The quarterback picture didn’t necessarily clear up much with the hundreds of interviews taking place at various spots in Commonwealth Stadium today. Joker Phillips talked about the competition for the top spot in his opening news conference, and then a number of players (including the 3 leading candidates, Max Smith, Patrick Towles and Morgan Newton) chimed in on the subject matter as well. The only thing certain at this point…is that nothing is certain. Smith, Towles and Newton all seem to speak with a bit of an edge, a definite desire, to be the #1 guy. One name that continued to pop up though among the conversations was freshman Jalen Whitlow. And believe me, it wasn’t the media members fishing for a fourth quarterback to throw into the equation. The three guys were all volunteering Whitlow’s name and talents on their own.
Whitlow is a guy with a lot of size, coming in at 6-2, 210 lbs. The freshman hails from Prattville, Alabama and his recruitment flew a bit under the radar with the local quarterback sensation Patrick Towles nabbing most of the headlines. Whitlow’s athletic ability has been praised since the moment the Kentucky coaches landed him. He helped his high school team to an Alabama state championship and finished as the #32 overall prospect out of the state of Alabama. Although Whitlow was brought to Kentucky with the potential to play a number of positions, yet he still has his heart set on competing for the quarterback role. In fact, that’s a large part of the reason he came to Kentucky. The coaching staff promised him a chance, at the very least.
“My senior year, most people started recruiting me as a receiver or an athlete. Kentucky gave me a shot to play quarterback if I worked hard. I wanted to play quarterback,” Whitlow stated. “That was number one on my list. If I have to play another position, I’m happy to. But that was number one on my list.”
Morgan Newton believes Whitlow factors into the equation heading into the rest of the summer workouts, “One thing people are overlooking is that we’ve got another quarterback, Jalen Whitlow, who’s just as good.”
Whitlow is aware that the pack is thick in the race to be Kentucky’s starting quarterback. He’s not afraid to compete along with the other 3 guys who are garnering the majority of the attention. With that said, he is willing to do whatever it takes to help this Kentucky team win on the field this season.
“Wherever I can help the team out—receiver, in the Wildcat. Might even do some kick returns.”
Whitlow has the look of a guy who can help this team out in some capacity next season. Not only do his teammates speak extremely highly of him, but his size and strength stood out among the crowd on media day. He seems anxious and eager to compete, and knows the challenge ahead is a big one.
“It’s not high school anymore. You gotta learn to be a man quick. This isn’t baby football. This is SEC football.”
I’m just here to tell you, along with the rest of the quarterback contingent…don’t sleep on Jalen Whitlow. I’m not saying he will be the starting quarterback this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him in a potential variety of roles on the field this season.