With one of Clemson’s coaches watching from the sidelines, Tigers commitment LaVonta Bentley had a huge game for his high school team this past Friday night.
The four-star linebacker led Jackson-Olin High School (Birmingham, Ala.) to a 34-13 win over Carver High (Birmingham), recording 11 tackles including a sack on defense and also rushing for three touchdowns on four carries offensively.
Bentley and the Jackson-Olin defense held Carver to just 25 yards and one first down in the first half.
“It felt awesome,” Bentley said of his standout performance in Jackson-Olin’s victory, which improved its season record to 5-0. “We practice all week for that moment and we had fun with it.”
College football coaches could start hitting the road recruiting Sept. 1, when the NCAA’s evaluation period started, so Clemson’s coaches have been at various games this month to watch prospects compete.
Clemson assistant Todd Bates, Bentley’s area recruiter, traveled to Jackson-Olin High to see Bentley play last Friday.
“It was very cool,” Bentley said of Bates attending his game. “He took the time to come down from four hours away to watch me play. That means a lot.”
Bates has been the primary recruiter for Bentley since January when Clemson extended to him a scholarship offer.
Bentley said his relationship with Bates has grown a lot since the beginning of this year.
“It’s gotten stronger I’ll say,” he said. “We can talk about anything.”
“We have more of a family vibe,” Bentley added. “He still hits me up mostly every day and checks in on me.”
Bentley most recently visited Clemson for the All In Cookout in July, when he gave his verbal commitment to the Tigers, and said he will be back on campus for Saturday’s game vs. Syracuse at Death Valley.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I didn’t make it last home game (vs. Georgia Southern) because of the weather.”
Bentley has followed the Tigers as they’ve started the season with a 4-0 record and believes Clemson has a great chance to win it all this season.
“I’m loving it,” Bentley said. “They worked all summer for it… I see another national championship.
“As long as they keep doing what they’re doing and getting better each day and only worrying about one day at a time, everything else will fall in place.”
Two weeks prior to his big game Friday, Bentley tallied 12 tackles, including three sacks, and also scored on a 2-yard touchdown run in Jackson-Olin’s 30-15 win at Minor (Adamsville, Ala.). A week before that, Bentley had 10 tackles in his team’s 30-7 win vs. Shades Valley (Birmingham).
Bentley totaled 79 tackles in eight games as a junior last season. He is ranked by Rivals as the No. 7 inside linebacker and No. 165 overall prospect in the 2019 class.