Tigers leading for Lavonta Bentley, treating him like a priority
When asked recently which school he feels is recruiting him the hardest, Birmingham (Ala.) Jackson-Olin four-star linebacker Lavonta Bentley didn’t hesitate.
“Clemson,” Bentley answered. “Clemson is.”
Clemson extended a scholarship offer to Bentley in late January, and the Tigers have treated him like a top priority since.
Bentley’s area recruiter for Clemson, Todd Bates, is leading the charge.
“He treats me like family, and that’s what it’s all about,” Bentley said. “He shows a lot of the poetry that he does. He said if I go there, I won’t have to worry about anything. Like I said, he treats me like family.”
Bentley (6-1, 220) said he hears “every day” from Bates and other members of Clemson’s coaching staff, including defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Venables.
“They send letters,” Bentley said. “I have a book full of letters from them, hand-written letters at that. So, that really touched me because that was the first college that sent me hand-written letters. All the coaches, I would say, did that.”
Bentley has reciprocated the Tigers’ interest, visiting Clemson on two occasions last month. He attended its junior day on March 3 before returning for a more personal and overnight visit on March 28, when he was able to watch a spring practice and spend more time with the coaches and players.
Along with Bates and Venables, head coach Dabo Swinney has made a good impression on Bentley.
“I like him,” Bentley said. “He interacts with the players. He’s joyful, I’ll say that much… He’s a good person.”
In addition to Clemson, Bentley owns offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU and South Carolina, among others.
Bentley doesn’t anticipate making a decision before the end of his senior season. But the amount of love the Tigers are showing has made them the team to beat at this stage of his recruitment.
“I say number one,” he said when asked where Clemson stands.
Bentley also visited Auburn last Tuesday before going to Clemson on Wednesday. He is scheduled to visit Alabama from April 13-14.
Clemson views Bentley as a MIKE linebacker. He is ranked by Rivals as the No. 5 inside linebacker and No. 151 overall prospect in the 2019 class.