On Sunday, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops announced his starting quarterback for the 2021 season. Stoops also revealed that another quarterback involved in the competition has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal.

During his press conference on Sunday, Stoops revealed that Penn State transfer Will Levis would start for Kentucky at quarterback. As a result, Joey Gatewood entered the portal in hopes of finding a new program.

Stoops said that he spoke with Gatewood about the decision and thanked the quarterback for his effort. Still, it wasn’t an easy decision for Stoops to have with Gatewood, given the signal caller’s history.

“I told him how much I appreciated how hard he’s worked. I know he’s been through this before so I knew it would be especially tough. Tough decision, not what he wanted to hear,” Stoops said, via CatsPause.com. “We had that discussion, had a good talk. He handled it completely professional and really appreciate him.”

Gatewood was a four-star recruit in the 2018 signing class and began his college career at Auburn. Gatewood played two seasons at Auburn, but he was never able to take over as the team’s starter.

Following the 2019 season, he transferred to Kentucky but didn’t factor heavily into the Wildcats’ offense last year. In 2020, Gatewood completed 48.6% of his passes for 109 yards and an interception.

Stoops admitted that he made the quarterback decision now so that Gatewood would have the opportunity to transfer if that’s what he wanted to do. If the Kentucky head coach waited much longer, Gatewood would not have been able to enroll at another program this fall.

“If I knew this was the decision we were going to make, I wanted to give people like Joey the opportunity to transfer and to go somewhere. If you wait another week, then he’s trapped here,” Stoops said. “I thought it was the right decision to let them know where we stand, and he appreciated that.”

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Gatewood was a four-star recruit and the No. 1 athlete in the 2018 signing class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. With Gatewood on his way out, Beau Allen will serve as the backup to Levis for the Wildcats in 2021.

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