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Former Utah Utes quarterback Jake Bentley commits to South Alabama

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Utah Utes quarterback Jake Bentley (8) delivers a pass as Utah and Oregon State play a college football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Jake Bentley, who for most of the 2020 season was the Utah Utes’ starting quarterback, has found a new place to play his final campaign of college football.

On Wednesday evening, Bentley announced via Twitter that he has committed to South Alabama, which means he will return to the state in which he finished his high school career.

A native of South Carolina, Bentley moved to Alabama during high school before returning to the Palmetto State for college, where he spent four seasons playing for the South Carolina Gamecocks. There, he amassed over 7,500 passing yards with 55 touchdowns against 32 interceptions.

Bentley transferred to Utah for what was to be his final season of eligibility in 2020 and was initially named the backup to Cam Rising, but Rising was hurt in the opener against the USC Trojans and Bentley started the rest of the season.

In his lone year with the Utes, Bentley largely struggled, going 77 of 124 for 882 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions. In the days following the campaign, Utah received commitments from two transfer quarterbacks, Texas’ JaQuinden Jackson and Baylor’s Charlie Brewer.

Add them to Rising’s return and the signing of four-star prospect Peter Costelli, and the quarterback room suddenly became crowded. Some surmised at that point that Bentley would call it a career, but on Dec. 22, 2020, he entered the transfer portal, signaling he intended to use the extra year of eligibility given to all players because of the pandemic.

Bentley will be joining a South Alabama program that went 4-7 in 2020 but recently hired former Indiana defensive coordinator Kane Wommack as its new head coach and Major Applewhite, who has extensive Power Five coaching experience and was the head coach at Houston from 2016-2018, as its offensive coordinator.