Consensus four-star junior quarterback Jake Bentley will skip his senior year and enroll at the University of South Carolina in the fall. He has completed the required classwork and received official approval from the NCAA, SEC and South Carolina.
Bentley was able to forego his senior season because of extra work performed before stepping foot in high school, telling The State:
In South Carolina I took a lot of high school courses in middle school so I was able to acquire a lot more course credits than the normal student.
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Hard work in the classroom pays off on the playing field
Student-athletes who excel in the classroom have a major advantage over those who do not. Doing well in school keeps student-athletes eligible and, in many cases, gets them on the field sooner. By taking care of his business in the classroom, Bentley had the flexibility to enroll early at South Carolina and immediately compete for the starting job.
Most student-athletes do not have the credits to skip an entire year, but many are able to graduate from high school a semester early. These early enrollees have a major leg up on their fellow recruits because they can participate in spring practices, lift with the team in the weight room and get early access to playbooks and schemes.
Love high school? Stay in school
Jake Bentley will not get to lead his teammates and friends onto the field this fall. He will not get to enjoy spring break or even attend prom. He’s going to miss a lot of great high school experiences with his friends and family that he’ll never get back.
So, when deciding if you want to enroll early, assess the risks and rewards of that choice and remember that everyone’s circumstance is different. Bentley’s decision was made easier by the fact that his father coaches at South Carolina, but this is obviously not the case for most people. And, don’t worry, early enrollees are not guaranteed starting jobs.
There’s no right and wrong decision about enrolling early; however, doing well in school is always the best choice for a student-athlete. You should always be looking to find the right fit.
Students first, then athletes
Great grades make student-athletes more attractive candidates to prospective colleges. When deciding between two athletes with similar skillsets, it’s safe to assume that the one with better grades will always get picked. In most cases, academic excellence opens more doors than great play, so hit the books.
Want to learn more about balancing your academics, athletics and social life? It can get tough, especially when you want to spend time on your recruiting, too.
We can help. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.