CRAWFORD | Towles leaving Kentucky, but offensive issues don't l - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Towles leaving Kentucky, but offensive issues don't leave with him

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Quarterback Patrick Towles says he will transfer from Kentucky. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford) Quarterback Patrick Towles says he will transfer from Kentucky. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The quarterback always gets the blame. The University of Kentucky's football problems this past season didn't begin with Patrick Towles, and they will not end with his departure.

Towles announced his decision to transfer via Instagram on Sunday. He finishes his UK career ranked No. 6 on the school’s all-time list for passing yards. Towles will finish his degree in political science in December and will be eligible to begin his final season immediately.

“I would like to thank the University of Kentucky for giving me the opportunity to achieve my childhood dream of playing quarterback for the Wildcats,” Towles said in the social media post, expressing thanks to his UK coaches and athletic director Mitch Barnhart. “The last four years have been ones that I will truly cherish for the rest of my life. Although I wish my time here in Lexington could have ended another way, I'm eternally grateful."

Now, UK fans may look at Towles' performance this season and, while appreciating all Towles has done, think, "No great loss."

But quarterback is a time-intensive position. You never know when a quarterback is about to turn the corner, or whether all he needs is a differently structured offense. I can think of a half-dozen dropped passes that would've had Towles finishing this past season with a 7-5 record, and the toast of Lexington as the quarterback who led UK back to a bowl. I think back to Andre' Woodson. In his first two seasons, few quarterbacks looked more shaky. In his final two seasons, Woodson threw for 71 touchdowns and better than 3,500 yards each season. It helps when guys catch the ball.

Don't get me wrong. Towles is not Woodson. I don't know that Towles is sitting on a monster season. But it wouldn't surprise me if he puts up Jeff Driskel-like numbers at a new destination -- the former Florida quarterback threw for 3,575 yards this season (nearly 300 yards per game) and 24 touchdowns at Louisiana Tech.

Towles arrived at UK as one of the more highly anticipated recruits in recent memory when he signed with former Wildcats’ coach Joker Phillips out of Fort Thomas Highlands. A four-star signee, he played in five games as a freshman, and might’ve played more if not for an injury.

As a sophomore, he did not see the field in Mark Stoops’ first season as coach, but despite rampant rumors that he would transfer, Towles worked out over the summer with a passing coach and came back to win the starting job.

As a redshirt sophomore, he started all 12 games for the Wildcats and threw for 2,718 yards and 14 touchdowns, with nine interceptions.

He started UK’s first 10 games this past season, but his interception total (14) was higher than his TD total (nine) and his completion percentage (56) led Stoops to make a change for the final two games of the season.

In a statement released by the university, Stoops said: “I thank Patrick for everything he’s done for our team. I understand his decision and support him. He truly gave everything he had and I wish him nothing but the best.”  

His departure leaves UK with only Drew Barker, who started the final two games this past season, and Reece Phillips on the roster.

Gunnar Hoak, a four-star signee in the 2016 recruiting class, also is expected to participate in spring practice for the Wildcats.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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