By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky will have a four-way battle in spring practice to determine who is the No. 1 quarterback. Jalen Whitlow is the returning starter and Maxwell Smith, who also started games, is out after undergoing shoulder surgery. That will leave sophomore Patrick Towles, redshirt freshman Reese Phillips and incoming freshman Drew Barker splitting reps for offensive coordinator Neal Brown as the Wildcats hope to start putting together a more productive offense.
But what if another quarterback was at UK when preseason practice started in August?
No, I have no idea if it could happen, but remember the name Michael Brewer. He was supposed to be Texas Tech’s starting quarterback in 2013 but a preseason back injury sidelined him until October and he never got back to the top of the depth chart. Brewer, who threw for 440 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games during his career, intends to transfer after graduating from Texas Tech at the end of the spring semester and will be a graduate transfer eligible to play in 2014.
Brewer was a three-star prospect at Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas, and was regarded as a dual-threat quarterback with good speed and an excellent arm — the kind of traits Brown wants in the quarterback running his offense. He was part of four consecutive state championship teams and threw for 2,865 yards as a senior despite missing games due to an injury. As a junior the threw for 4,437 yards and 41 touchdown. He rushed for 593 yards as a junior and 743 yards his senior season. He only lost one game as a starting quarterback.
And check out his bloodlines. His father, Robert, played quarterback at Texas while grandfather, Charlie, also played quarterback at Texas. He has an uncle who played quarterback at Texas, great uncle who played quarterback at Texas Tech and another great uncle who played running back at Oklahoma.
So what could bring him to Kentucky? Simple — his relationship with Brown.
Check out what Mike Graham (@MGraham17), staff writer for RedRaiderSports.com and the Dallas Morning News, told me about Brown and Brewer when I talked to him after Brown was hired to run Mark Stoops’ offense at Kentucky.
“Quarterbacks love Neal,” Graham said. “I think next year’s starter, Michael Brewer, will come out of the chute and be successful because of what Neal taught him regardless of if Neal is in Lubbock or not. Neal was huge in Brewer’s recruitment and Brewer won two state championships at Lake Travis as a quarterback and one as a receiver. Neal has an eye for talent, no doubt. He typically recruited guys Texans knew about but didn’t covet. But those guys would show up on campus and impress you out of the box.”
Maybe Brewer will have no interest in playing for Brown. Maybe UK will have no interest in adding another quarterback, especially since Caldwell County junior star Elijah Sindelar could commit to Kentucky in the next few months. Then again, Brewer likes Brown, knows his offense, could play immediately and has not one, but two years of eligibility, remaining.
Brewer won’t be leaving Tech until the semester ends so he can graduate. Just file the name away and once signing day passes in early February, let’s see what might develop with Brewer’s future plans.