Checking in with Gamecock football transfers midway through 2021 season

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Transfer quarterbacks from South Carolina have found success in 2021.

Jake Bentley (South Alabama) and Ryan Hilinski (Northwestern), two former Gamecocks, have taken the reins at their new stops and have capitalized on their opportunities.

Bentley has continued to have one of the best seasons of his six-year collegiate career with the Sun Belt Conference’s South Alabama. He’s led the Jaguars to a 4-2 record off a career-best 68.2% completion percentage, totaling a conference-leading 1,505 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions.

Bentley’s 389-yard performance in South Alabama’s 41-14 win over Georgia Southern last weekend was the third-most productive of any quarterback in the country last week. He completed 24 of his 31 passes and scored three touchdowns.

Bentley spent four years at South Carolina from 2016-19. After passing for over 7,500 yards and 55 touchdowns with the Gamecocks, Bentley suffered a season-ending foot injury in USC’s 2019 season opener against North Carolina and elected to transfer to Utah in the PAC-12 conference for 2020.

Bentley wasn’t originally named the starter at Utah but came in after the Utes’ starter, Cameron Rising, was injured in their 2020 season opener. He completed 62% of his passes at Utah but was benched after the last game, which brought him back to the transfer portal and over to South Alabama.

Bentley’s Jaguars will make a trip to the Carolinas for a matchup with Appalachian State on Nov. 13 and face a team from the Southeastern Conference, Tennessee, on Nov. 20 in Knoxville.

Ryan Hilinski update

Over in the Big Ten, Hilinski worked his way to becoming Northwestern’s starting quarterback after not playing in the Wildcats’ first two games. The former Gamecock has started Northwestern’s last three matchups and has helped the Wildcats improve to 3-3 after their 1-2 start.

Hilinski had his best game of 2021 last week in the Wildcats’ win over Rutgers, passing for 267 yards and two touchdowns. He’s completed 57.6% of his passes for 645 yards and three touchdowns since taking over for Northwestern.

Hilinski played at South Carolina from 2019-20, coming in for Bentley after his injury in the 2019 season opener and starting in 11 games for the Gamecocks. He battled with injuries throughout his first season, suffering a small miniscus tear in October 2019 and undergoing surgery for it that December.

In 2020, Hilinski was named South Carolina’s backup behind Collin Hill. The Gamecocks parted ways with Will Muschamp and hired Shane Beamer, and Hilinski entered the transfer portal in December, landing at Northwestern.

Here’s how other South Carolina transfers have fared at their new programs through Week 7 of the college football season.

Gamecock transfers 2021 stats

Joseph Anderson, DE (Purdue): 4 tackles in 4 games

Korey Banks, WR (NC A&T): 17 catches for 173 yards in 6 games

Derek Boykins, LB (Charlotte): 7 tackles in 3 games

Stephan Davis Jr, LB (NC A&T): 2 tackles in 2 games

John Dixon, DB (Penn State): 4 tackles in 5 games

Deshaun Fenwick, RB (Oregon State): 50 carries for 318 yards in 6 games

Jammie Robinson, DB (Florida State): 45 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 3 passes deflected in 6 games

Shilo Sanders, DB (Jackson State): 25 tackles, 2 forced fumbles in 6 games

Keir Thomas, DE (Florida State): 16 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass deflected in 5 games

Keshawn Toney, TE (UT Chattanooga): 4 receptions for 61 yards in 3 games

Jamyest Williams, RB (Georgia State): 43 carries for 239 yards in 6 games, made a position change from defensive back.

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