Where does Gavin Wimsatt rank among Mark Stoops's transfer portal quarterbacks?

Mark Stoops has decided to solve the quarterback position through the transfer portal, but which of his recent additions, Will Levis, Devin Leary, Brock Vandagriff, and Gavin Wimsatt is the best?
Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl - Miami v Rutgers
Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl - Miami v Rutgers / James Patrick Cooper/ISI Photos/GettyImages

On Tuesday, with Kentucky native and former Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt on campus for a visit, the former four-star quarterback announced his commitment to Kentucky. Last year’s starter for the Scarlet Knights, Wimsatt was beaten out by Minnesota transfer Athan Kaliakmanis this spring. 

Mark Stoops pursued Wimsatt when he was coming out of high school, but after Wimsatt left for Rutgers, Kentucky landed Penn State’s Will Levis from the transfer portal. Levis started two seasons in Lexington and started a trend of Stoops finding his starting quarterback through the transfer portal. 

After Levis left for the NFL, and ultimately became the No. 33 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Tennessee Titans, Stoops landed Devin Leary who had played the previous four years at North Carolina State. Leary started for Kentucky in 2023 and led the Wildcats to a second-consecutive 7-6 season. 

After Leary came to Brock Vandagriff from Georgia and now Gavin Wimsatt in the same offseason. Beau Allen also returned to Kentucky from Georgia State but is unlikely to factor in the QB1 discussions. 

So, of the four transfer portal quarterbacks over the past four years at Kentucky, who was Mark Stoops’s best addition? 

. Gavin Wimsatt, QB. 4. Gavin Wimsatt. . player. 452. Arrived: 2024. Eligibility Remaining: 2 years. Gavin Wimsatt, QB

Gavin Wimsatt’s athleticism gives him a real advantage, but if a defense can load up against the run with no threat of being beaten downfield, that advantage gets nullified. Last year, Wimsatt led Rutgers to seven wins with a bowl game victory, a rarity, yet Greg Schiano still felt confident moving on from him for Kaliakmanis, who led one of the country’s worst offenses at Minnesota last season. 

Over his three seasons of college football, Wimsatt has thrown just 14 touchdowns to 17 interceptions and in 2023 only averaged 6.0 yards per attempt. On deep throws over 20 yards downfield, Wimsatt only averaged 8.4 yards per attempt which ranked 118th of 132 quarterbacks who attempted at least 25 deep passes. He was just nine for 33 on those throws. 

If Stoops is adding Wimsatt for depth at the most important position in the program, then this is a shrewd move, but he must make it clear that there is no quarterback competition or he’ll risk splitting his locker room and losing both Wimsatt and Vandagriff. 

Devin Leary. . . Devin Leary, QB. 3. Devin Leary, QB. Eligibility Remaining: 1 year. Arrived: 2023. player. 442

Devin Leary arrived at Kentucky with 26 career starts under his belt. After a stellar 2021 season at NC State, he returned as a Heisman dark horse, but underwhelmed and dealt with injuries. In 2021, he completed 65.7% of his passes for 3,433 yards and 35 touchdowns with just five interceptions, but the very next year he dropped to a 61.1% completion rate, 1,265 yards, 11 touchdowns, and four picks. 

Had Leary repeated his 2021 output, he would have left for the NFL instead of Kentucky, but even as a distressed asset, Stoops had to feel he could restore Leary to his previous form. Instead, his efficiency took a nosedive. In 2023, Leary completed only 56.3% of his throws for 2,746 yards with a 25/12 TD/INT ratio. 

Leary’s experience was a big part of the allure, but it failed to pay off in Lexington. The way to extract the most value out of the portal may be to target lesser-known commodities like Levis and Vandagriff instead of reclamation projects like Wimsatt and Leary, though this year will be the final referendum on that philosophy. 

Brock Vandagriff. Brock Vandagriff, QB. 2. player. . Arrived: 2024. Eligibility Remaining: 2 years. Brock Vandagriff, QB. 527.

Really, Brock Vandagriff is an unknown commodity, and since Stoops has gotten to know him this spring, he’s already added another quarterback with starting experience. However, there are still plenty of reasons to be high on the former four-star recruit who found himself stuck behind Stetson Bennett and Carson Beck in Athens. 

Like Levis, Vandagriff was buried on the depth chart, though Vandagriff only attempted 21 total passes across his three seasons with the Bulldogs. His value took a hit after losing a straight-up QB battle to Beck, but now that Beck is entering his second season as the starter with hype as the potential No. 1 overall pick in 2025, Vandagriff’s stock should be on the rise. 

Vandagriff reportedly looked athletic and decisive in his Kentucky debut during the spring showcase, but the lack of experience could outweigh his talent. If Stoops felt the need to add to his quarterback room, that’s a bad sign for the presumptive alpha in that room. Still, Vandagriff should have the inside track to starting and with a strong supporting cast should compete in the loaded SEC this season. 

Will Levis. Will Levis, QB. player. 491. . . Arrived: 2021. Eligibility Remaining: 2 years. Will Levis, QB. 1

Will Levis was stuck behind Sean Clifford at Penn State, but even in his limited reps as a gadget quarterback, Levis’s talent was obvious. James Franklin and the Nittany Lions stubbornly stuck with Clifford and let Levis get away, down to Lexington. 

Levis arrived with just 102 career pass attempts and three touchdowns to two interceptions but as a former four-star, had the profile of a potential starter. 

With Liam Coen as his offensive coordinator in Year 1, Levis thrived, completing 66% of his passes for 2,826 yards with 24 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. He also ran for 376 yards and nine scores, an element that he had showcased in his limited snaps at Penn State. Kentucky managed a 10-3 record, only the fourth double-digit win season in school history. 

Injuries derailed his second year and hurt his draft stock as Levis slipped from Day 1 of the NFL Draft to the second pick of Round 2, but entering his second season in the league, he is QB1 for the Tennessee Titans. No other quarterback whom Stoops recruited had that type of talent or pedigree.

Gavin Wimsatt's arrival could signal loss of faith in Vandagriff. Gavin Wimsatt's arrival could signal loss of faith in Vandagriff. dark. Next