A Lot Riding On The Starter
Heading into the 2022 season Mark Stoops’ 10th Kentucky squad has a few question marks. However, the quarterback is not one of them. Will Levis is firmly entrenched as the man for UK. However, behind Levis, there’s definitely some reason for concern. Let’s break it all down with our 2022 Kentucky Quarterbacks Preview.
The Clear Number One
Heading into the 2021 season the Penn State transfer was an unknown commodity. He put up some decent numbers backing up Sean Clifford. Part of a three-way battle with Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen Levis eventually won the job. Under new offensive coordinator Liam Coen the junior completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,826 yards and 24 touchdowns. In addition, he ran for nine more scores. However, he did throw 13 interceptions which was number one in the SEC.
Coen went back to the NFL to reunite with Sean McVay. In his place, Stoops brought in Rich Scangarello from the San Francisco 49ers to lead the offense. He says the UK offense won’t change that much under him from what they ran under Coen. As far as the Big Blue Nation goes, for Levis to take that next step in 2022 by cutting down on the turnovers.
A Potential First Round Pick?
Levis looked into entering the 2o22 NFL Draft. However, he didn’t get the feedback he was hoping for and came back to Lexington. At Kentucky’s Pro Day back in April Levis turned heads with his performance. In fact, he’s worked his way up into the Top Ten. Furthermore, CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso has him going number one to the Houston Texans. The 2023 class possibly includes C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young yet Levis is projected ahead of them. In last year’s draft one quarterback, Kenny Pickett went in the first 73 picks.
As stating in the beginning Levis is the clear number one. However, behind him the old Crystal Ball is cloudy. Continuing our 2022 Kentucky Quarterbacks Preview let’s look at the players vying for the backup job.
The Battle For QB2
Heading into the spring the battle for Levis’ backup was a three-horse race. Lexington Catholic star Allen, Iowa transfer Deuce Hogan and Somerset, Kentucky native Kaiya Sheron all competed for the job. Unfortunately, none of the three did anything to separate themselves. Then a couple of weeks ago Allen announced he was transferring and is now at Tarleton State down in Texas. Of course, there’s another Kentucky connection at Tarleton as former basketball coach Billy Gillispie is their head man.
With Allen gone, Stoops said at Media Day the backup job is up for grabs between Hogan and Sheron. Between the two they’ve completed exactly one pass at the collegiate level. That came when Hogan threw one for two yards in 2021. Of course, he announced his transfer after coach Kirk Ferentz made an ill-timed joke about possibly having to play him with the other quarterbacks out. Hogan was the 15th best pro style quarterback coming out of high school. He could be a fit for Scangarello’s system.
Sheron was the 62nd best quarterback coming out of school. He rose to stardom after leading the Briar Jumpers to the Class 2A state title after taking his team 86 yards in 28 seconds to win the title. He led the Cats to a touchdown in the in the spring game. During “Fan Day” on Saturday Sheron was running with the second team offense.
Kentucky QB Kaiya Sheron completes a pass during second team reps.
Sheron was placed in the second team role over Deuce Hogan after former backup Beau Allen transferred to Tarleton State. pic.twitter.com/5p59bzHUBx
— Cole Parke (@ColeParke_wsc) August 6, 2022
Stoops says both quarterbacks have taken big steps upward in the summer. One of the things to watch going forward is who ends up in that role. As we finish up our 2022 Kentucky quarterbacks preview we look at a highly touted incoming freshman.
Quarterback Of The Future?
Incoming freshman Destin Wade didn’t arrive on campus until the summer but brought a wealth of talent to Lexington. The four-star player rushed for 1,463 yards and 21 touchdowns during the 2021 campaign. In addition, he threw for another 926 yards and 12 more touchdowns. He led his team to 25 straight wins before losing in the Class 6A title game. As a junior, he led the Spartans to the Class 5A state championship. With Levis graduating this year it could be a three-way battle in 2023 for the starting job between Hogan, Sheron, and Wade.
There’s no doubt Levis is the guy for the Kentucky football team in 2022. However, the question remains are they taking a risk by not having an experienced backup? After all the Big Blue Nation only needs to go back to 2019 when Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith were injured and they had to plug Lynn Bowden in under center. Of course, that worked out pretty well but for this year it’s definitely something to watch.
Thanks for checking out our 2022 Kentucky Quarterbacks Preview here at Last Word On College Football. Next time out we’ll look at one of the strongest groups on the team, running backs.