Dawson and UK parted ways after the 2015 season, of course. Yet Wood, a 2017 Kentucky signee, will still be playing at UK for a QB coach who liked him as a prospect enough to offer a scholarship.
Louisville and Cincinnati were the first two schools that offered the dual-threat Lafayette QB. The UC quarterbacks coach at the time was Darin Hinshaw — the same Darin Hinshaw who is now the co-offensive coordinator and QB coach for Kentucky.
“I went to the Cincinnati camp the summer going into my junior year,” Wood said. “That’s when I met Coach Hinshaw. ... We did quarterback drills and stuff.
“I loved Coach Dawson, too. I thought he was a good guy and a good coach. But when I found out (Hinshaw) had been hired at Kentucky, I was excited and it was a good thing we already had a prior relationship.”
There’s been speculation that Wood’s lack of height — 6-foot, 189 pounds — coupled with his toughness and athleticism could lead to a college position change. On a recent appearance on WLAP radio’s Big Blue Insider program with host Dick Gabriel, Hinshaw said he was comfortable with Wood as a quarterback.
“He’s shorter, about 6-foot tall, but that’s fine. Drew Brees is 6-foot tall,” Hinshaw said of the New Orleans Saints star.
As a Lafayette senior, Wood threw for 3,047 yards and 30 touchdowns and ran for 1,321 yards and 31 TDs. He will miss Kentucky’s spring practice while he rehabilitates following surgery on a knee he injured in the Class 6A state championship against Trinity.
The scrambling style Wood displayed while leading Lafayette to back-to-back appearances in the 6A title game caused Hinshaw to compare him — strictly in an on-the-field capacity — to another 6-foot QB of recent vintage.
“He’s a gunslinger-type quarterback, a lot like Johnny Manziel,” Hinshaw said of Texas A&M’s 2012 Heisman Trophy winner. “(Wood’s) release is very, very fast. He’s done a great job at quarterback.”
National signing day
Today’s features on UK recruits Clevan Thomas and Walker Wood are the first of several we’ll be publishing in the Herald-Leader and on Kentucky.com over the next two days. Stay with Kentucky.com for live updates throughout signing day on Wednesday and pick up Thursday’s Herald-Leader for additional special coverage of the class of 2017.