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.