Who Is QB1 ?
For the first time since 2017 someone other than Terry Wilson will be Kentucky’s quarterback. After three years in Lexington, Wilson took advantage of the extra year granted by the NCAA and transferred to New Mexico. That means a new man under center for new offensive coordinator Liam Coen’s attack. Fortunately for him he’s got several great players to choose from. Does one have the advantage heading into the season? Let’s take a look with our 2021 Kentucky Quarterbacks Preview.
Leader In The Clubhouse?
After two years at Penn State Will Levis put his name in the transfer portal and on February 5th announced he was heading to Lexington. During his years at Penn State, Levis appeared in 14 games completing 60% of his passes for 644 yards and three touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 473 yards and six scores. Levis had his best game in a 30-23 loss to Nebraska rushing for 61 yards and throwing for 219.
By all accounts, arm strength is not a problem for Levis. In fact a video went viral about a month ago when the UK signal caller hit the crossbar from the 50 yard line while kneeling.
Thats my quarterback pic.twitter.com/90fCuJKKLH
— Matt Sak (@MattSakBBN) June 26, 2021
For many in the Big Blue Nation it hearkened back to the late great Jared Lorenzen who did similar things more than 20 years ago when he was in high school. However while arm strength isn’t a problem for Levis, accuracy has been. To that end college football’s biometrics mastermind Rob Williams has been working with Levis for over a year. Like most of the country, the two have been working remotely exchanging videos in hopes of breaking down his issues to make him a more accurate passer.
Word came out recently if the season started today Levis would be the starting quarterback against Louisiana-Monroe. Of course there is still training camp to go so that remains to be seen.
Continuing on with our 2021 Kentucky Quarterbacks Preview we turn to the other two guys vying for the job.
Two More Big Time Candidates
If the starter isn’t Levis for the Cats then it’s going to be either Beau Allen or Joey Gatewood. The battle between the three is the major storyline heading into Mark Stoops’ ninth season in Lexington. We’ve looked at Levis, now let’s profile the other two quarterbacks.
A Top 50 prospect coming out of high school Gatewood originally committed to Auburn. However after losing the starting job to Bo Nix Gatewood hit the transfer portal ending up at Kentucky. Appearing in six games in 2020 the sophomore completed 17 of 35 passes for 109 yards and one interception. In addition gained 62 yards on the ground.
As a freshman a season ago, Allen appeared in two games, mostly in a relief role. In limited time he completed three of seven passes for 40 yards. All of the completions came in the Cats 38-35 win over Vanderbilt. The highly touted local product out of Lexington Catholic High School won the Paul Hornung Award as the best player in Kentucky in 2019.
Finishing up our 2021 Kentucky Quarterbacks Preview we look at a pair of signal callers looking for playing time in 2021.
Looking To Stand Out
In addition to Allen, Gatewood and Levis there’s two other players hoping to impress the coaching staff. Sophomore Nik Scalzo rose to fame after appearing in season three of Netflix’s “QB1: Beyond The Lights” alongside Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler. However his time at Kentucky has been hampered by injury. After suffering an injury during his senior year of high school Scalzo tore his ACL in 2019 and did not see game action last year. Following the season he entered the transfer portal before ultimately deciding to stay in Lexington.
Kentucky’s final quarterback currently in camp is freshman Kaiya Sheron. The early enrollee out of Somerset High School led his team to a state title in 2019. Sheron chose the Cats over Marshall and West Virginia. In addition he drew interest from Louisville and Purdue. While he remains the longest shot on the board as an early enrollee he has a chance to make a strong impression.
A Special Season?
Expectations around the Kentucky program for 2021 are as high as they’ve ever been. However the biggest question mark is at the marquee position. A big part of the excitement is the new look offense under Coen. Unfortunately no one’s seen what the attack looks like due to the fact there was no spring game for a second straight year. We’ll have to wait until September 4th to see it in action.
As mentioned earlier “Insiders” around the program think Levis has the inside track on the starting job. It makes sense as Coen recruited him coming out of high school and went after him specifically once he hit the transfer portal. However as any Kentucky fan knows you can never have too many quarterbacks. You only need to go back two years ago when both Wilson and Sawyer Smith were lost to injuries. Of course the Cats hit the reset button moving Lynn Bowden under center and he went on an award winning run. Whether it’s Allen, Gatewood or Levis the Cats need strong quarterback play to have a big year.
Thanks for checking out the 2021 Kentucky Quarterbacks Preview here at Last Word On College Football. Who’s your pick for the Wildcats’ signal caller? Leave a comment in the section below or on our twitter page. Next time out we’ll look at the UK running backs and wide receivers which includes a possible All-SEC player in Christopher Rodriguez.