90i #17: V’Angelo Bentley

V’Angelo Bentley
Cornerback
5′-10″, 180 lbs.
Sophomore (on scholarship, 4 years to play 3)
Glenville High School / Cleveland, Ohio
Jersey Number: #2

What I Know About Him:

I had to smile at practice the other day. Some drill with the #2 offense against the #1 defense, and Bentley was covering Marchie Murdock. My 2012 Asamoah Award winner covering my 2013 Asamoah Award winner. Yes, I care that much about my dumb little sleeper recruit award. Asamoah Award 4 Ever.

I still don’t know if Murdock will play or redshirt with this many senior receivers, but Bentley certainly did as a freshman, playing in all 12 games. Now “V”, as his teammates call him, begins his first of three years as a starter.

He comes from a top high school program, Cleveland Glenville where he was coached by Ted Ginn Sr. He visited on the same weekend as his high school teammate, Justin Hardee. Hardee verballed to Illinois that weekend, while Bentley took his time. Bentley announced the morning of signing day that he was headed to Illinois.

What I Expect From Him:

Even though he’s only a true sophomore, he has the ability to become our best cornerback.  But given that this is only his second fall camp, there’s still a lot he has to learn.  Lots of tricks of the trade and such, the biggest probably being how he covers taller receivers.  It’s not impossible for shorter cornerbacks to cover taller receivers, there are just certain ways to go about it so to prevent getting jump-balled – certain ways to position yourself on certain routes.  This year will probably be a baptism by fire for Bentley as he learns on the job.

Where I’m most interested in seeing what he can bring is in the return game.  He’s one of the guys competing for the punt return job.  And I think he’d be really good at it, given how shifty he is.  But I’m an Illinois fan, and we haven’t had a long punt return in maybe 10 years, so I’m probably going to be skeptical until we return three punts for touchdowns.  Consecutively.

I really wish our secondary were older, because then Bentley could ease-in to a starting role.  Instead, we graduated the entire secondary, so he’s going to be out there nearly every play.  Best of luck, kid.  Sorry we’re throwing you into the fire so early.

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