Levis named UK’s starting quarterback, Gatewood enters transfer portal

Will Levis has already made an impression on Kentucky’s coaching staff. On Sunday he was named the starting quarterback by Kentucky coach Mark Stoops.

The Penn State transfer won the job a week into fall training camp, beating out returnees Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen. Upon hearing the news, Gatewood informed the team that he was entering the transfer portal. Allen will officially be the No. 2 signal-caller on the depth chart and Gatewood will no longer be working out with the team.

“We wanted the best decision for our football team to win games,” Stoops said. “We were ready (to name a starter) and it was the right time. If I knew this was the decision we were going to make, I wanted to give people like Joey the opportunity to transfer and go somewhere else. If you wait another week, then he’s trapped here. I thought it was the right decision to let him know where we stand. He appreciated that.”

Levis played in 15 career games at Penn State and completed 61 of 102 passes for 644 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 473 yards, including 260 yards and three touchdowns last season for the Nittany Lions.

“He’s been extremely efficient at running the offense,” Stoops said. “His first throw in the stadium was a 65-yard touchdown strike, off his first live play. He has a lot of talent and he has been doing some things very good and very efficient, He has unbelievable arm strength and he’s a big strong guy. He won the job.”

Stoops said all three players had been doing some “really good things” in the preseason, but said Levis stood out in a scrimmage Saturday, giving the staff more reason to believe he would be the team’s starting quarterback in the opener in less than three weeks. He added that giving Levis more time to work with the revamped offense will be beneficial.

“It is important to build continuity with the offensive players and the receivers, tight ends and running backs,” Stoops said. “I wouild never be pressed into that situation, we want it to be the right decision, first and foremost, over rushing it. Once we came to that conclusion, we felt there was no reason to delay this decision.”

Stoops said Allen was “stedfast” in his reaction to the news.

”That’s one of the great qualities that Beau has,” Stoops said. “He always steady — he does not ever get too high or ever get too low. For him, it was very business-like, just like always.”

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or T

witter @keithtaylor21.