The much-discussed quarterback competition for the Kentucky Wildcats may actually be coming to an end. On Monday, head coach Mark Stoops announced that the quarterback competition was down to two players, from three, but he would not say which two quarterbacks remain in contention for the starting job.
Most are suspecting that the job is up for grabs between sophomores Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow. Smith was the starter last season, before being injured and redshirting, while Whitlow became the starter after Smith went down. Both players have had the experience of starting against Southeastern Conference opponents, and both apparently have looked fairly solid in fall camp.
Smith seems to fit Neal Brown‘s offense better, because of his accuracy passing, but Smith has not been a clear leader in the competition, unless the coaching staff is using a smokescreen when talking to the media.
Whitlow is more of a dual-threat quarterback who can make plays with his arm and his legs. If Whitlow is the starter, it gives Brown more options than he would have with Smith behind center. Whitlow looked good in the UK spring game in April, and that momentum has apparently carried into fall camp.
The player that seems to be the odd man out in the competition is Patrick Towles, a former four-star recruit from Ft. Thomas (Ky.) Highlands High School. Towles seemed to be the heir apparent when he arrived on campus, but he was not able to take the job when he had a chance last season. And, he has apparently not been as good as the other two quarterbacks during fall camp.
If Towles is the one on the outside looking in, it will be interesting to see what he decides to do. He could redshirt this season, and would have three seasons left to play. However, Kentucky has another four-star recruit, Drew Barker, coming in for next season.
Towles could also elect to transfer. If he does, Kentucky has Reese Phillips, a true freshman, who would apparently move to third on the depth chart. Phillips has received praise from Brown during fall camp.
Until the staff makes an official announcement, which may not be any time soon, most are assuming that Smith or Whitlow will be the quarterback. But no one outside of the program may know who the starter is until the Wildcats take the field on August 31 against Western Kentucky.