Exactly one year ago today, Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson tore his patellar tendon against Eastern Michigan, an injury that would require surgery and keep him out the remainder of the 2019 season.
With the 2020 season now less than three weeks away, the senior standout is officially 100 percent and ready to take the field, with head coach Mark Stoops believing Wilson will be even better post-injury.
“I expect him to run the offense better than he did prior to the injury, I don’t think there’s any doubt that he will,” Stoops said on his first call-in radio show of the year Monday evening. “You have to stay healthy. I feel like he’s 100 percent back from this injury, as far as healing. When you’re out for that amount of time, there’s definitely some rust, but Terry looked very sharp during camp and to begin the season prior to his injury, and he improved from the year before that. I feel like he’s still growing, getting better, getting more comfortable out there.”
As he continues to rehab and build confidence, Stoops sees the same elite speed and athleticism we saw out of Wilson pre-injury, something that makes him confident heading into the year, especially with a bit more time before the season-opener.
“We have to play well around him, we have to play good as a team. We have to play good around him, but I do anticipate Terry to play really well,” Stoops said. “We have some time, and he needs it. He’s the first to admit that. I’m impressed, I feel like he looks very comfortable back there. You can still feel his speed and athleticism as he runs it. He’s getting more and more comfortable in the pocket. I’m very confident in Terry, and you can see his confidence growing. He’s worked really hard.”
Outside of Wilson, Stoops gave a player-by-player breakdown of the rest of Kentucky’s quarterbacks, starting with an update on Joey Gatewood’s eligibility status.
“We’ll know more about Joey here soon. We will see, should probably hold my comments, but I hope he gets cleared,” said Stoops. “I believe he will, and it’ll give us some depth there. Impressed with Joey and what he’s doing, he’s learning, it’s a new system. There’s going to be some good and bad, but he’s getting better with every day, with every opportunity.”
True freshman Beau Allen was the third name brought up by Stoops, who the Kentucky head coach called “unflappable.”
“Beau, he’s doing a really good job,” Stoops said. “He makes some mistakes, but he’s one of those unflappable guys. Very calm, great presence about him, anticipates things really well. Throws the ball very efficiently. Very high on Beau.”
As for Sawyer Smith, he’s happy to have an additional reliable option with experience in the quarterback room.
“Sawyer, he’s Sawyer. He gives us everything he has, he’s reliable,” the UK head coach said. “It’s hard with four quarterbacks, but I believe in those guys, and I believe all four of us could play winning football for us.”