Will Levis ready to lead Kentucky football after “unsurprising” decision being named starter


Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) looks for an open receiver during an open practice in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

Hunter Shelton

UK football held open practice to the media on Tuesday, allowing a look at the Wildcats just 18 days before they hit the field for their first game of the season. 

For most, it was an opportunity to see Will Levis in action for the first time since being named the starting quarterback by head coach Mark Stoops on Sunday evening. 

The junior transfer from Penn State found the decision not too surprising:

“I think that the reasoning for the (decision) made a lot of sense,” Levis said. “We were kind of shuffling around the reps and it was time to lock down who’s going to be taking those the rest of camp so, I think the decision was made at the right time and I wasn’t too surprised about it.”

Levis beat out Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood and sophomore Beau Allen for the starting position. The three had been sharing first-team snaps for the first part of Fall camp before coach Stoops decision was announced. Stoops also announced that Gatewood would be re-entering his name into the transfer portal, slotting Allen in at No. 2 in the depth chart.

Offensive coordinator Liam Coen reaffirmed Stoops’ decision on why Levis was the man for the job. 

“Will’s work ethic and the way he came in and ran the show,” Coen said. “Obviously you guys can see some of the arm strength talent and some of the things he can do throwing the football…I think right now he gives us the best chance to win.”

While Levis may be QB1, he knows he has a lot to work on from now until kickoff against UL Monroe on September 4:

“Just being a leader for the team,” Levis said when asked what he needs to get better at. 

“His personality is one of which that guys kinda naturally follow,” Coen said.

Being “the guy” is not something that Levis has truly gotten to experience yet in college. In his three seasons at Penn State, he played in 15 games, but only started in two. He’s often been the next option down the list, but this time at UK, he’s at the top of that list. 

“It’s a great feeling just to know that I’m entrusted with running this offense and I’m excited to get going,” Levis said.

All the intangibles and football lingo aside, coach Coen put it best when describing why Levis is the guy:

“He had to earn it and he did it every single day, I think we saw probably what some of you guys see when he throws the football, he gives you a chance.”