Kentucky’s quarterback room just got a little smaller.
Earlier this afternoon quarterback Danny Clark announced he will transfer from the University of Kentucky. A long-time Ohio State commitment, the four-star recruit’s strong left arm and athleticism provided plenty of promise once he stepped on campus, but after two years, production never matched promise.
After enrolling early and redshirting in 2017, Mark Stoops gave Clark an opportunity to compete with Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak for the starting position. As fans focused their attention on Hoak and Wilson, Stoops never failed to mention Clark’s progress. In the end, Wilson won the job, but the door was open for Clark to make a few appearances.
Shortly after his father made a comment about on Twitter about potentially transferring, Clark played in his first game. He led the offense on its final drives in a blowout win over Murray State, and scored a touchdown on a read option run from the two-yard line. As Terry Wilson hit a midseason slump, Clark got another opportunity. Against Missouri, Clark was used in a Tebow-like power run package in a short-yardage situation. He got the first down, then fumbled the ball. The Cats recovered, but Clark never saw the field again.
One of the offense’s most charismatic personalities, his intensity was infectious. His presence in the quarterback room will most certainly be missed.
Heading into the second half of the season, it became clear that at least one quarterback would transfer, we just didn’t know who it would be. Clark was the first to pull the trigger. Now it’s incredibly important for Gunnar Hoak to remain on the roster.
Terry Wilson’s best weapons are not his legs, but they were used quite a bit this fall. He carried the ball a little more than ten times a game. It only takes one shot to sideline Wilson. It happened in the Central Michigan game. We learned after the Louisville game that Wilson was hampered by a sprained knee in the middle of the season. If Wilson goes down, Gran needs a quality backup ready.
Hoak filled in admirably in the final drive of the half vs. Central Michigan, leading the Cats to a scoring drive in the final minute. If Hoak follows in Clark’s footsteps, Walker Wood is the only scholarship quarterback who knows the offense, yet he’s never played a down of football. Amani Gilmore and Nik Scalzo are expected to sign in December, but the incoming freshmen lack experience and Scalzo recently suffered a torn ACL.
Transferring could be too enticing for Hoak. As Jon Hale notes, the former early enrollee is set to graduate this spring. After graduating Hoak could transfer to another FBS and be eligible to play right away.
Without Clark, Kentucky needs Gunnar Hoak on the 2019 roster. Without Clark, Jared Lorenzen needs to find a new favorite player.