After a long battle for the position, the Kentucky Wildcats have named Patrick Towles as the starting quarterback for 2014. Head coach Mark Stoops made the announcement on Monday.
A redshirt sophomore, Towles saw action as a true freshman, throwing a touchdown pass on the first drive of his career and passing for 233 yards total. Injuries cut that season short for him, before his redshirt year last season.
Towles was the right choice for this team at this time. The other three quarterbacks in the competition all had flaws that Towles did not have.
Junior Maxwell Smith is not healthy enough to play. Despite having the most experience in the group, Smith’s surgically-repaired shoulder is not ready to go, so he was not a realistic option.
Redshirt freshman Reese Phillips has never played in a college game and does not have the accuracy to make longer throws in the “Air Raid” scheme of offensive coordinator Neal Brown.
The toughest decision had to be picking Towles over true freshman Drew Barker, a highly-touted recruit who, like Towles, is a Kentucky native. Barker has the strength, mobility and accuracy that can make him a good quarterback in Brown’s system. What Barker lacks at this point is experience. Despite leaving high school early to participate in spring drills with the Wildcats, Barker still needs some seasoning before he’s ready to play in the powerful Southeastern Conference.
Towles appeared to be the choice all along, and Stoops confirmed that choice Monday via Twitter. Now, it’s Towles’ job to get the Kentucky offense moving, which is something that they struggled to do last season.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.