With spring ball behind us and the NFL Draft officially over, the 2021 college football season is officially on the clock. The Wildcats have some high expectations heading into the fall, but the quarterback position remains the elephant in the room.
Liam Coen was brought in to run the offense after Kentucky finished at the bottom of the SEC and in the FBS in seemingly every passing statistic in both 2019 and 2020. The Wildcats know they must fix the passing game and it all starts with the most important position on the field.
To help us get ready for everything that the summer will bring from a football note, here at KSR we will start a post-spring depth chart series over the next two weeks to discuss where things stand at each position on the field. To get it started, we’re focusing on the most important position in the sport.
Can the offense find a quality starter to allow the offense to complement their strong running game with a modern-day passing attack? Mark Stoops was happy with what he saw in the spring from both Beau Allen and Joey Gatewood.
“Both guys that are in competition for the starting job, they’ve alternated days and both have done some really good things,” Stoops said during spring practice. “You can see the confidence in both guys growing. They’ve really done a nice job. We’ve gotten the ball down the field better than we have in some time. That’s been good to see.”
Beau Allen: After missing on seemingly their top quarterback targets more times than not, the Wildcats landed their guy in the class of 2020. The Lexington (Ky.) Catholic product had a very productive prep career as he threw for 11,439 yards and 127 touchdowns while earning a high three-star ranking. After playing some as a first-year player, Allen is firmly in the competition as a redshirt freshman.
Joey Gatewood: Perhaps the biggest transfer addition of the Stoops era, it wasn’t very long ago when everyone was on waiver watch. Gatewood was cleared to play but did not make much of an impact last season. In his only start against Georgia, things did not go well. The transfer finished the year with just a 22.22 percent passing success rate on 36 attempts and a 40 percent success rate on 20 rushes. However, the new scheme could be a good thing for the junior. Gatewood appears to have the early lead for the position heading out of the spring.
Will Levis: The biggest wild card at the position is someone who is not even on campus yet. Levis spent the last three seasons at Penn State playing in 15 games and making one start. The former three-star recruit from Connecticut will arrive on campus this summer as a grad transfer and was Liam Coen’s first big recruiting win. The dual-threat quarterback has logged 644 career passing yards and 473 career rushing yards to go along with nine total touchdowns. He will get a long look during fall camp.
Nik Scalzo: The class of 2019 member entered the portal at the end of last season, but decided to stay in Lexington. The redshirt sophomore has suffered a couple of ACL injuries but has now been healthy for over a year. The South Florida native brings off-platform playmaking to the position.
Kaiya Sheron: The final recruiting win for former assistant coach Darin Hinshaw picked Kentucky over Marshall and enrolled early for spring ball. The true freshman from Somerset, Ky., missed some of his senior high school senior due to injury but was a pleasant surprise in the spring.
“Kaiya is the type of kid where he’ll make a throw, a big-time throw and then just kind of walk off the field like nothing happened,” Coen said during spring practice. “He’s a cool customer who’s got some stuff to him. He’s got a big arm. He’s done some nice things.”