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Former Kentucky QB Shows High Praise for Devin Leary, Says He Will Be the Best QB Under Stoops

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Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary points to the sky during practice.
Your Spots Edge/ Vicky Graff

On the August 16th edition of Kentucky Sports Radio, Matt Jones brought on special guest Freddie Maggard to discuss the quarterback situation at UK. Considering that he is a former Kentucky quarterback and was the Director of Player Development under Stoops for a season, his comments do carry some weight.

Best QB of the Mark Stoops Era?

To open their discussion, Maggard talked about how good Devin Leary can be compared to other QBs in the Mark Stoops era.

“Two years ago, you asked Kash Daniel and I who was the best Mark Stoops quarterback. We both said Terry Wilson, even though Will Levis was on campus. I can now change that to Devin Leary. [Devin Leary] will be the best quarterback that Stoops will have coached at Kentucky.”

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Maggard went on to justify why he thinks Leary could be better than Levis was at UK, saying, “Devin Leary is more experienced as a starting quarterback. Will Levis was not when he got here. Leary has thrown 64 touchdowns compared to 16 interceptions. Levis threw 43 touchdowns to 23 interceptions.”

He added, “So, I see Devin Leary as more of a processor in the pocket. He is more experienced as a pure pocket quarterback, and I think that’s what Liam Coen wants to see. Operation in the pocket, that experience, break down a defense, and distribute the football to some exciting pass catchers, especially Barion Brown and Dane Key.”

Why Leary Can Be A Top-Tier SEC QB

Matt Jones asked Maggard if he agreed with the sentiment that Levis is a better runner and ‘deep ball thrower’, and that Leary is a better short-yardage passer with better accuracy.

Maggard responded, “I do, but I also give Leary more credit for the deep ball than others do because of timing. Matt, you go on campus or on the football facility, there’s 50 guys that can throw the football 50 yards. That’s not hard to do, especially if you do it your whole life. I think Leary, with the timing of those deep balls, will be just as good as Will.”

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Part of why Maggard thinks Leary can be so successful at Kentucky is because of the talented receiving core around him.

“You got three receivers back (Barion Brown, Dane Key, and Tayvion Robinson). That’s over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns. You have the tight ends. Jordan Dingle has not practiced yet, but if you include him in that group, that’s 37 catches and four touchdowns. That’s everything you need.”

Maggard also talked about how the depth in the backfield will benefit Leary.

“You don’t have Chris Rodriguez, you don’t have a Benny Snell, but you got the best collection of running backs that Stoops has had.”

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So, if Leary has the potential to be the best QB in the Stoops era, where exactly could he be ranked compared to the other QBs in the SEC this season? Here’s what Maggard thinks:

“There’s gonna be quarterbacks that throw more yards, more touchdowns, and more accolades because of scheme and system. As far as efficiency of what I would look for in a quarterback, I wouldn’t take any signal caller in the conference over Devin Leary.”


Devin Leary has a lot of potential to be great this season. He has the chance to be one of the UK all-time greats, according to Freddie Maggard. Considering Kentucky went 10-3 in 2021 with Will Levis taking snaps, one has to wonder how good Kentucky football can be this fall, thanks in part to the NC State transfer.

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FB Recruiting

Four-Star Safety, Top 200 Recruit Martels Carter Jr. Commits to Kentucky

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2025 Four-star safety Martels Carter Jr commits to Kentucky Wildcats over Auburn, Colorado, and Louisville.
UK Athletics

YAHTZEE!

The Kentucky Wildcats have added the top-ranked player in the state and one of the top safeties in the country to their 2025 recruiting class.

On Saturday, Martels Carter Jr. announced his commitment to the Wildcats!

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“BBN I’M HOME”

A unanimous 4-star prospect and top 20 safety nationally, Carter chose the Cats over finalists Auburn Tigers, Colorado Buffalo, and Louisville. He also held offers from some of the biggest programs in the sport, including Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, and Oregon among others.

Originally from Chattanooga, TN, Carter moved to Paducah last summer where he starred for Paducah Tilghman High School, helping them to an undefeated regular season and a deep run in the 4A state playoffs, falling in the semifinals.

While it’s okay to celebrate his commitment, it will still be a battle until signing day. Auburn is seen as Kentucky’s biggest threat with Carter planning multiple visits, and he also has a family connection to Deion Sander’s Colorado program.

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That said, he will almost certainly take an official visit to Kentucky this fall. Vince Marrow has made Carter a priority of this class and will do everything in his power to retain the talented defensive back.

Carter makes the sixth commitment for Kentucky’s 2025 class, to go along with two talented offensive players and fellow four-star recruits Quintin Simmons Jr (WR) and Marquise Davis (RB).

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

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REPORT: Liam Coen Leaving Kentucky for NFL Offensive Coordinator Position

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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.”

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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

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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.”

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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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