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Jake Bentley's time as a football player at the University of South Carolina officially came to an end on Monday.
Bentley, a 3-year starter at quarterback who was lost for the season in the Gamecocks' season opener this year, announced via social media that he will be transferring for his final year.
Bentley said he will graduate from USC later this month and will then begin the transfer process.
"The past 3 1/2 years have been incredible," Bentley said in the post. "I have met lifelong friends and made memories that I will never forget. However at this time, I believe that it is in my best interest to graduate on December 16th and transfer to play my final year of eligibility.
"This is one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. Leaving this incredible university is extremely difficult. I will forever be grateful to the coaches, professors, administrators, and my teammates of this great school."
Bentley bypassed his senior year of high school to enroll at USC in head coach Will Muschamp's first season. Bentley's father, Bobby Bentley, has been an assistant on Muschamp's staff since he came to USC.
Bentley didn't play in the first six games of the 2016 season. However, after a 2-4 start, Muschamp and his staff decided to move the younger Bentley into the starting lineup. He helped them to a 4-2 record in the second half of the season, good enough to make a bowl game.
In the post, Bentley thanked Muschamp for the opportunity he gave him as a freshman.
"Coach Muschamp, thank you for believing in a 17-year-old kid that skipped his senior year of high school to come to college. Thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime that I will never forget. Thank you for giving me the ability to live out my childhood dream of playing college football at the University of South Carolina."
Bentley completed 125 of 190 passes for 1,420 yards and nine touchdowns against four interceptions as a freshman. After such a promising start to his career though, Bentley never seemed to take the next step in the maturation process as a quarterback.
There were plenty of highs that seemingly were countered with just as many lows. His numbers were good though, throwing for 2,794 yards and 18 touchdowns against 12 INTs as a sophomore and 3,171 yards and 27 scores against 14 picks as a junior.
His best performance came in a 56-35 loss to eventual national champion Clemson in 2018. Bentley threw for 510 yards and five touchdowns against the Tigers' vaunted defense.
That, however, was followed by a mediocre performance against Akron and a poor showing in a 28-0 loss to Virginia in the Belk Bowl to end the season. In USC's season-opening 24-20 loss to North Carolina, Bentley completed 16 of 30 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown against two interceptions.
He suffered a season-ending injury to his foot on the game's final play and used a redshirt season. That opened the door for true freshman Ryan Hilinski to become the starting quarterback.
Bentley was 19-14 as a starter. He threw for 7,527 yards and 55 touchdowns against 32 interceptions. He completed 626 passes in 1,002 attempts.
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