Kentucky football: Quarterback dust settles meaning time to move forward

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis /

When Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops made the announcement on Sunday that Will Levis would be the starting quarterback it shouldn’t have come as any big surprise and one everyone should have seen coming.

What we clearly didn’t see was the immediate departure of Joey Gatewood into the transfer portal after he didn’t get a job as the No. 1 signal-caller, but figured to get playing time.

The numerous other quarterbacks on the roster I’m sure watched all this play out and are realizing what their next steps would be.

Kentucky football Levis starting, Gatewood moves on, Allen moves up

Now that all the dust has settled it’s time to move forward and set our sights on September 4, the opening game of the 2021 season when Louisianna Monroe comes to Lexington.

Levis for one is glad the decision came early in camp alleviating the pressure.

"“No, I think their reasoning for it made a lot of sense. Whoever the decision was, with the new offense, and the need to get as many reps as possible before the first game. It was time to lock down who’s going to be taking those ‘ones’ through the rest of camp.”"

Gatewood is kind of a mystery not being able to elevate and succeed at Auburn so he transferred to Kentucky waiting behind Terry Wilson. Fans on both sides of the debate either loved Touchdown Terry or got frustrated with missed short passes and the lack of a long ball as well wanting Gatewood to play more.

What we didn’t see again was Gatewood elevate his game to pluck the starting job away from Wilson and then again when camp began for this season it was deja-vu again.

Rumors are swirling Gatewood is heading back to the Sunshine State where he is from growing up in Jacksonville and probably ends up playing for his former coach at Auburn Gus Malzahn who now coaches Central Florida. Unless the NCAA grants him a waiver he missed the July 1 deadline to transfer and be eligible to play this upcoming season.

Levis didn’t even arrive on campus until recently but already made connections quickly ascending the ladder and ultimately winning the QB battle. He too transferred in from Penn State with similar unspectacular stats but the writing was on the wall for him with new offensive coordinator Liam Coen loving him from first sight.

So here we are. New depth chart and all. In our upcoming position spotlights, we will break down each position more in-depth including quarterback, but for now, this appears to be the rotation under center.

Will Levis taking snaps with the first team

Stoops and Coen have been high on Levis all along and each like the way he has taken command of the team both on and off the field.

We knew what he could do at Penn State, but after announcing his transfer and during works at home with a mechanics coach he hasn’t been shy about posting videos on social media showing off his new arm and work ethic.

When he arrived in Kentucky he went out of his way to approach his new teammates to find out what they wanted in a leader. Taking that first step in this manner surely made big strides both for his and the team’s confidence and respect for each other.

Coen saw it quickly materialize.

"“I think just Will’s work ethic and the way he came in and ran the show. His personality is one that guys will naturally follow. We got to see some of the arm strength talent and now, he’s got to clean up some of the plays. Right now, he gives us the best chance to win.”"

He clearly has meshed with the Big Blue Wall upfront as well as his receivers outside. The running backs behind him are tried and true in Chris Rodriguez and Kavosiey Smoke so no need to worry there.

The receivers must really like his touch as well just ask Isaiah Epps about this pass.

With no battle till opening day Levis now has time to take this team on his back and lead them forward.

Beau Allen just loves Kentucky so keep waiting your turn young man

No one loves the Cats more than backup quarterback Beau Allen. The Lexington Catholic legacy was a four-star recruit, and his dad Bill played for the Wildcats as a quarterback from 1984-88 under Jerry Claiborne after growing up in Eastern Kentucky. The family must have blue blood running through their bodies.

It seems like the hype of Allen has been going on forever, but bear in mind Beau is just a sophomore. The pro-style quarterback is very smart, observant, and most likely studying Coen’s new offense intently along with the pre-finance classes that he is majoring in.

While at Lexington Catholic he won the Paul Hornung Award as the top high school player in Kentucky while being a three-year academic all-state and a four-year starter who amassed 11,439 career passing yards and tossed 127 touchdowns.

Allen is a Coen type of quarterback and I would think he will see action as well. He knows the offense and Kentucky football history. J

Just wait Beau your time is coming.

The rest of the QB crew is completely college untested

That leaves the rest of the depth chart that is green with experience but solid background-wise should the Wildcats need one to step up.  Which always seems to be the case.

Nik Scalzo another sophomore most likely is next in line followed by junior Patrick Delahunty and freshman Kaiya Sheron.

Scalzo tore his ACL in fall camp and didn’t play as a freshman but he is another smart student on the Dean’s List. Another dual-threat signal-caller having completed 522 for 876 for 6,471 yards with 74 touchdowns in three seasons of high school ball in Ft. Lauderdale.  He also rushed for 613 yards on 147 carries with four scores in his career.

Sheron also hails from Kentucky in Somerset who overall, threw for 3,218 yards and 28 touchdowns while rushing for 959 yards and nine touchdowns that led to a 2019 Class AA state championship.

Delahunty has practiced with the team for two seasons but has yet to see any action for Kentucky.

With one battle settled let’s see who shakes out behind Levis and develops under Coen.

dark. Next. UK not getting much love in early polls