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Five Realistic Transfer Options for Kentucky Football



Wisconsin Badgers Athletics

The transfer portal has transformed college athletics forever, but as head coach Mark Stoops has reiterated time and time again during his tenure, “you have to adapt.”

Just two days since the transfer portal has officially opened and over 1,000 players have entered their names. While this includes 8 eight Wildcats from this season’s roster – which Stoops said he has yet to see a name that surprises him – it also includes talented and immediate replacement options for Kentucky.

Given a lackluster 2023 recruiting class, and glaring holes on the roster – specifically at quarterback offensive line, and running back – the staff will look to bring in a decent number of transfers into the program


With that said, here are five of the best and most realistic options for the Wildcats.

Note: Rankings come from 247 Sports Composite.

Tanner Bowles (RG/RT), Alabama

Notable Stats: Backup, played 86 snaps in 19 games.
HS Ranking: Four-star recruit, No. 290 overall, No. 19 offensive guard

Kentucky needs help on the offensive line and looking at a former Glasgow high school star from Alabama will be one of the first places that Mark Stoops will look.


Coming out of high school, Tanner Bowles was ranked as one of the best offensive guards in the country. However, during his time at Alabama, he showed that he could play multiple positions on the offensive line, including center, right guard, left guard, and right tackle.

In four seasons with the Crimson Tide (including a redshirt season), Bowles never became a starter but appeared in all 12 games this season for one of the best offensive lines in the SEC.

Before his commitment in 2019, Bowles had a Crystal Ball pick to go to Kentucky. Given his prior interest in his home school and Kentucky’s need for such a player, the Wildcats will be the favorite for Bowles, who could give a huge boost on the ride side of the line where they need it the most.

Marques Cox (LT), Northern Illinois

Notable Stats: Helped NIU to the fourth-ranked rushing offense in 2021; NIU gave up just 10 sacks in 14 games to rank second in the country in 2021.
HS Ranking: 3-star recruit, No. 1306 overall, No. 32 offensive lineman


Marques Cox from Northern Illinois is a guy Kentucky has been focused on as soon as he announced he would be entering the portal and are leading the odds at the moment to land him. At 6-foot-6 310 pounds, Cox has the size and with over 2,000 snaps of college football, he has the experience.

Before his season-ending injury against the Wildcats back on September 24th, Cox helped lead NIU to the MAC Championship in 2021. In that season, the Huskies had one of the best rushing offenses in the country and gave up just the second least amount of sacks in the nation with (10). In comparison, the Wildcats gave up 42 sacks this season.

Known to be very good in pass protection, Cox would be a much-needed piece at tackle, arguably Kentucky’s worst position.

Graham Mertz (QB), Wisconsin

2022 Stats: 2,136 passing yards, 19 TDs, 10 INTs, 135 QBR
HS Ranking: 4-star recruit, No. 65 overall, No. 3 pro-style QB


With the loss of Will Levis, Kentucky will be on the search for a new QB1 and one of the hottest names in the portal is Graham Mertz from Wisconsin, a former 4-star pro-style quarterback.

Similar to Levis when he arrived in Lexington, Mertz has yet to put all the pieces together. While he does have the arm talent and leadership ability to succeed, he struggles under pressure and is inconsistent.

Mertz was not a four-star recruit for no reason – ESPN had him ranked as the No. 1 QB – and if he can find a place that can help him put the pieces together, the gamble could pay off. With the proven development skills of the coaching staff and explosive weapons like Dane Key and Barion Brown to throw it to, Kentucky could be that place.

With that said, the QB will largely be dictated by who Kentucky hires as their next offensive coordinator.


Stephen Herron (DE), Stanford

2022 Stats: 37 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
HS Ranking: 4-star recruit, No. 141 overall, No. 7 edge rusher

Coming out of high school at Trinity in Louisville, Stephen Herron was a four-star recruit and a top 150 prospect in the 2019 class before he committed to play for Stanford. After playing four years for the Cardinals, Herron has put his name in the transfer portal.

Prior to blowing up as a top recruit, Kentucky was one of the first schools to recruit Herron and he formed a close relationship with the late John Schlarman. With that relationship, Kentucky is one of the perceived favorites.

During his time at Stanford, Herron slowly developed but this past season as a senior, he proved himself as an impact player. After the departure of Jordan Wright and the potential departure of JJ Weaver, getting an experienced edge rusher is a must for the Wildcats this offseason from the portal.


Re’Mahn Davis (RB), Vanderbilt

2022 Stats: 232 rushing attempts, 1,042 rushing yards (4.5 yards per carry), 5 rushing TDs
HS Ranking: 3-star recruit, No. 1869 overall, No. 119 running back

Coming into the 2022 season, Kentucky had a deep running back room. However, that does not look the be the case next season as Chris Rodriguez will enter the NFL Draft as a senior, and both Kaviosey Smoke and Mike Drennen have entered the transfer portal.

This forces Kentucky to look towards the portal to add an experienced back and one with SEC experience is a great start.

Meet Re’Mahn Davis, a 1,000-yard rusher last season at Vanderbilt, including 129 yards and 1 TD against the Wildcats in their upset win at Kroger field in November. With 232 rushing attempts this season, Davis is a high-usage power back and is proven to be able to take the hits of SEC defenses with a respectable 4.5 yards per carry.



REPORT: Liam Coen Leaving Kentucky for NFL Offensive Coordinator Position



UK Athletics

On the eve of a huge recruiting weekend for Kentucky football, the program has received some bad news. Offensive coordinator Liam Coen is leaving for the NFL again, this time taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator position.

When Coen returned to Kentucky last offseason from the Los Angeles Rams, for his second stint as offensive coordinator, he talked about Lexington being a place that he and his wife had missed. In his return press conference, on January 12, 2023, he went as far as saying he wanted to be somewhere for a “few years”, at least.

“I want to go somewhere, make a real impact. Plant some roots for a little bit. Be somewhere for a few years — at least — that you feel really good about. I’m excited about being back in Lexington… I’m not in a rush to go anywhere.”


That “few years” was just a year, but to be honest, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. After many games last season, Coen talked to the media with frustration about fundamental things such as lack of discipline and dropped passes. Even then, it always felt he was holding his words back. With his name circulating around multiple NFL jobs, it was clear this was the direction it was heading.

Now for Kentucky, it’s about getting the next hire right. In a time where offense is becoming the premium in college football, going through five offensive coordinators in ten seasons is not ideal. Paying $1.8 million to Coen, they have shown they will pay amongst the top in the country. Now, go get someone who keeps this core of offensive talent, can recruit, and brings much-needed consistency.

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A Piece of Will Levis’ Historic NFL Debut Displayed in NFL Hall of Fame



Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis after his NFL debut.
© Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

During last year’s NFL Draft, Will Levis was one of the last players left in the green room after dropping to the second round. That moment fueled Levis, and he’s since earned the starting quarterback spot with the Tennessee Titans, appearing to have a bright future with the team.

Entering the season with no shortage of motivation, Levis entered the franchise as QB3 and wasn’t even on the active roster for the first six weeks of the season, being deemed the “emergency quarterback.” However, following an ankle injury to Ryan Tannehill in Week 6, the Titans gave their rookie quarterback an opportunity.

Levis certainly capitalized and had one of the best debuts in NFL History, throwing for 238 yards (19/29 passing) and four touchdowns. From the game, Levis has been put in the Hall of Fame. Well, at least his Houston Oiler throwback helmet from the performance has been placed on display in the Hall of Fame’s “Pro Football Today Gallery.”


Levis started his career with a bang and had his moments. The former Kentucky Wildcat will look to build on his rookie campaign, going into a year where he should be the starter under new head coach Brian Callahan.

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

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FB Recruiting

Cutter Boley Opens up on Playing for Kentucky, “This Is Where My Heart’s Always Been”



Four-star quarterback prospect Cutter Boley signing with Kentucky football.
© Scott Utterback/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the early National Signing Day for the class of 2024 being over, Kentucky’s newest signed quarterback Cutter Boley discusses why he committed to play at Kentucky.

“Just growing up in the state, you know, I’ve grown up a fan I feel like this is where my heart’s always been, and just the offense that Liam Coen runs and the job coach (Mark) Stoops does as head coach is phenomenal and I wouldn’t want to play for anybody else,” Boley tells Kentucky Insider.

Kentucky needed to get some quarterbacks after three players either graduated or transferred with Devin Leary graduating, Destin Wade transferring to Colorado, and Kaiya Sheron electing to transfer as well.


Kentucky was able to load up in the quarterback room by landing the Georgia transfer Brock Vandagriff, Georgia Southern transfer Beau Allen, and then signing Boley in the class of 2024. Boley is ready to compete against them and he recognizes their talent.

“I couldn’t be any more excited to learn from them. They’re two really good quarterbacks, like I said, and they’ll have countless things to teach me from the places they’ve been and the offense that they’ve been in,” Boley tells us. “I just can’t wait to learn the things they know and just be able to work and get to work with them.”

One of the reasons why Boley committed to Kentucky is due to him having a connection since he has lived here his whole life.

“Just growing up in the state, you know, I’ve grown up a fan I feel like this is where my heart’s always been, and just the offense that Liam Coen runs and the job coach (Mark) Stoops does as head coach is phenomenal and I wouldn’t want to play for anybody else,” said Boley.


As for finally signing his National Letter of Intent, Boley feels relieved to have it finished.

“It’s definitely a relief to finally put the pen to paper and make it official,” said Boley. “It’s been a long time coming so I couldn’t be any more excited about my decision and where I’m going to be for the next four years.”

What Boley is most focused on is how the offense is run, as at this time he feels like his play style is made to play professionally.

“I’m really hoping to develop into that pro-style quarterback, but I feel like I’m definitely a pro-style quarterback right now, but really develop into just being able to play in that offense at a very high level and get really comfortable in the offense, and I just want to develop all parts of my game and really be a quarterback that the NFL looks for and that type of quarterback they want to have,” Boley tells us.


With Kentucky having a chance to develop within instead of the transfer route, fans will have a chance to see a quarterback finally develop into potentially starting in the future.

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