This was hardly a surprise. The starting job at quarterback was his to lose entering the 2015 season. Despite some heated competition from the freshman, prior experience proved to be a difference maker at Kentucky. Patrick Towles will be the starting quarterback for the Wildcats, Mark Stoops announced Monday.
Towles beat out freshman Drew Barker, a prospect with loads of potential in the future for Kentucky. The competition appeared pretty even out of the spring, but Stoops will bank on experience at the college level in going with Towles.
As a sophomore in 2014, Towles led the Wildcats in passing with 2,718 yards and 14 touchdowns while completing 57.3 percent of his pass attempts. He was picked off nine times, but none of those interceptions came within the opponent’s 40-yard line (9 touchdowns, 0 interceptions thrown inside the opponent’s 40). He completed exactly half of his pass attempts in the same area of the field though, which leaves some room for improvement if Kentucky is going to pull an upset in SEC play this season.
Kentucky opens the 2015 season at home against Louisiana-Lafayette of the Sun Belt Conference. It is a game worthy of some upset alert recognition and is followed by SEC conference games against South Carolina, Florida and Missouri. If Kentucky gets off to a poor start and fails to produce on offense, Stoops may be pushed into a situation where he needs to make a chance and go with the younger arm before reaching a bowl game becomes an even more difficult uphill battle.
Following up a strong performance in the spring game, quarterback Patrick Towles continued to make a statement in fall camp for the Kentucky Wildcats. On Monday, he was rewarded for his efforts by being named the starting quarterback to start the 2014 season in Lexington.
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops announced the news on Twitter.
Towles did not play for Kentucky last season with a redshirt, but did appear in five games as a true freshman in 2012. The former Mr. Football in the state of Kentucky and four-star recruit, according to Rivals, came to the Wildcats with some high expectations. After choosing Kentucky over offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati and Louisville, Towles mostly had to wait his turn to shine. That may have come in the spring game for the Wildcats, when Towles emerged as a strong candidate for the starting job this fall.
“I think you saw Patrick do some good things,” Stoops said after spring scrimmage. “Patrick is improved, you saw him a year ago and you see him now, you see the improvement and I’m proud of that.”
Towles had been floating on top of the depth chart this fall camp, so he was looking like the favorite for the starting gig. Towles beat out Maxwell Smith, Drew Barker and Reese Phillips for the starting job. Smith led the Wildcats in passing in 2013 with 975 yards and eight touchdowns after appearing in four games at the start of the season, and he was recovering from shoulder surgery. Barker is a four-star freshman joining the team this season. Phillips was a three-star recruit in Kentucky’s Class of 2013.
Kentucky will open the 2014 season at home against UT Martin on Saturday, August 30.
Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham could be looking to continue his football career this fall on a much smaller scale. After being dismissed from the program by Missouri earlier this month, there is a report suggesting Green-Beckham could be joining Eastern Illinois, the alma mater of Tony Romo.
As first reported by 247 Sports, it is expected Green-Beckham will be attending a program from the FCS. Eastern Illinois would make good sense as one fo the most competitive FCS programs in a relatively close proximity for a player who was once rated one of the top recruits in the country.
What’s more, Eastern Illinois could be adding another former SEC starter to the roster as well.
In the same report by 247 Sports, former Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow could also be looking to join the Eastern Illinois program. Whitlow ended up being the odd man out of the Kentucky quarterback position being led by freshman Drew Barker and sophomore Patrick Towles. Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops wanted to try to move Whitlow to wide receiver, but Whitlow decided to pursue a chance to start elsewhere. With Eastern Illinois losing Jimmy Garoppolo to the NFL, a spot is open.