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Quarterback competition is wide open at Kentucky

Jacob Noger | UK Football

Jacob Noger | UK Football

With spring ball behind us and the NFL Draft officially over, the 2021 college football season is officially on the clock. The Wildcats have some high expectations heading into the fall, but the quarterback position remains the elephant in the room.

Liam Coen was brought in to run the offense after Kentucky finished at the bottom of the SEC and in the FBS in seemingly every passing statistic in both 2019 and 2020. The Wildcats know they must fix the passing game and it all starts with the most important position on the field.

To help us get ready for everything that the summer will bring from a football note, here at KSR we will start a post-spring depth chart series over the next two weeks to discuss where things stand at each position on the field. To get it started, we’re focusing on the most important position in the sport.

Can the offense find a quality starter to allow the offense to complement their strong running game with a modern-day passing attack? Mark Stoops was happy with what he saw in the spring from both Beau Allen and Joey Gatewood.

“Both guys that are in competition for the starting job, they’ve alternated days and both have done some really good things,” Stoops said during spring practice. “You can see the confidence in both guys growing. They’ve really done a nice job. We’ve gotten the ball down the field better than we have in some time. That’s been good to see.”

Starter candidates

Beau Allen: After missing on seemingly their top quarterback targets more times than not, the Wildcats landed their guy in the class of  2020. The Lexington (Ky.) Catholic product had a very productive prep career as he threw for 11,439 yards and 127 touchdowns while earning a high three-star ranking. After playing some as a first-year player, Allen is firmly in the competition as a redshirt freshman.

Joey Gatewood: Perhaps the biggest transfer addition of the Stoops era, it wasn’t very long ago when everyone was on waiver watch. Gatewood was cleared to play but did not make much of an impact last season. In his only start against Georgia, things did not go well. The transfer finished the year with just a 22.22 percent passing success rate on 36 attempts and a 40 percent success rate on 20 rushes. However, the new scheme could be a good thing for the junior. Gatewood appears to have the early lead for the position heading out of the spring.

Will Levis - Kentucky - QB

Will Levis could be the favorite to start at quarterback. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images)

Will Levis: The biggest wild card at the position is someone who is not even on campus yet. Levis spent the last three seasons at Penn State playing in 15 games and making one start. The former three-star recruit from Connecticut will arrive on campus this summer as a grad transfer and was Liam Coen’s first big recruiting win. The dual-threat quarterback has logged 644 career passing yards and 473 career rushing yards to go along with nine total touchdowns. He will get a long look during fall camp.

Unknown Commodities

Nik Scalzo: The class of 2019 member entered the portal at the end of last season, but decided to stay in Lexington. The redshirt sophomore has suffered a couple of ACL injuries but has now been healthy for over a year. The South Florida native brings off-platform playmaking to the position.

Kaiya Sheron: The final recruiting win for former assistant coach Darin Hinshaw picked Kentucky over Marshall and enrolled early for spring ball. The true freshman from Somerset, Ky., missed some of his senior high school senior due to injury but was a pleasant surprise in the spring.

“Kaiya is the type of kid where he’ll make a throw, a big-time throw and then just kind of walk off the field like nothing happened,” Coen said during spring practice. “He’s a cool customer who’s got some stuff to him. He’s got a big arm. He’s done some nice things.”

Article written by Adam Luckett

Twitter: @AdamLuckettKSR

17 Comments for Quarterback competition is wide open at Kentucky

  1. blueballs80
    7:43 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

    We already know this. Any insight on how Joey performed at the Spring game would be good to know.

  2. Bluenblood
    8:11 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

    Nothing here. Nothing

  3. kjd
    8:15 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

    Please explain to me how Will Levis, a 3 star who couldn’t win the starting job at his previous school, is the favorite to be our starter while missing the entire spring install of the offense.

    • east-ky-boy
      8:17 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

      Because neither of the other 2 could successfully be out a mediocre QB last year.

    • 2andToodleLoo
      8:49 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

      Unfortunately- KJD’s question is a good one. To me it doesn’t seem like a positive sign that after neither could beat out TW last year, neither stand out enough to keep a career backup from being in the conversation.

    • ClutchCargo
      8:59 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

      When none of the QBs were put in a position to succeed, whether because of scheme, coaching, etc., you can’t really draw valid conclusions about what the returnees can do in a new offense.

    • Bluehender
      6:56 am May 5, 2021 Permalink

      Exactly Clutch…

  4. WKY Cat
    8:43 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

    Don’t believe any of it. The staff knows who’s been performing the best. They can’t say anything because someone will transfer this summer.
    BTW, I think this same content has been written in about 5 different articles. Geez

    • Ryan Lemonds Toupee
      11:23 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

      ^this^ good call WkY

  5. goteam94
    8:55 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

    KSR must have an article quota they have to meet each day. It’s 50/50 on an article having any new or useful info.

  6. JoeBee
    9:02 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

    Come on Luckett, you’re better than this!

  7. TBW3011
    10:02 pm May 4, 2021 Permalink

    No it isn’t. I saw practices and the Spring Game. If it’s wide open we have fools for coaches. And we don’t.

    • WildcatCam
      10:18 am May 5, 2021 Permalink

      So who do you think is clearly the leader?

  8. bbn606
    6:57 am May 5, 2021 Permalink

    I think the world of Nik and all that he has been through but he probably should have stayed in the transfer portal. That being said, you can never have too many quarterbacks.

  9. itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
    9:36 am May 5, 2021 Permalink

    Levis will start. Bet.

  10. GACAT
    12:47 pm May 5, 2021 Permalink

    I have heard from multiple sources that Coen doesn’t like Allen or Gatewood, that’s why he went after Levis Will Levis will be the starter