UPDATE: Sunday, 5:15 p.m.
Will Levis will indeed be Kentucky’s starting quarterback for the season opener Sept. 4 against Louisian-Monroe. We wrote about that possibility earlier in the week (see original story below), and the news was confirmed by media outlets in Kentucky this afternoon.
Source tells KSR that Mark Stoops informed the team this weekend that Will Levis will be the starter at Quarterback for Kentucky in Game 1
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) August 15, 2021
Will Levis will start at quarterback for Kentucky in its season-opener. @KySportsRadio first reported, can confirm that report.
Mark Stoops holding a news conference to address the QB situation at 6 p.m.
This happened much more quickly than I anticipated. Levis must’ve wowed.
— Josh Moore (@JoshMooreHL) August 15, 2021
Stoops says Will Levis "just won the job" with incredible talent, arm strength and efficient operation of the offense. "This was clear."
Says first throw in the stadium was a 65-yard TD strike and on graded reps, he's been 74 percent.
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) August 15, 2021
We never got to see much of Will Levis actually playing quarterback at Penn State, since he was used more as a pure running option and wasn’t allowed to throw much.
It was no surprise, then, that Levis decided to transfer, what with Sean Clifford having two more years of eligibility remaining.
Levis chose to go to Kentucky, and at this point, he appears to be in a good position to win the starting quarterback job there.
Levis is competing with Beau Allen and Joey Gatewood for the job. And it sounds as if Levis could be in the lead, according to Kentucky associate head coach Vince Marrow’s comments after practice Tuesday.
“All three of them are doing good things, but I’m liking Will. Will’s doing some pretty good stuff,” Marrow said, from the video in the tweet below.
Vince Marrow talks with our @MaggieDavisTV about UK's current QB situation after today's practice:
"All three of them are doing good things, but I'm liking Will [Levis]… Will has been more consistent, and more, the ball is coming out… and it's looked pretty good…" pic.twitter.com/wXbEOZogwD
— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) August 11, 2021
Marrow continued: “More consistent, but making some big throws. And not saying the other two guys ain’t making throws. But he’s making throws that, I’m like, wow. … Will’s been more consistent and more the ball coming out and coming out with, it’s looked pretty good. Not saying the other guys haven’t. But it’s like Will has a feel for it.”
Marrow noted he’s “also been impressed” with Allen, but again came back to Levis to close his response.
“Will just seems to really, that ball comes out, from what I see,” Marrow said.
Here’s a video of Levis discussing why he chose Kentucky out of the transfer portal.
Will Levis says Kentucky was one of the first schools to reach out to him in the transfer portal, and after a few talks with Mark Stoops he knew there “wasn’t a much better opportunity than this.” @will_levis pic.twitter.com/x6jPD2p6jO
— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) August 6, 2021
“Kentucky was one of the first schools that reached out to me, and from the start I knew that that opportunity, it might not get better than that,” Levis said before later adding, “I just really became confident that this is a place I can thrive on.”
Levis got the start for Penn State last year against Iowa when Clifford got benched. Levis completed 13-of-16 passes but for just 106 yards, as the coaches didn’t really let him turn it loose down the field. The Lions fell behind big, and Clifford replaced Levis, who then was relegated to backup duty and primarily running the ball the rest of the season.
Levis completed 33-of-55 passes for 421 yards with one TD and no interceptions. He has a tremendous arm, which has been showcased on social media.
Kentucky is coached by Mark Stoops, and the new offensive coordinator is Liam Coen, who spent the past few seasons with the Los Angeles Rams.
Coen said recently that Levis is not the hand-picked guy to start at quarterback, and that Levis will have to earn the job. Here’s what Coen said, from this report out of Kentucky:
“What he’s come out and done is a testament to his work ethic and the type of kid he is and how smart he is and how he prepares,” Coen said. “He’s doing a nice job just like those other guys. … At the end of the day, if he’s the guy, he’s going to be because he earned it, not because he was handed it.”