For a list of the 50 Gatorade State Football Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Shuler Bentley
School: Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.)
Weight: 197 pounds
Athletic achievement: He passed for 4,718 yards and 59 touchdowns this past season, leading the Rebels (12-2) to the Class 4A-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 Wily Korn. He completed 299-of-462 passes (65 percent) while throwing 13 interceptions in 2012.
Academic excellence: Bentley has maintained an A average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he 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 (Greer, S.C.). “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.”
THE FUTURE: Bentley will begin his senior year of high school next fall.