Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Offseason spotlight: Kentucky
By Chris Low
Today, our offseason spotlight centers on the Kentucky Wildcats.
Spotlight: Quarterback Maxwell Smith, 6-foot-4, 224 pounds, rising sophomore
2012 summary: After opening the season as Kentucky's starting quarterback and throwing eight touchdown passes in the Wildcats' first three games, Smith missed the Florida game with a separated shoulder. He returned the next week against South Carolina and tore a ligament in his left ankle on the second play of the game, which ended his season. He finished 103-0f-150 for 975 yards, eight touchdown passes and four interceptions.
The skinny: Four different quarterbacks played meaningful snaps last season for the Wildcats, and three different quarterbacks started games. Smith was playing extremely well when he suffered his season-ending injury, but tweeted recently that he was healthy and ready to go for the spring. He'll have to re-establish himself as the guy to lead this Kentucky offense with Mark Stoops on board as the Wildcats' new head coach and Neal Brown coming over from Texas Tech to run the offense. It's no secret that Brown likes to throw the ball, and Smith would seem to be the best fit. But Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles also return for the Wildcats after playing some at quarterback a year ago. Whitlow ended last season as Kentucky's starter, but the Wildcats struggled to generate a consistent passing game after Smith was injured. The Wildcats are hopeful of getting a redshirt year for Smith, which would still make him a sophomore in 2013. He has the arm strength and physical tools to be a big hit in Brown's offense, but the new staff has made it clear that everybody will start with a clean slate this spring. Smith is no stranger to having to prove himself. He recruited Kentucky out of high school after not receiving any FBS offers and signed late. He wound up earning Freshman All-SEC honors and will be looking to display that same form this spring and offseason.