Three battling for starting quarterback job at UK


Keith Taylor

Will Levis threw a pass during Kentucky’s Fan Day open practice last Saturday at Kroger Field.

By Keith Taylor, Kentucky Today

LEXiNGTON (KT) — The race is on to determine Kentucky’s starting quarterback this season.

Transfer Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen competed for the starting spot during spring workouts, but neither emerged as the clear-cut favorite. The addition of Penn State transfer Will Levis this summer gave coach Mark Stoops and offensive coordinator Liam Coen another option to consider.

Levis showcased his talents during Fan Day last Saturday at Kroger Field and threw some impressive passes while splitting with the first-team offense with Gatewood and Allen. The strong-armed Levis threw an impressive deep ball to Josh Ali following a bad snap. He connected with Rahsaan Lewis (son of  Hall of Famer Ray Lewis) on a perfect downfield strike near the end of the scrimmage. Gatewood launched a crowd-pleasing pass to running back Chris Rodriguez and had one of his passes picked off by Carrington Valentine.

Although Levis is relatively behind Gatewood and Allen in terms of experience with the revamped offense, he’s confident he will become more comfortable as fall workouts intensify the next three weeks.

“I think it’s a great offense to ultimately to get me prepared for my ultimate goal, which is to play in the NFL,” Levis said. “I think our personnel fits the offense really well. I’ve always been confident in my ability to throw. I know coach Coen is going to be confident in it as well. To be able to showcase my arm talent is really going to be exciting for me.”

As he attempts to make a move up the depth chart, Levis is taking the same approach he used while with the Nittany Lions.

“You’ve got to approach every day like you’re the man,” Levis said. “You want to have that mentality and be the best you want to be. You do have to prepare that way. … It really doesn’t change my preparation. It’s matter of going out there, executing and being a leader.”

Gatewood added that he took “great strides in the weight room and in the film room” over the summer and, like Levis, is comfortable with the team’s new offense anchored by Coen.

“I love it,” Gatewood said. “Like I said in the spring, I can’t get enough of it. I keep working and repping it and keep perfecting it.”

Much like Levis and Gatewood, Allen doesn’t mind the competition.

“I think it’s good,” Allen said. “We all know we want the best quarterback to start and we all want what’s best for the team. It’s going to make all of us better. “