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Kentucky Football’s Incoming Transfers Introduce Themselves



UK Athletics

On Wednesday, the media had a chance to talk to six out of the seven new transfers that transferred to Kentucky during winter break, with the exception being Jantzen Dunn (Ohio State). Each transfer is expected to come in and play significant roles, as they fill roster gaps.

With the influx of veteran talent to go alongside the young weapons that Kentucky displayed last season, the goal is to improve on an underwhelming 2022 season.

Let’s briefly look at what each player had to say in their introductory press conferences.


Devin Leary

Committing to Kentucky in mid-December, Devin Leary has only been on campus for three weeks and is still rehabbing from his surgery for a torn pectoral muscle he suffered back in October. However, he is still trying to make an early impact on his new team.

“Really just being able to get around the guys and really just, you know, prove to them through my hard work, prove to them, you know, I’m eager to be here,” Devin Leary says during a media interview.

“I am very happy to be here, but at the same time, you know, it’s an honor and privilege to be here. I need to prove to them that I’m going to put in the work that it takes, you know, a lot of time and that I take it very serious, but at the same time it’s grabbing those guys on the side and, you know, diving into the playbook, doing extra film, and just really building that camaraderie, like right now.”

Spring practice starts in about a month and a half, so we will see if Leary will be fully healthy to go for spring ball, if not he should be fully healthy to start off the season in 2023.


Ray Davis

In Liam Coen’s ‘re-introductory’ press conference, he talked about how important Chris Rodriguez and his ability to guarantee positive yardage has been to Kentucky. Now graduated, Coen and the program had to find another high talent back, which they found in the transfer portal.

Coming from Vanderbilt, new running back Ray Davis was tabbed as a four-star transfer and one of the best running backs in the portal. Kentucky will be Davis’ third stop in college football as he played at Temple University his freshman and sophomore years and most recently at the University of Vanderbilt for his junior and senior years.

One reason why Davis committed to Kentucky is he thinks UK was missing a few pieces towards the end of the year, that he thinks he can help with and get the Cats’ to compete in the SEC Championship

“Offensively, just knowing that they were missing just a few pieces once the season ended and I felt that, you know, if I come in and try to earn my spot, earn those reps, and try to get the starting job. I think I could help out the team and get us through that threshold of potentially competing for an SEC Championship,” Ray Davis says during a media interview.


Tanner Bowles

Tanner Bowles was one of two offensive tackles that Kentucky landed in the transfer portal. Bowles, who is from Glasgow (KY), recently transferred from the University of Alabama to Lexington. 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.

“There’s a point in time, where you can lead with your words, but before that, you have to lead with your actions, so I think while I’m here right now, I don’t know when the time would be if I, you know, had a chance to lead with my words, but for now I am focused on, you know, just leading my actions, doing the little things right,” Tanner Bowles says during a media interview.

Marques Cox

Marques Cox was the second offensive tackle that Kentucky added from the transfer portal, coming from Northern Illinois University as a redshirt junior. Cox, like Devin Leary, suffered a season-ending foot injury, four games into the season when NIU faced off against UK.

As a proven veteran, Cox knows that the offensive line will have to improve this season, and he will bear much of that load. If they can succeed, Kentucky will be more capable of using their offensive weapons.


“Just me and Tanner (Bowles) helping improve the offensive line and offense so they got weapons,” Marques Cox says during a media interview. “We got key players to do so, so it is just fixing everything.”

Keeshawn Silver

Now to the defensive side of the ball. One of Kentucky’s latest additions from the transfer portal was defensive tackle, Keeshawn Silver from North Carolina. Ranked as a five-star recruit in the 2021 class, the talent is there, but he could never get to a healthy playing weight at North Carolina.

One reason why Kentucky added him was due to Justin Rogers’s transferring to Auburn, leaving UK in need of another defensive lineman, which is where Silver comes in. Since arriving to campus, he feels like he has been able to build some great chemistry with his teammates.

“We talk daily, it’s really like the same things at Chapel Hill,” Keeshawn Silver says during a media interview. “I mean the guys, we bond together, have a good time, they like to have fun, I like to have fun.”


JQ Hardaway

Finally, the last transfer that was interviewed was defensive back, JQ Hardaway, coming from Cincinnati. A native of Columbus, Georgia, Hardaway is “happy” to be in the SEC, a conference many poked fun at him for not joining out of high school.

The SEC is the highest level of football in the country, but Hardaway believes that he belongs and is confident in his skill set.

“I’m just a ballplayer, man, I feel like I am very confident in myself,” JQ Hardaway says during a media interview. “I like to have fun, I got kind of a swagger on the field, I would say. I’m just very comfortable, I feel like I can be myself, I don’t have to be anyone. I just kind of let my talent speak for itself.”

Over the last four seasons, Kentucky has sent three transfer corners to the NFL – Lonnie Johnson (Garden City CC), Kelvin Joseph (LSU), and Brandin Echols (Northwest Mississippi CC) – and Hardaway committed to Kentucky with that in mind. Will he be the next?


Kentucky added some talented transfers this off-season and it will be interesting to see how they will have an impact on the team. Several questions should be answered over spring football, and hopefully, this group can help lead Kentucky to a better record in 2023.

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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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Kentucky Freshman Hayes Johnson Always Wanted to Play for Kentucky, “I Sure Wasn’t Going to Turn It Down



UK Athletics

Kentucky is looking to get back to the Big Blue Wall days and what is a better way than recruiting in-state players to beef it back up? The Wildcats were able to get both Aba Selm and Hayes Johnson to commit to Kentucky with both being from the state and it was a big get.

When it came to Johnson’s recruitment, he had his mind made up that he wanted to play for the Kentucky Wildcats and he will be able to do that come this fall.

“I mean honestly, it is just kind of like what I said when I committed, it is just one of the things that I dreamed of doing since I was a little kid,” Johnson tells KYInsider. “I got the opportunity, and I sure wasn’t going to turn it down.”


With him being from Kentucky he knows it will be a special moment for him to be able to put on the jersey and play inside Kroger Field.

“It’s just immense pride,” Johnson says. “I mean I take so much pride in the University and to be able to represent not only the University of Kentucky but the state of Kentucky and the people, and the people in my hometown, and plenty of other towns like this across the state. It’s truly amazing.”

For a while now, everyone has had big dreams for the Kentucky football program and that is to make it to Atlanta and compete for the SEC Championship and that is no stranger to Johnson at all.

“I mean personally, I mean, I’ve been a Kentucky fan all of my life, and I know what we all want,” Johnson tells us. “We all want to go to Atlanta, I mean that’s really it, to get to work and get to Atlanta.”


His goals for Atlanta will begin in January as that is when he plans to enroll at Kentucky and it sounds like he is ready to get to work and step foot on to campus very soon.

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Kentucky Football Signing Day Recap



The Kentucky Wildcats have signed their 2024 recruiting class.
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday was National Signing Day and Mark Stoops and the Kentucky football program were pleasantly surprised to land as much talent as they did, finishing 25th in the high school rankings and standing 7th in the transfer portal rankings. Between elite high school talent and highly sought-out transfers, UK got who they wanted and then some. Here’s a little bit about some of Kentucky’s top signees.

Georgia, QB Brock Vandagriff

Kentucky already got a look at Brock Vandagriff in Kentucky’s 51-13 loss to Georgia. The now redshirt junior threw for 46 yards and a touchdown, completing five out of seven passes against the Wildcats. According to folks close to the Bulldogs program, it was neck-and-neck for the starting job with Carson Beck this past season. Liam Coen got his guy.

Ohio State, RB Chip Trayanum

With 85 total reps this season as the Buckeyes’ backup back, Chip Trayanum ran for 373 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Kentucky has had a great lineage at the RB position (especially as of late), and the signing of Trayanum means that there’s a chance Kentucky adds to their list of great RBs.


Georgia, LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson

Having Brock Vandagriff has paid dividends in recruiting. All-American Jamon Dumas-Johnson joins Vandagriff on the move from Athens to Lexington. Dumas-Johnson’s 2023 season would end on November 4th as he broke his arm against Missouri. The senior finished this season with 34 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

Westerville North HS (OH), Edge Brian Robinson

Brian Robinson has a chance at being an impact contributor immediately for Kentucky. With the departure of Keaten Wade, the four-star recruit will compete for snaps all season long. Robinson has a super high motor and elite hands on top of incredible strength. Just an absolute workhorse.

Lexington Christian Academy (KY), QB Cutter Boley

Cutter Boley will play backup to Brock Vandagriff while being mentored by Beau Allen. Boley has a lot of talent and experience around him as he develops. However, Boley is already a solid player at the QB spot. He knows when to make the right pass and seems to always be on the dot. Can’t ask more from a QB.

Corbin HS (KY), OLB Jacob Smith & DL Jerod Smith

The Smith twins are going to be superstars in the blue and white. If there are any people who were born and raised to play Kentucky football, it’s the Smith twins. Both players have high motors just like Robinson, but they have tremendous footwork as well. It’s clear that Mark Stoops has a certain mold of player he wants on his team. Big, shifty, and overpowering, and the Smith twins are just that.


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