Byrnes High School quarterback Shuler Bentley was named the 2012-13 Gatorade South Carolina Football Player of the Year on Thursday. Bentley is the second Gatorade South Carolina Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Byrnes.
The 6-foot-1, 197-pound junior quarterback passed for 4,718 yards and 59 touchdowns this season, leading the Rebels (12-2) to the Class AAAA, Division I semifinals. The 2012 Greer Citizen Player of the Year, Bentley broke the state record for single-season touchdown passes, eclipsing the mark of 54 set by two-time Gatorade South Carolina Football Player of the Year Willy Korn. He completed 299 of 462 passes (65 percent) while throwing 13 interceptions.
Bentley has maintained an A average in the classroom and has volunteered locally in association with his church youth group and as an elementary school guest speaker.
“Shuler Bentley is an exceptional athlete,” said Steve Eoute, head coach at Riverside High. “As a football coach, it is a joy to watch someone who has such command and understanding of the game. I was very impressed with his presence in the pocket. He reads defensive coverages well and has a strong arm.”
Bentley will begin his senior year next fall. He joins recent Gatorade South Carolina Football Players of the Year Quinshad Davis (2011-12, Gaffney), Justin Worley (2010-11, Northwestern), Marcus Lattimore (2009-10, 2008-09, Byrnes) and Daquan Bowers (2007-08, Bamberg-Ehrhardt) among the state’s list of former award winners.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Bentley as South Carolina’s best high school football player.
Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award announced in December, Bentley joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Wes Welker (1999-00, Heritage Hall HS, Okla.), Terrell Suggs (1999-00, Hamilton HS, Ariz.), Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Fla.) and Jerome Bettis (1989-90, Mackenzie HS, Mich.).