Belk Bowl Players To Watch
QB Jake Bentley, Jr. South Carolina: From the moment he took over the starting job midway through his freshman season, he’s been the leader of the Gamecock offense that’s been good at times. Bentley throws a few too many picks, but he built off his brilliant comeback win over Michigan in last year’s Outback Bowl to come out as a 250-yard passing machine. Bombing away for over ten yards per pass in November, he has to be great despite the loss of top receiver Deebo Samuel to the the NFL.
LB TJ Brunson, Jr. South Carolina: The man in the middle of the Gamecock defense led the team with 94 tackles with four sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. The 240-pounder is a thumper against the run, loading up with stops in the middle of the season with 45 stops in a key three-game stretch. One of the defensive stars of last bowl season with 13 tackles, he needs to be a statistical star again.
QB Bryce Perkins, Jr. Virginia: The Arizona State transfer turned out to be the perfect fit for the Virginia offense, completing 64% of his chances for close to 2,500 yards and 22 touchdowns with nine picks, and ran for 842 yards and nine touchdowns. A baller who carried the team at times, he cut down on his interceptions with just two in the final six games after throwing seven in the first six. However, after losing a key fumble late in the loss to Virginia Tech, this is his shot to make amends.
LB Chris Peace, Sr. Virginia: All-ACC star defensive back Juan Thornhill led the team in tackles, but Peace was a killer pass rusher and rolled up 63 stops from his spot on the weakside. At 6-2 and 250 pounds, he has decent size and is quick off the ball, generating six sacks and ten tackles for loss.
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