The Gamecocks shuffled between three different QB’s last season before finally finding their guy in Jake Bentley. Bentley shined, throwing for 1,420 yards, 9 TDs and 4 INT’s, while compiling a 65.8% completion percentage in just 7 games. Bentley will be a key piece to the Gamecocks season in 2017 and should led South Carolina to their second straight bowl game.

Meet The Quarterbacks…

QB – #19 Jake Bentley, Soph / #12 Mike Scarnecchia, Jr

*Bold indicates starter

Biggest Area of Improvement…

On the road. Bentley showed flashes of brilliance last season, leading the Gamecocks to a 4-2 record down the stretch and a bowl appearance against USF. He shined in the bowl game, throwing for 390 yards with 3 TD’s. Where Jake struggled was on the road. His youth and inexperience showed in trips to Florida and Clemson, where he threw for a combined 367 yards and 0 TD’s. While it has been a focal point all season, Bentley will need to mature and become a leader for an offense if they want to have success in the tough road environments you face week after week in the SEC.

What About The Backup?

Michael Scarnecchia. After Perry Orth’s graduation and the transfer of former QB Brandon McIlwain, all eyes will turn to Scarnecchia to fill in the back-up QB role behind starter Jake Bentley. If anything, last year showed us that the next man up has to be ready at all times and could be called upon at any point. While he has had limited playing time, Scarnecchia showed his ability to make all of the throws in the spring game and is one of the older players in the program. While we all hope the only reason we see him in a game is because South Carolina is up 50, you always need a solid back-up just in case your main guy gets dinged up. Scarnecchia should be a solid option #2.

Season Will Be Successful If…

Show the ability to win on the road. I was very close to calling a successful season throwing for “X” number of yards and “X” number of touchdowns. In 2017, I think Bentley will be judged more so how he leads his football team on the road. Coming into the season, there is no doubt this is Jake’s team and he will be leaned on heavily and looked at as the leader of the offense. The Gamecocks start fast out the gate, hosting NC State in a neutral site game in Charlotte, NC. They then head to the other Columbia to take on Missouri in their first SEC game of the season. Jake Bentley will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself on the road as the Gamecocks travel to Missouri, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and Georgia. Win on the road and the numbers will take care of themselves.

Overall Grade…

A. This is as solid as the QB position has been since Connor Shaw was taking the snaps from center. Bentley is one of the top young QB’s in the SEC and should have a breakout year as 10 of 11 total starters return on offense. Michael Scarnecchia provides a solid veteran presence behind him and should be able to come in and do a solid job if any emergency situations do arise. Look for Bentley to have a banner season and lead South Carolina to their second straight bowl game.

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Author Details
SEC Department Head | The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
Young professional that went pro in something other than sports. Former college baseball player. College football addict. Whiskey drinker. Cigar aficionado. Avid golfer. Williams Brice Stadium is my second home on Saturday’s in the fall.
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SEC Department Head | The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
Young professional that went pro in something other than sports. Former college baseball player. College football addict. Whiskey drinker. Cigar aficionado. Avid golfer. Williams Brice Stadium is my second home on Saturday’s in the fall.

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