Previously, I had written about a quarterback/WR duo making the jump from their Northern Kentucky high school to the University of Kentucky practice fields. That was Drew Barker and Cameron Fogle; but they aren’t the only former dynamic duo UK has to offer. Those two came out of Conner High, but today’s two come from Highlands. Patrick Towles and Austin “Ozzy” Sheehan were also high school teammates.
#14 Patrick Towles
Fort Thomas, KY
Towles’ freshman season under Joker Phillips (like most of that season) was kind of a bust. He played in five games and completed 19/40 for 233 yards and a TD. His first drive was in conference play. Unfortunately, he sustained an ankle injury and sat out most of his freshman season. Fast forward a couple months and add an entirely new coaching staff and a quarterback competition, Towles decided to red shirt what would have been his sophomore season leaving the QB spot to Jalen Whitlow and Max Smith. Towles along with Phillips trained and worked on becoming bigger, faster, stronger and more accurate. Towles made leaps and bounds during his red shirt season and the fans got a taste of that at the spring game. Towles seems to be going the extra mile to win that starting job by training out in California with quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. for a few days the beginning of this summer. Back in his Highlands days, he won Mr. Kentucky Football, Gatorade Kentucky Player of the Year, and several other notable awards. He was perhaps one of Jokers most celebrated recruits- everyone was thrilled to have another Kentucky quarterback and Towles was going to save the program- no pressure for a true freshman, right? He was hailed as a top-10 pro style QB by several sites in high school and considered an athlete by ESPN for his versatility. His high school QB coach was none other than Hefty Lefty Jared Lorenzen himself, who knows a thing or two about quarterbacking at Kentucky. Towles size and strength give him an advantage and according to coaches he worked hard and improved his speed and accuracy which gives him a great chance at vying for some serious field time this season.
#29 Austin Sheehan
Fort Thomas, KY
Sheehan red-shirted his freshman season at Kentucky and ran scout team his redshirt freshman year. His sophomore season could be his year to contend for some playing time. With a thin and slightly injured wide receiver group his good hands and quickness could help out the offense. In his Highlands days, he was one of the top 22 players in the state and honored with many other Kentucky football awards. He had impressive stats his senior season particularly, catching passes from Towles he had 29 receptions for 1,013 yards and a nation-leading average of 34.9 yards per reception. He had 8 TD’s and returned two punts for scores.
Together these two went to three state championships and had a record of 44-1 those seasons, 38-1 with Towles starting and were undefeated their sophomore and senior seasons. The two interestingly enough have some strong baseball ties- Sheehan’s great-grandfather was drafted by the Cubs and played high school basketball with john Woorden; Sheehan played center field in baseball and ran the 100 in track. Towles’s grandfather, Jim Bunning (former senator) was a hall of fame baseball pitcher (perhaps where he got his strong arm?), his uncle played football at IU and his brother played baseball at Transy. In high school he also played basketball and competed in the high jump for track and field.
These two had four years of nothing but success together at Highlands, could they continue that on-field magic at Kentucky? Each have 3 seasons of eligibility left. If I were to predict my starting QB in the fall today,(pre camp), I would have to go with Towles. And with the wide receivers as thin, young and injured as they are now I would say anyone has a chance to come out and make an impact if they show out in camp. I could see these two having a Highlands connect on the field this season once again. Towles to Sheehan and Touchdown Kentucky? Guess we will have to wait and see.