Kentucky Wildcats Football Position Preview: QB


The position that everyone is following closely is the battle at quarterback, where all on the roster are competing for the starting job. With Kentucky fans chomping at the bit for the Air Raid offense to take off after a year on the ground, they want to know who will be the trigger-man. Gone i incumbent Jalen Whitlow. So here are the candidates:

Sophomore Patrick Towles- Towles likely has a leg up in the competition. A bally-hooed recruit coming out of Highlands High School, Towles had his redshirt pulled due to injuries but ended up hurt himself as a frosh. He redshirted last season, he had some things to clean up mechanically and perhaps mentally. But Towles is one of the few blessed with a golden right arm. He can make every throw on the passing tree and has just enough athleticism to escape the pocket when pressured. His skill set mimics that of former Wildcat star Andre Woodson in some ways.Early signs point to Towles winning the job and allowing Drew Barker to redshirt and learn for a year.

Freshman Reese Phillips- Unlike Towles and Barker, Phillips arrived at Kentucky with little to no hype. A three-star quarterback from a high school that ran the option. He didn’t have eye=popping measurable or stats. The most impressive feather in his cap was some late interest from Alabama before deciding to stick with his commitment to the Cats. He also redshirted last season, but the coaches nearly played him late in the season due to a combination of injury and ineffectiveness at the quarterback position. He may not have the golden arm that Towles does but the coaches feel that they can trust him. Going back to last season the staff always points to how few mistakes Phillips makes. If he were to win the job, he projects much like former Wildcat Mike Hartline.

Freshman Drew Barker- Barker is the face of the hyped 2014 recruiting class and rightly so, he’s an Elite 11 quarterback who had offers from the top teams in the country but chose to stay home and roll with the Cats. His arm is nearly on the level of Towles and he possesses excellent mobility, Barker is the future of Kentucky football. At this point it seems unlikely that he is ready to assume the starting position, the transition from high school to the SEC is just too much to overcome. Perhaps if UK had more pieces in place around him, but it’s unfair to expect Barker to carry the offens eon his own.

Junior Maxwell Smith- The former starter is competing to take his job back, but at this point it seems unlikely. By all accounts Smith is still dealing with the shoulder injury that has plagued him the last two years and the injury appears to be chronic at this point. Right now he is only able to practice every other day while the other passers are getting reps every day. It’s a tough turn of events for a player who appeared destined for stardom before being derailed by injuries. Smith lacks mobility and his statuesque pocket presence combined with being injury-prone makes him a poor bet to hang a season on. He has yet to finish one healthy in three tries.