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Reports: Utah QB Jake Bentley, 3 other Utes in transfer portal

SHARE Reports: Utah QB Jake Bentley, 3 other Utes in transfer portal

Utah Utes quarterback Jake Bentley (8) and his teammates leave the field after their loss to the USC Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

It was a busy day for Utah Utes in the transfer portal Tuesday, as multiple outlets reported that four players are looking to go elsewhere.

Headlining the list was quarterback Jake Bentley, and he was joined by punter Ben Lennon and defensive linemen Pita Tonga and Mufi Hill-Hunt.

In five games this season after transferring from South Carolina, Bentley largely struggled, going 77 of 124 for 882 yards passing with six touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Just this week, however, two former 4-star quarterback recruits, Texas’ Ja’Quinden Jackson and Baylor’s Charlie Brewer, announced they will be transferring to Utah. That adds to a group that is expected to include Cam Rising — who won the starting quarterback job in camp this fall but was hurt the first game of the season — and four-star prospect Peter Costelli of California, who signed with the Utes just last week.

Since no player will lose eligibility this season, Bentley will have one year to play at a new destination.

A native of Australia, Lennon has been Utah’s primary punter for the past two seasons. In 2019, he punted 44 times for 1,800 yards with two touchbacks. Three of his punts went over 50 yards. This season, he punted 14 times for 544 yards with one touchback.

In the final two games of the season, however, redshirt walk-on freshman Jared March assumed the punting duties, with six kicks for 246 yards, one of which went for 50 yards.

Tonga, who prepped at Highland High School, played four seasons for the Utes and tallied 29 total tackles (six solo, 23 assisted) with 2.5 sacks in 36 games.

Hill-Hunt was a highly touted prospect out of Taylorsville High School who signed with Michigan State, but he played in just two games over three seasons before joining Utah in 2019 as a walk-on. He appeared in two games last season and none this season.