Looking To Stay Healthy In 2020
Entering 2019 Kentucky was coming off its first ten win season in 41 years. When the year began quarterback looked like a strong suit for Mark Stoops’ squad. However injuries ravaged the position forcing the staff to get creative moving Lynn Bowden from receiver to under center. A season later everyone’s healthy and big things are expected. Let’s begin our 2020 Kentucky Position Preview with the quarterbacks.
The Return Of “Terry Touchdown”
Big things were expected of Terry Wilson a season ago and he started off strong. Throwing for 368 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions he looked sharp. However in that second game against Eastern Michigan he was brought down by a controversial horse collar tackle.
The results were not good as he suffered a torn left patellar tendon and he missed the rest of the season. It’s a tough injury to recover from however by all accounts Wilson’s on track for the beginning of 2020. Take look at this video posted about two months ago.
— Terry Wilson (@TerryTouchdown3) April 23, 2020
From there he got True Blue Fans even more excited about 2020 with one tweet.
And I can finally say I’m back! And healthy!! Been a long road.. *3 is ready for the tour 😈 https://t.co/kKbZleXXXP
— Terry Wilson (@TerryTouchdown3) June 28, 2020
September 3rd can’t get here soon enough for the Big Blue Nation. Wilson’s been working hard on his throwing accuracy to go along with his canon arm. With Bowden now playing for the Las Vegas Raiders how quickly he develops a rapport with this year’s receivers is a key to 2020.
Continuing on with our first 2020 Kentucky Position Preview, let’s look at the player backing up Wilson. One that could be important in the upcoming year.
Staying Healthy Part Two
A little more than a year ago Sawyer Smith transferred from Troy to Kentucky giving the Cats a solid back up behind Wilson. However when he went down in the second game Smith stepped right in. Finishing the contest against the Eagles Smith threw for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
In the next game against Florida Smith had his best numbers. Throwing for 267 yards and two touchdowns the Cats jumped out to a lead. However he did toss three interceptions as the Gators rallied for a 29-21 win. Smith was injured making a tackle on one of the interceptions. He toughed it out through losses at Mississippi State and South Carolina. However it was obvious he wasn’t 100 percent and that’s when the coaches made the switch to Bowden.
Much like Wilson a healthy Smith gives the Cats a solid, experienced player should the need arise.
Last December former Auburn quarterback Joey Gatewood announced he was heading to Lexington. Coming out of high school he ranked as the 62nd best player in the nation by Rivals. As a true freshman he played in one game running for 28 yards in a 63-14 blowout of Purdue in the Music City Bowl. Heading into 2019 he and incoming freshman Bo Nix were locked in a quarterback battle won by Nix.
Gatewood played sparingly in seven games before announcing he was transferring. He likely has to sit out the 2020 season however if he did gain eligibility could push Wilson and Smith for playing time. More than likely he’s the Cats quarterback for 2021.
As we finish up our 2020 Kentucky Position Preview on the quarterbacks we look at two more players pushing for playing time.
Waiting In The Wings
Incoming freshman Beau Allen from Lexington Catholic High School chose the Cats over Cincinnati, Duke and others. During his senior season a senior Allen threw for 3,456 yards, 37 touchdowns and only six interceptions. As a result he won the Paul Hornung Award as the top player in the state.
The other quarterback vying for playing time is Nik Scalzo, a former three star prospect of our Florida. His biggest hurdle has been injuries. He suffered a knee injury during his senior year in high school, then last season tore his ACL. The coaching staff has been very impressed with him and if Gatewood is indeed ineligible look for Allen and Scalzo to push hard for that third string slot.
Proving The Doubters Wrong
Despite what the national media tells you the Kentucky quarterbacks, led by Wilson, are a strong group. All he’s done since coming to Lexington is go 12-3 and lead the Cats to their first New Year’s Bowl win since 1952. In addition he goes down as the quarterback who finally broke “The Streak” against Florida.
Even with all of that Wilson ranks near the bottom in SEC quarterback rankings. This only adds more fuel to the fire for a Kentucky Football team which already feels disrespected. Furthermore he has arguably the best offensive line in the league protecting him.
It just happens the Cats open up 2020 with a rematch against Eastern Michigan. That should help him work off the rust and also gain some revenge before they head to “The Swamp.” Behind Wilson the coaching staff has full confidence in Smith should the opportunity arise.
Thanks for checking out our first 2020 Kentucky Position Preview on the quarterbacks here at Last Word On College Football. Up next we’ll look at the backs and receivers where once again Kentucky has a strong group.