Bentley got a chance to learn even more when he took in a Saturday scrimmage with the Tigers before sitting down with the staff to talk about the offense and his progression as a player. While getting to talk to them wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, he said getting some individual time in that setting was a big deal and that was especially true of Malzahn's message to him.
“It was good,” Bentley said. “I was able to sit in a meeting with Coach Lashlee to really see how he teaches the quarterbacks and some of the coaching tips and things he uses. Getting to sit down with Coach Malzahn, he just told me straight up that he’s recruiting me because of who I am and not because my dad is there. That was refreshing to hear that.”
While it may seem like a tough thing to concentrate on what college is the best for him while also balancing the fact that his father is at Auburn at the moment, Bentley said it’s something they have discussed already and he knows what the most important thing is for him moving forward.
“The big thing for me is that I have two older brothers and I have gotten to see how the recruiting process works,” Bentley said. “They both went to schools that they both really enjoyed going to and they went there because of the school not because of any coaches.
"My dad has stressed to me that wherever he is, he wants me to be happy at the school and then take in the fact that he’s there. He wants me to love the school first.”
Jake Bentley throws a pass during a prospect camp this spring.
Currently with offers from Miami, Southern Miss, Appalachian State and Temple in addition to Auburn, Bentley recently visited both Clemson and South Carolina while on his spring break. Growing up in South Carolina before moving to Opelika, Bentley said it was good to get to see both programs once again.
“It’s always good to go back to the home state to go visit,” Bentley said. “Clemson was very nice. I have always been interested in both of them growing up, but I never really had a favorite one. Going up there and meeting all the new coaches was good. Going down to South Carolina was good as well. I got to hang out with Dylan Thompson a little while down there was good because I have been close to him growing up.”
Bentley’s trip to South Carolina came after a stopover for one of the top football camps in the country. Taking part in the Nike Atlanta Regional with Trent Dilfer in town as one of the counselors to work with the quarterbacks, Bentley said after working alongside some of the best in the country he feels like he belongs.
“It’s always good to go out there and see all the talent from around the country,” he said. “It showed me that I’m one of the top guys. It showed me all the work I have been doing is paying off because I’m right there with those guys. It’s great to just go out there and compete with those guys.”
The biggest part of the spring for Bentley is still yet to come because when Opelika takes the field for spring practice it will be his first-ever opportunity to be the starter at quarterback. Playing behind older brother Shuler Bentley as a freshman while still at Byrnes (S.C.) High, Bentley backed up veteran Matthew Christian last season for the Bulldogs. Now it’s his time and he’s ready for the challenge.
“It has been good,” Bentley said of the spring so far. “We have been working hard in the weight room and we’ve had our best numbers as far as all our testing. It has just been fun to work with the guys.
"You go into the spring with a different mentality when you know you have the team, when you are a leader," the prospect pointed out. "You have to come in every day with the mindset that they are going to follow you and work as hard as you do as the quarterback. I’m excited because we’ve got a lot of talent coming back this year, especially on offense. I’m ready to get going.”
Dye-Gest Column, Making the Right Call at QB
Jason Caldwell's Monday Morning QB Column
Under Armour Association Basketball Prospects
Malzahn Talks Spring Scrimmage Two
Grimes Sees Offensive Line's Potential
Dye-Gest Column: A Good Defense Travels Well
ITAT Radio, Friday Podcast