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Will Levis' Bowl Game Decision

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

Kentucky wrapped up their regular season last night with a win over Louisville, retaining the Governor's Cup for the fourth straight year. They finished the season with a 7-5 record, with mutual feeling across the board of an underachieving year of sorts. However, ending the year with a win over your rival helps ease some of the struggles of the past few weeks, as the team preps for their seventh straight bowl game, which is right around the corner.

The program will know their bowl game destination officially on December 4th, just eight days after their final game of the season. While this year will be a step back in terms of bowl status, I do not think that fans are really anticipating where they'll be headed, as much as the question of whether or not their starting quarterback will be participating in it. Over this historic bowl run, we have seen a culture built here of players opting to play in the bowl game, no matter what their draft status entails. With that being said, this decision for quarterback Will Levis seems a little different.

After being the highest projected Kentucky quarterback in the draft since Tim Couch, Levis has a major decision on the line. Of course, Josh Allen was projected just as high in the 2019 NFL Draft, in which he went No. 7 overall, so this isn't uncharted territory for Kentucky. However, after a season long fight to stay healthy, and still dealing with multiple injuries, it would make sense for him to sit out of this bowl game. It is a bowl game that is not very meaningful anymore, with it being an average tier level of bowl game, for a team that finished 7-5.

However, when thinking back to the culture, I could see him deciding to play in it to have one more go around as a Wildcat. That is because, at the end of the day, these guys are competitors. A thing that a lot of people do not realize is that these guys just want to win any opportunity presented to them. Despite the injuries and despite that bowl status, this is another opportunity for a competitor to go out with his teammates and take on a challenge and these guys thrive off of that. So, whatever he decides to do, I will support him and I will understand why he chose that. In my opinion, Will does not owe us anything else. He has given us plenty and I'm grateful he came here for two long seasons and never wavered in his approach to the game. He wore the blue in a very positive way.

During the postgame player interviews, Will Levis took a second to reflect on his time in Lexington and how much it has meant to him.

“First of all I’ve got to think about all of my brothers, I’ve got brothers for life and friends for life and just a lot of people that I’ll forever be in touch with and forever trust and love a lot. Other than that, the fans thank you for welcoming me with open arms and completely embracing me being the starting quarter back of the team. It’s a huge position to assume, being the quarter back for an SEC team, and I didn’t know too much about the fan base when I first got here but I quickly realized how special and supportive our fans are. I think I’ll always kind of look back on this last season and have a little bit of kind of regret or just feeling like we didn’t quite get to where we wanted to but I’ll sure as heck think about this game to feel a lot better about it!”

On that underlying regret that Will Levis says he will not have about his second season here is that it was pretty nice to go out on a win over Louisville, which kept him 2-0 versus them as a Wildcat.

“It was a great way to have the last home game here. We talked all week about how much this game means to us, to all our fans, the whole state really. Obviously the season didn’t go how we planned it but we knew that we’d feel a heck of a lot better about it if we win. We needed it, we got ready for it and we got it.”

After battling different injuries all season long, he was also asked how he managed to keep playing despite risking his draft stock and his body.

“I’m a competitor. I’ll always play if I can, I’ll listen to the trainers and they know, they’re the professionals, they know what’s in my best interest whether it’s to play or not and I’ve just listened to them all season.”

The first-round projected quarterback and once number 1 overall projected pick says he plans to announce his decision on whether to play or not in the bowl game in "less than a week", as the destination is close to being announced. I look for it to come during the middle of this upcoming week sometime, but that's just a guess.

While we wait for the announcement, Mark Stoops was also asked about his quarterback and what he believes he'll do as he wraps up his Kentucky career, and if this was his last game or if he might have one more in him.

"Yeah, I don't know whether it is or not. We'll have some talks and see where he is at. You know, hard to put in the words what he's meant to us, just his, again, toughness, leadership, you know, battling through adversity, having -- coming here and having a great year and going through an offensive coordinator change and getting beat up and having a year where he wasn't at a 100%. He fought through it. He's a true professional. He set the tone for us here. We absolutely love him, whether it's his last game or plays one more. I think the world of him, and love what he's done for us and don't want anything but the best for him and his future."

Looking back on Will's career, he finished with 5,233 passing yards, which ranks sixth on the program’s all-time list, just short of 331 passing yards to tie for fifth. In 24 games at Kentucky, he also has recorded 43 passing touchdowns, which comes in at fifth on the program’s all-time list. Will Levis also has a 17-7 overall record as Kentucky’s starting quarterback, tying Terry Wilson for the second-most quarterback wins since 1993. Levis is the third starting quarterback to defeat Louisville in back-to-back games, joining Tim Couch (2-0) and Mike Hartline (3-0). He is also the only Kentucky quarterback to defeat both Florida and Louisville twice.

He has set many records during his time here and the list could surely keep going, but for now we'll just leave it at that. Will Levis has been tremendous here and has set the tone, from the second he made it to campus, all the way to his last game inside Kroger Field. From earning the starting job just days into camp, to taking this team to back-to-back bowls, a near top-five national ranking, never losing to the Cardinals or Gators, becoming a viral sensation for eating old bananas and putting mayonnaise in his coffee, his time here sure has been a blast and I hope he has a great professional career.

He has helped turn this program around offensively, opening up a portal of players to want to transfer in here and in a pro-style offense that creates so much more diversity when the ball is in their hands. He truly helped changed the culture and I believe will go down as one of the most beloved in the Stoops era.



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