By Laura Owens
Special to

HOOVER – Of course SEC Media Days would include Alabama players vouching for returning quarterback Jalen Hurts, saying he has improved for his upcoming sophomore season. Predictable though it is, it still provides a level of comfort to UA fans.

But what can additionally alleviate worries in the Crimson Tide faithful is that a source outside of Alabama has confirmed that Hurts is looking good in the offseason. South Carolina sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley said on Thursday that he and Hurts spent a lot of time together at the Manning Passing Academy, and comments that Hurts can’t pass are “crap”.

“A lot of guys say he can’t throw, but that’s very untrue,” Bentley said. “He can really throw it. Maybe he’s done a lot in the offseason to throw it better or something, I didn’t really watch him last year, but I know at the Manning camp that he was really throwing it well and he was very knowledgeable.”

Bentley himself had a very positive freshman season at South Carolina. Graduating after his junior year of high school, he became the Gamecocks’ starting quarterback in 2016 for the final seven games and finished the season 4-3 with 1,420 yards and nine touchdowns.

Beyond talent as a quarterback, Bentley also complimented Hurts on being very personable.

“I kind of thought maybe a quarterback that played in the national championship game, he wouldn’t want to talk to me or anybody else, but me and him talked for a long time and he’s a great guy,” Bentley said.

Among important quarterback qualities, especially as a young one, Bentley said Hurts had advice about how to be an effective leader.

“(Hurts) just talked about you don’t always have to be a vocal leader all the time,” Bentley said. “And really, just the main thing is if you work hard, guys will follow you.”

To Bentley’s credit, his teammates already see him as a strong leader. Tight end Hayden Hurst said Bentley is impressive both in how he handles himself and his role.

“When he talks and we are huddled around, 101 guys are silent, and that’s saying something about a 19-year-old,” Hurst said of Bentley.