Jake Bentley

Will Muschamp's wife, Carol, has a word of encouragement for Jake Bentley following the Florida game in Columbia, S.C. on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

Will Muschamp greeted and hugged each of his 25 seniors as they were honored on the field prior to last week’s game against Appalachian State.

Each of those moments were special for the South Carolina head coach. But none more so than his moment with former starting quarterback Jake Bentley, who was lost for the season with a broken foot he suffered in the season opener.

“It was tough, for all the seniors,” Muschamp said. “The contributions they have had and the amount of time we spend with these young people. You have no idea the amount of time you spend and see them develop from a freshman to a senior.

“Jake has been very special to me personally [for] the contributions he has made to this program, the success he has had as a quarterback at the University of South Carolina. We’ll continue to have discussions with him moving forward on what his future will entail, but he has meant a lot to me personally, the Bentley family has meant a lot to personally and I appreciate everything he has done.”

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Bentley, a three-year starter, has one season of eligibility left and could decided to return for a fifth season next year. He could also decide to pursue an NFL opportunity, or choose to transfer to another school for his final season.

Muschamp has said frequently that he would like for Bentley to return and has left the door open for him to do so. He said Tuesday that he and Bentley and his family would discuss his options in December following the regular season.

“We’re going to let the season get over and as we move into December we will have those discussions,” he said. “That’s true with everybody. That’s the right time and the right place.”

Bentley has been replaced this season by freshman Ryan Hilinski, who has started the past nine games.