Levis a natural leader for Kentucky – The Interior Journal

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KEITH TAYLOR

kentucky today

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis did not change direction this offseason.

“I don’t think my mindset has changed too much,” he said. “Since I’ve been playing college ball, I’ve really had the idea to come into the facility and earn the starting job whether I’m last on the depth chart or first. I still have to fight for this and win this every day and I understand that. »

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops witnessed the same thing.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis answers questions during SEC Media Days on Wednesday in Atlanta. Photo by Keith Taylor/Kentucky Today

“The way we know Will, he hasn’t changed at all,” Stoops said. “He took the reins a long time ago and never let go. He’s had a great season and all he’s really focused on is improving.

A year ago, Levis was a relatively unknown caller in the Southeastern Conference, but the transfer from Penn State won the starting job over Joey Gatewood and current backup Beau Allen and led the Wildcats to a season 10 -3 and a win over Iowa in the Citrus Bowl. He threw for 2,826 yards and 24 touchdowns, while rushing for 376 yards and nine scores.

Now that he’s a starting starter, Levis admitted the offseason was more enjoyable as the senior quarterback prepares for his final season.

“It’s a little less stressful for me,” admitted Levis. “It’s my first off season as an established starter and someone who’s not really competing for a job. It allows me to focus more on the leadership side of things and bring the guys together – working on chemistry – and I think I was able to improve a lot more throughout this offseason because of that.

With the starting job came more responsibility, especially from a leadership perspective, and Levis answered the call to become more of a vocal leader on and off the court.

“I’ve always tried to be a leader, but I think the way you lead changes a bit when you’re a starter,” he said. “I’ve been able to be a little more vocal and I’ve been able to be more outspoken with guys and be outspoken with guys. I’ve earned everyone’s respect for being able to do that. “I’m always going to lead by example like I always have and I think that’s the best way to lead. I’ll never lose that on my own.

Stoops likes how Levis has slotted in as a leader.

“He’s still leading and he’s a great leader, a great teammate, but he’s working on himself to become a better football player,” Stoops said. “That’s what you love about him and it’s contagious.”

The Kentucky coach also knows Levis hasn’t reached his full potential.

“Anyone can improve,” Stoops said. “If you look at the best players in the world and you can think of a few quarterbacks who are quite driven – constantly trying to improve. Look at Tom Brady, look at Peyton Manning – they were constantly working on their craft and trying to improve and Will has that mindset.

“He’s a very good football player but, like all of us, he can always be better,” Stoops said. “That’s what you like about him.”

Levis’ success last season brought more recognition for the Kentucky quarterback early in his senior campaign and doesn’t mind the extra attention. Some fictional NFL drafts rank him among the top 10 players.

“I try not to pay too much attention to it,” Levis said. “It’s impossible for me not to see it and that’s cool. I recognize it and my family, it’s cool for them too. I do not care. I just focus on the task at hand, preparing the team and working towards our goals.

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