SEC legend Archie Manning has gotten to know South Carolina QB Jake Bentley quite well over the years. The Gamecocks signal-caller, who took over the starting job as a freshman, is a veteran of the Manning Passing Academy, a camp put on by the Manning family every summer. The elder Manning was at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama this past week to take part in a legends panel. After his press conference, Manning spoke to John Del Bianco of 247Sports about the development he’s seen from Bentley over the years.

“Jake was in his third year. We had this throwing competition the last day called the quarterback challenge. Jake won it,” Manning told Bianco. “It made me feel good to see how excited he was. He had the lead, but had to sweat out these other quarterbacks. The kid from Appalachian State hit all three and they had to do a throw-off. Jake beat him. He’s a great young man.”

When asked about the growth he’s seen from Bentley over three years, Manning went into detail.

“He’s gotten better (year to year),” Manning said. “What they do at our camp is they just throw, but I bring in some college receivers for them and they throw to our camp receivers too. He’s gotten stronger. His mechanics are better. He’s confident. I know he’s a coach’s son. I always thought coach’s sons make good quarterbacks. He’s a great young guy. I really expect him to have a good year.”

But Manning is aware that Bentley can’t be a one-man-band. He said the playmakers surrounding Bentley need to do their part.

“Sometimes fans and all of us compare quarterbacks year to year and kind of forget who he’s playing with and who is helping him,” Manning said. “I assure you, if Jake’s supporting cast can hold up this year, he’ll have a good year. He’s really improved and a good leader. There is no doubt in my mind he’s really respected by his teammates and he’ll battle. I enjoy keeping up with him.”