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How Joey Gatewood will fit in at Kentucky



This post was originally published in early November. Tonight Gatewood announced he would in fact become a Kentucky Wildcat after a couple of visits to Lexington. A perfect fit for Eddie Gran’s offense, Gatewood could become a star in Lexington.  

Kentucky is in the market for arguably the most-talented player in the transfer portal.

Joey Gatewood announced last week his intentions to find another college football home. Once Kentucky fans heard the name, they were intrigued, but questions arose when they heard he was an Auburn quarterback.

“But, what about Beau Allen?”

Let me explain.

That Boy’s Good

And that’s an understatement. Gatewood is the kind of talent that you take no matter the circumstances. A four-star prospect and a consensus top 50 recruit, Gatewood was an Elite 11 finalist and an Under Armor All-American after passing for 1,468 yards and 12 TD and rushing for 1,100 yards with 16 scores as a high school senior in 2017. The dude can flat out play.

Run > Pass

When he wasn’t carving up opponents on the gridiron, he was also a sprinter in track and field. Not many high school sprinters are 6-5 235-pound athletes.

The dual-threat tag fits Gatewood better than most because his ability to run the ball might be better than his passing ability. In his limited time in Auburn, he’s primarily played in short-yardage situations. A powerful rusher that imposes his physicality on opponents, think of Tim Tebow as a freshman or Justin Fields at Georgia.

Gatewood only played once in his true freshman season, rushing for 28 yards in the Music City Bowl. After losing the QB competition to Bo Nix, he played sparingly in the Tigers’ first seven games, completing 5-of-7 passes for 54 yards. Gatewood scored on a quarterback sneak in the season-opener against Oregon and rushed for more than 100 against Kent State, tallying a total of 148 yards on 12 carries and three scores.

Choosing between Kentucky, Florida, Miss. State and LSU, the intra-conference transfer ensures Gatewood will have to sit out the 2020 season. With two years of eligibility remaining, Gatewood could be the perfect fit for Eddie Gran’s offense.

Mark Stoops is 33-7 when the Wildcats out-rush their opponents. Much of that success happened behind Benny Snell. Terry Wilson was expected to play a significant role behind that push this season out of run-pass options. Instead, the Wildcats were forced to lean on Lynn Bowden’s rushing abilities. Gatewood has all of the physical tools to continue UK’s success on the ground out of a variety of RPO looks. He would have a year to learn UK’s system and develop as a passer.

But once again, “What about Beau Allen?”

Of course Stoops and Gran do not want to upset a four-star pocket-passing legacy recruit from Lexington that has acted as a cornerstone of what will be the highest-ranked recruiting class in school history. If this season has taught us anything, you can never have too many quarterbacks, especially if your first option is a runner. Secondly, Allen could in theory beat out Gatewood. He also would give UK a different look as a traditional pro-style option. If Gatewood does come to Lexington and earns the starting job in 2021, by the time Gatewood’s eligibility expires Allen will have two years to become the face of UK’s offense.

There’s plenty of room on Kentucky’s roster for Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen to coexist and thrive. If Stoops, Gran and Vince Marrow can convince Gatewood to be a Kentucky Wildcat, the chances of needing a Lynn Bowden-like bailout in the future drop exponentially, all while securing one of the most talented players in college football’s transfer portal.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

36 Comments for How Joey Gatewood will fit in at Kentucky

  1. Ridge Runner
    3:08 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    Good insight and perspective, Nick.

  2. ClutchCargo
    3:37 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    You can’t hold a spot for someone who could get injured or just not pan out. Take this guy if you can get him!

      1:02 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Politics in AU. NIX was a legacy recruit, his dad was a STUD QB for them in 90’s, He never got a fair shake was kind of treated like Justin Fields @UGA. I am sorry but AU might be undefeated if he was starting. Nix is good and has alot of moxy but by no means does he have the skill set GATEWOOD HAS. No way Allen beats him out. We are talking a QB that instantly puts us right there with UGA AND UF for the EAST CROWN AND CFBP SLOT PERIOD. The kid is better then NIX AND ALLEN. I believe he was a 5* and #29 player overall in nation at some point as well. Kids a stud and makes UK’S Offense a nightmare for our opponents if we land him. If we land him the year he becomes eligible we will have a ranking maybe as high 10-12 and low as 18-21 in nation just adding him to what Stoops has built. You cannot say that for Allen or few other of our QB prospects. He will be our starter day 1 the year his is eligible period even if there is a so called QB battle. He will not lose it garunteed. Then by that time ALLEN will gain experience and be ready to continue where GATEWOOD LEFT OFF. Kid will give us credibility being preseason top 20. Gatewood and Allen transition and those 4-5 years might be the window we get an East Crown, possible SEC title as well a shot at NCAA NATTY! RECRUITING WILL SOAR LIKE AN EAGLE AS WELL! Be ready for a steady top 25 team for 3-5 years between Gatewood and Allen. It’s going to be on!

    • TBW3011
      1:20 pm November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Good info. Was wondering if this kid is so good how they have the poor QB play they have this season. Nix really holds them back.

  3. chardun20
    3:44 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    I’m sure Gatewood is good, but he couldn’t beat out Auburn’s other freshman QB. IF he can’t beat out Beau AAllen, why would he stay at UK?

    • chardun20
      3:45 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink


    • Battle4TheBluegrass
      3:57 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

      No one was beating out Bo Nix at Auburn, simply due to his name and family legacy there. Gatewood was dealt a bad hand there this year

    • JerryCat
      3:57 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

      Auburn’s other freshman QB is also a 5 star top 50 recruit and they were in a heated offseason battle for the job

    • 4everUKBlue
      6:35 pm December 5, 2019 Permalink

      See Bluevader’s response above.

  4. chris43
    4:41 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    Florida, LSU, and Mississippi State….I’d love to land this kid but I’m not getting my hopes up.

  5. 2Dogs
    4:52 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    Question here. Not questioning. Would it be better to focus on recruiting a certain style of quarterback or is it better to accumulate the best qb’s no matter the style? It seems Allen and Gatewood are not at all similar. That would seem to be an issue in terms of getting in the right players around them such as the receivers, backs and o-line…

    • Corder
      5:09 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

      I think at this point you take what you can get, considering our lack of QBs since stoops has been here. Going forward though I’m right there with you. Time to start getting a game plane together and figure out what kind of offense we want to run and an offense they can pitch to recruits. Obviously our run game has done good enough to get quite a few RBs now weather that be on the roster or future recruits. The only way for us to take that next step is to have a actual identity on offense and we have not had that at all since stoops has been here.

    • Middy
      8:42 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Seems like we’ve had an identity to for several years now. Good O line and smash mouth run game. The only part that’s been sporadic is explosiveness. When Boom left early we lost that element and struggled to replace it. I don’t think there is much question or debate that we want to establish the run game every time out.

  6. clarks
    5:25 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    Quit guaranteeing that he wins the job. Maybe he does maybe he doesnt but high school rankings mean squat. Justin fields didnt beat out frohm even though he was #1 an. Morgan newton had similiar stats and was a 5* on one service. Meyers even tried to get him to replace tebow. No problem bringing him in to compete for the job but if allen has that IT factor he could win out. We do need more talent in QB room.

  7. RAGE
    5:41 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    I hate to say this but after watching Stoops teams over the last few seasons if I was Beau Allen or his parent I wouldn’t want him to come to UK… If Stoops has proved anything it is that he doesn’t want a pocket passing type of QB… Gatewood is more of what Stoops want and the style of play that he wants to use… Stoops has proved that this season more than any other.. in him playing Lynn Bowden at QB instead of playing Sawyer Smith…

    if I was Allen’s dad I would def have him reconsider his commitment and go somewhere that he is going to get to use his arm talent.. Stoops and Gran have proven that they are not interested in a passing offense.. Allen can really throw the ball and if I was in his circle I would push him to West Virginia where the coach will let him show off his arm talent.. I don’t mean this as taking a shot against Stoops or Gran but it is clear how Stoops wants to play… I really think Beau Allen will come to regret coming to UK.. Location would be the only reason that Beau Allen would even consider coming to play for us at UK.. cause there ain’t any reason a pocket passing QB would even include Kentucky in their top 20 choices

    • shelby3605
      10:07 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      The best offensive performance by a qb i’ve seen under stoops was drew barker in the 1st half of his 1st game vs so miss. He got hurt in that half and never recovered. I honestly think THAT is Gran’s ideal offense—look at what his offenses did at cincy. Given that, i’ve never more bad luck with qb injuries than we’ve had this year. If Gatewood comes here, i hope he is a serviceable passer. Can’t be run only and succeed in the SEC.

  8. bigbluebg
    6:55 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    Stoops has had passers. Stephen Johnson ran a little, threw a lot. Stoops has had guys that run more than pass. Both have been successful, so RAGE I would say Stoops (really whoever the QC is at the time) uses the player to their strengths, and that’s exactly what good coaches do. So yea bring em both and let the best man win, whoever is the back up should stay ready. One play and the backup becomes the man.

    It’s football. You need depth at every position, if you can’t land depth across the board then UK will never win the SEC East.

    • oldfanallin
      10:12 am December 6, 2019 Permalink

      Copy that, bigbluebg, my thoughts exactly. Recruit the best you can and build the schemes around the skills they have.

    8:08 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    I can’t see him going to LSU now that they run such a pass happy scheme . I think it’s between us and state . Florida probably has a couple four stars redshirting already . I think we get him

  10. kjd
    9:05 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    “develop as a passer”
    Guy’s a runner first, average passer. We won’t be serious contenders until we land a quality passing QB with natural QB instincts and leadership.

    12:48 am November 9, 2019 Permalink


  12. zoupman
    6:05 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    Didn’t this guy just quit on his teammates mid season?
    No thank you.

    • dcforuk
      6:58 pm December 5, 2019 Permalink

      It does not matter what you or I think. What does the evidence say? Do you have any? What’s the story? Is there one? Any supporting articles?

    • Jester
      11:06 pm December 5, 2019 Permalink

      Dude you’re replying to a comment that is almost a month old…do you really think the guy is going to see it?

    • dcforuk
      6:53 am December 6, 2019 Permalink

      No, I don’t think he will see it. I failed to read that it was a repost. I hope that is the worst thing I do today :-0 !!

    • runningunnin.454
      9:09 am December 6, 2019 Permalink

      They posted the article again…so new comments are allowed.

  13. csnailnrun
    6:21 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    Unfortunate that Gatewood would be ineligible next year. I’m sure he’d be on fire to go back down to the plains and beat Auburn when we play them next year.

    • zoupman
      9:14 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      He has played in 7 games this year. No way he should be eligible next year.

  14. TBW3011
    1:18 pm November 9, 2019 Permalink

    Hope we get him, but I’ll temper my expectations considering Auburn’s current QB that beat him out sucks.

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:35 pm December 5, 2019 Permalink

      You don’t keep up with college football do you?

    • Bluehender
      9:14 pm December 5, 2019 Permalink

      4ever, my wife has a saying, “I wasn’t born yesterday.” TBW3011 obviously was..

    • 4everUKBlue
      9:35 pm December 5, 2019 Permalink

      No question about it Bluehender, I’m thinking he just came down with the last drop of rain.

  15. jaws2
    9:49 pm December 5, 2019 Permalink

    It’s interesting how anytime we get a highly rated commitment the comment section gets filled with the we’re on our way to winning the East, the SEC, and on our way to national titles. Hell, I’d just like to beat TN consistently! How many times have you heard “he’s the next” ……? Cam Newton was a pretty damn good college QB so let’s cool our jets a little.
    On the surface this guy appears to be a player that can help us step to the next level, but I’ll be more excited to see him prove it on the field. I find it hard to believe that Gus could be ‘forced’ to play Nix just because his dad played at Auburn. That program is WAY to big for one guy to get that treatment. Perhaps this kid had more issues reading defenses at this level or didn’t grasp the offense as well. We’ll most likely never get the whole story. I truly hope this kid is the real deal, but I’m not going overboard on it just yet.

    • dcforuk
      11:09 pm December 5, 2019 Permalink

      I understand apprehension; however, this is different than the two QBs that committed but backed out for Miami and Alabama. Very unlikely a xfer will back out. This is very big news. Injuries need avoiding and execution/effort need completing but it sure is an awesome Thursday first round score of a major championship weekend!

    • E11Q
      8:52 am December 6, 2019 Permalink

      No program, aside from possibly Alabama or Clemson, are TOO big for a head coach to be pressured into doing something. Particularly not one that has been on and off the hot seat as many times as Gus has. That being said, it would be my opinion that Gus felt Nix gave them a better, more consistent, arm to run that offense. I’d say there’s something to Gus feeling a bit of pressure to name Nix the starter, but if Nick’s article is correct, it seems that at this point in their careers that Nix is a more developed passer than Gatewood and that’s what Gus felt was best for his offense to be successful.

      Of course, this is pure speculation on my part and is in no way supported by any facts haha. But I mean they are 9 and 3 with all 3 losses coming to teams within the Top 10 of the rankings. Even if they went with Gatewood, I’m not sure if they get 3 more wins. Maybe 1, but 3 wins over 3 Top 10 teams is tough for ANY QB or team to do. Heck, only 1 of those losses was by more than a single score. I think the decision to go with Nix over Gatewood has worked out well for both Auburn and UK. Auburn has a legitimately efficient starter for 4 years and UK gets to add another high level talent to the roster.

    • 4everUKBlue
      9:00 am December 6, 2019 Permalink

      Very well said E11Q.