Former Auburn Quarterback Heads To Lexington
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops and recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow have a saying when they pick up a player. They usually tweet out the word “Yahtzee!!” Thursday evening they got one of the biggest ones ever as former Auburn quarterback Joey Gatewood transfers to Kentucky.
A Highly Touted Recruit
Ever since Gatewood put his name in the transfer portal, Kentucky has always been mentioned as the landing spot. On his twitter page Gatewood made it official.
— Joey Gatewood (@Joey1gatewood) December 5, 2019
Coming out of high school in Jacksonville, Florida the six foot five 235 pound Gatewood ranked as the 62nd best player by Rivals. In addition he was the third rated dual threat quarterback. Named an Under Armour All-American Gatewood threw for 1,468 yards and 12 touchdowns. Furthermore he ran for 1,100 yards and 16 more scores. He chose the Tigers over a who’s-who of college football.
As a true freshman he appeared in one game the Music City Bowl. In the 63-14 blowout of Purdue Gatewood ran three times for 28 yards. Heading into 2019 he was locked in competition with Bo Nix. The incoming freshman won the starting nod and went on to set numerous school records. As a result Gatewood played sparingly, appearing in seven games. He scored a touchdown in the season opening win over Oregon. His best game came against Kent State where he ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns. For the season Gatewood ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns. In addition he completed five of seven passes for 54 yards and two scores.
A Crowded Backfield
With Gatewood’s announcement he’s coming to Kentucky he joins a very talented group of signal callers. Terry Wilson returns for his senior year after missing most of 2019 with a torn patellar tendon. In addition back up Sawyer Smith, who also missed part of this season, is also a senior.
Behind them you have junior to be Walker Wood and two freshmen Amani Gilmore and Nik Scalzo. In addition there’s incoming freshman Beau Allen from Lexington Catholic. However if there’s one thing True Blue Fans have learned in 2019 you can never have enough quarterbacks.
What Does He Bring To Kentucky?
In the Rivals rankings which go back to 2002 Gatewood is the fourth highest recruit ever at Kentucky. Under Stoops he ranks only behind Justin Rogers in this years’ class and Landon Young in 2016. The fourth player ranked higher was Micah Johnson in 2006. In addition he is the biggest quarterback recruit since Tim Couch in 1996.
With the news Joey Gatewood transfers to Kentucky the first question is: “what does he bring to the table?” We talked with Phillip Jordan who covers Auburn for Last Word On College Football. In addition he hosts the Talking SEC podcast. He gave some great insight on Gatewood.
“He has a high ceiling as a quarterback when put in the right system. When he first arrived at Auburn both coaches and teammates compared him to Cam Newton. Looking at his frame you can see the similarities in the two signal callers. Auburn used Gatewood mainly in the wildcat formation running read option. He does seem to be underdeveloped as a passer and had limited opportunity in the passing game sitting behind Bo Nix.”
“When Gatewood left the program there was a faction of fans that believed he got a bad deal and should have got more playing time. Especially since Nix struggled at times and Gus Malzahn saying the competition was very close in spring and fall camp.
Finally, Gatewood should fit nicely with what Kentucky likes to do offensively when you see what they were able to do with Lynn Bowden this season. If Gatewood develops as a passer the Wildcat offense could be one feared by SEC defenses.”
He will have to sit out the 2020 season and have two years of eligibility remaining. While the school undoubtedly will try to get him eligible next year it’s highly unlikely. One big reason is the Cats play at Auburn on October 3rd. You can’t see the Tigers wanting to face the guy who left them.
A Big Statement
Much like Kelvin Joseph transferring from Kentucky from LSU Gatewood’s pledge shows a real change in Lexington. Just a few years ago players of this caliber would never have give Kentucky the time of day. With four straight winning seasons and bowl games this isn’t the old UK Football program.
Again former Auburn quarterback Joey Gatewood transfers to Kentucky. It’s a huge pick up for Stoops and the Cats. As far as the current squad goes we will have a bowl preview once the game in announced. In addition Last Word On College Football has you covered for National Signing Day on December 18th.