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Utah football QB Jake Bentley, three others enter NCAA Transfer Portal

Bentley started four games for Utah this season, but will be seeking third school in three years

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes quarterback Jake Bentley (8) and Utah Utes defensive end Devin Kaufusi (90) walk off the field as the Utah Utes lose to the USC Trojans, NCAA football at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.

Once the University of Utah got commitments from a pair of Power Five quarterback transfers over the weekend, it seemed clear that Jake Bentley wasn’t going to be part of the future plans.

That notion came to fruition late Tuesday afternoon as The Salt Lake Tribune can confirm that the South Carolina graduate transfer has entered his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal. 247sports was first to report Bentley’s portal entrance.

Bentley started the final four games of the season for the Utes after Cameron Rising was lost for the season in the Nov. 21 opener vs. USC with a shoulder injury. Bentley had an up-and-down season for the 3-2 Utes, throwing for 882 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions while dealing with noticeable accuracy issues.

Bentley, who started 33 games at South Carolina from 2016-19, will be seeking his third different school in the last three seasons.

In the season finale Saturday vs. Washington State, Bentley threw an ugly second-quarter interception and was benched for Drew Lisk. The redshirt senior engineered four second-half touchdown drives as the Utes scored 38 unanswered points to register a 45-28 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Mere hours after the season-finale, Utah picked up a commitment from Texas quarterback transfer Ja’Quinden Jackson, who took a redshirt as a freshman last season while recovering from knee surgery. Late Sunday afternoon, four-year Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer committed to the Utes, fortifying Utah’s quarterback room with big-game experience.

Utah’s quarterback options entering the spring will be Jackson, Brewer, four-star true freshman Peter Costelli, and Rising. Ute coach Kyle Whittingham has already said Rising will be unavailable for spring practice, but the hope is he will be cleared in time for fall camp.

Earlier Monday, sophomore punter Ben Lennon entered the transfer portal, The Tribune confirmed. In two seasons, Lennon punted 58 times with an average of 40.4 yards per kick.

Lennon played in the first four games of 2020, but missed Saturday’s win. Whittingham said on his weekly ESPN700 radio show Monday night that Lennon missed the game because he was in quarantine.

In Lennon’s place, redshirt freshman walk-on Jared March punted six times with an average of 41 yards per kick and a long of 50.

Reserve defensive linemen Pita Tonga and Mufi Hunt also entered the transfer portal Monday. Both players have one year of eligibility left as seniors.

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