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Terry Wilson doesn’t have too far to go


Terry Wilson’s physical gifts were apparent in his first season as UK’s starting quarterback. He recorded the second-most rushing yards (547) and yards per rush (4.1) among SEC quarterbacks. Wilson did have his share of struggles, however. He was 13th in the conference with only 11 touchdown passes and fifth from the bottom with eight interceptions. He also posted the 12th highest passing yards and recorded the fourth-most sacks with 28.

His inconsistency led the Cats’ coaching staff to consider replacing him and to experiment with Wilson, Gunnar Hoak and Danny Clark all in the same game against Missouri. It also contributed to Athlon Sports (in their preseason rankings) ranking him the No. 12 quarterback in the SEC in 2019. However, Wilson’s difficulties—along with the stellar accomplishments of Benny Snell and Josh Allen—may have overshadowed the great moments he had last season.

Although he threw two interceptions in the first half, Wilson accounted for all three of UK’s touchdowns—two through the air and one on the ground—in a victory over Florida in the Swamp that ended a 31-year losing streak. In the Missouri game, Wilson struggled until the final drive, where he went 6-6 passing and threw a game-winning touchdown pass to C.J. Conrad on an untimed play.

Wilson’s lower passing totals are a function of his supporting cast. He had the third-best completion percentage in the SEC last year at 67.2%, but only the 12th-most pass attempts. This, and the fact he only scored four rushing touchdowns on the year, is due in part to having Benny Snell in the backfield. It’s yet to be seen how his stats will fare with increased reps, but his numbers show promise nonetheless.

What hurt Wilson more than anything during his debut season was a lack of experience. On a third-and-two in a road game against Texas A&M in overtime, Wilson scrambled and took an eight-yard sack, putting the Wildcats just out of field goal range (as Miles Butler’s attempt bounced off the crossbar). That’s a mistake that a first-year SEC quarterback makes.

Of course, Wilson will no longer have the play of Snell, Allen or the entire starting secondary to fall back on, but he still has weapons. Wide receivers Lynn Bowden, Josh Ali and Ahmad Wagner are offensive threats, and A.J. Rose has shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

Wilson is a dynamic player and can be a difference-maker for this team. He has the tools to be a dual-threat nightmare for opponents, and he needs to take his experience from his first year in the SEC to develop as a playmaker. With the Cats much more dependent on Wilson’s play to have success this year, the question is whether Touchdown Terry will take the next step and lead UK to another special year.

Article written by Hayden Adams

11 responses to “Terry Wilson doesn’t have too far to go”

  1. SanDiegoDave

    Wilson will develop into a stellar performer next year. He has the athletic ability and intelligence to excel in the SEC. Now, he has a year of experience under his belt. I expect UK to continue to its rise in the toughest conference in college football.

  2. Mino Slick Foooooo

    Terry Touchdown!!

  3. Smyrna_Cat

    I like Terry Wilson and think he will have a very good season, but with all due respect, I hope he worked very hard during the off-season because UK will need his A game. He has some serious strengths, but he also had a lot of room for improvements. I think he needs to run the ball more than he did last year.

    1. mashburnfan1

      He did have strengths and showed room for improvement. Can say the exact same thing for every QB in their 1st season at this level of play. There is a reason very few players at any position walk into the SEC and are have great success in their first year or FR year. Even JUCO guys that are a SO but 1st year at this level. Guy did pretty damn good all things considered.

    2. makeitstop

      He was near the bottom in several categories like fumbles and yards per catch, but his last 3 games, the averages were much better (like up from 6 yards to 9 per) and would put him in the top echelon in the SEC. The question is was that bc of improvement or weak competition (apart from PSU). I’m praying it’s the former but to be fair it’s prolly a little of both. If u just use the last 3 games, and assume another 30-40 practices under his belt, it’s promising.

    3. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree

      Terry should be way better next year but Bashburn acting like he’ll be great next year based on potential and that EJ and Richards will absolutely suck proves he either has no clue about one or both sports

  4. notFromhere

    If the defense has enough depth to let the offense run no-huddle, Wilson will be much better and the team will IMPROVE their record. Gotta stay healthy and develop a backup QB that can run the offense well so theyre not concerned about turning Wilson loose on the run

  5. makeitstop

    He’s what we’ve got, so he needs to improve a lot. We’ll hv to score another 10-12 TDS this year to match last year, and we can’t go whole halves without sniffing the red one bc we won’t just be trading punts bc I t’s going to take that secondary awhile. He’s got to see the whole field this year and get thru the whole progression and not need every play called in. And he had to hv been dropped on first contact, usually an arm tackle, more than anyone that’s ever run the ball at UK so I’ll be looking to see if he can run through some arm tackles and not just escape w speed. He’s got potential but for me not getting dropped by one arm and hitting his 3rd receiver in stride will be the sign he’s made that step. He doesn’t hv to be Dak Prescott or Tom Brady just being a top 6 QB in the SEC is enough to make a big difference over number 12. That’s prolly worth 3 extra W’s, the difference in 7 and 10.

  6. UKInsider

    This blog lost all credibility when Ahmad Wagner and his zero catches for his college career was referenced as an offensive threat.

    1. makeitstop

      He was a basketball player so they’re “drafting on potential!” Actually I think the kid will be good, too, but that’s based on optimism mostly.

    2. UKInsider

      Agree, MakeitStop. He has potential, but come on…this is lazy journalism when you reference Wagner instead of other returning players that have proven they have more than pass interference abilities.