike and have healthy disagreements on what needs to happen, that happens with good staffs,” Muschamp said of the relationship with his staff. “When we were at LSU with Coach Saban, whether it was Jimbo Fisher, myself, there [were] great discussions, disagreements, that’s what good staffs do. As long as you’re on the same page when you walk out of the room, good things happen with you.”
On the mend
Coach Muschamp revealed on Tuesday that OT Zack Bailey was the only player needing surgery following spring practice.
The junior lineman is expected to be the anchor of the Gamecocks offensive line under new OL coach Eric Wolford.
“I like how we’ve gelled up front,” Muschamp said. “I think moving Zack Bailey to right tackle was a good move for us. We have pretty good competition at left tackle and competition inside. We have eight guys right now that we feel comfortable about on the offensive line.”
On the track
After making their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in March, the Gamecocks will once again find themselves on the track this Friday, courtesy of Bolen Motorsports.
“Really cool to see how this partnership with the university athletics department has all come together,” said Jeff Bolen, team owner and South Carolina alum. “To be able to showcase them and their accomplishments has been really neat.”
At 12-15 in conference play, the South Carolina baseball team is in serious danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.
In the latest field of 64 projection, Baseball America lists South Carolina among the ‘first four out.’
“In the Southeastern Conference, South Carolina has now entered dangerous territory, having lost seven straight conference series,” wrote Baseball America’s Teddy Cahill. “While the Gamecocks still have the No. 31 RPI, they’re 12-15 in the conference and desperately need a series win against Georgia this weekend and likely a win or two in the SEC Tournament to seal an at-large bid.”