UK Football

Sawyer Smith is officially UK’s starter against Florida. Who will back him up?

Why did Sawyer Smith pick Kentucky?

Kentucky quarterback Sawyer Smith explains why he picked UK as a graduate transfer after playing at Troy. Smith earned MVP honors in Troy’s win in last season’s Dollar General Bowl. Smith has two years of eligibility remaining.
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Kentucky quarterback Sawyer Smith explains why he picked UK as a graduate transfer after playing at Troy. Smith earned MVP honors in Troy’s win in last season’s Dollar General Bowl. Smith has two years of eligibility remaining.

Sawyer Smith has officially been named the starting quarterback for Kentucky leading up to its football game against Florida at Kroger Field this Saturday.

His backup will be sophomore Walker Wood, who redshirted his first season on campus and did not play for the Wildcats last year. The former Lafayette High School standout has undergone multiple surgeries during his time at UK. Wood his final high school season won the Paul Hornung Award and was a Mr. Football finalist. He led the Generals to two straight appearances in the Class 6A finals in 2016 and 2017, and as a senior rushed for 31 touchdowns and threw 30 TDs. He was considered a three-star prospect out of high school.

True freshman Amani Gilmore, who did not go through spring camp, is the only other scholarship QB available on the Cats’ roster. Recruiting service 247Sports rated the 6-foot-2, 180-pound product of Amie, La., as a three-star prospect and the 39th best pro-style quarterback in the class of 2019. Gilmore in his last year of high school led Amite High School to the Class 2A title in Louisiana and accumulated more than 2,000 yards of total offense.

“We have confidence in Walker and Amani,” UK head coach Mark Stoops said. “They just they need a lot of reps. You know, they need some time.”

Smith is a graduate transfer from Troy who was listed as the backup against Toledo and Eastern Michigan. He played his first snaps as a Wildcat on Saturday after Terry Wilson, the starter in UK’s previous 15 games, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter.

UK lost Nik Scalzo, another true freshman quarterback, to an ACL injury last month.

Phil Hoskins back

Senior lineman Phil Hoskins is available this week after a two-game suspension due to an academic issue. He is listed as the backup behind Calvin Taylor Jr. at defensive tackle; sophomore Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald was Taylor’s backup each of the last two weeks and was involved in one tackle.

“What I like about Phil is he brings us a little different dynamic, brings us some quickness in that defensive line,” Stoops said of the 6-foot-5, 310-pound senior. “And again, we’re fairly big and strong, but, you know, it’s good to have Phil in there. He’s just a different guy. He’s a little bit looser. He plays a little bit faster, a little twitchier, so he’s a good change up.”

Click here for Kentucky’s depth chart for the Florida game this weekend.

Josh Moore is in his first year covering the University of Kentucky football team and in his fifth year reporting for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he’s been employed since 2009. Moore, a Martin County native, graduated from UK with a B.A. in Integrated Strategic Communication and English in 2013. He’s a huge fan of the NBA, Power Rangers and country music.
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