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By LARRY VAUGHT
Since it’s only about two months before Kentucky opens the football season with a must-win game at Louisville if the Wildcats hope to salvage a respectable 2012 season, there is still not a consensus on who will be UK’s starting quarterback.
It could be senior Morgan Newton, an effective replacement starter for an injured Mike Hartline in 2009, a backup to Hartline in 2010 and a starter in 2011 before he was ineffective and injured.
It could be sophomore Maxwell Smith, who showed flashes of brilliance after taking over from Newton last season but was also injured and ineffective at times.
Or it could be true freshman Patrick Towles of Highlands, Kentucky’s Mr. Football last season and perhaps the best in-state quarterback product in 20 years.
But who should it be? Or who will it be?
That’s why I decided to ask former UK quarterback Dusty Bonner to make a case for why each player should be the starter. I didn’t ask him to pick a starter or explain who he thought was the best player, but merely to make an unbiased case for why each player could be the starter.
He’s played in 23 games and completed 183 of 352 passes for 1,764 yards and 14 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He was a highly-touted four-star high school quarterback in Indianapolis and went 5-3 as a freshman with wins at Georgia, Auburn and Vanderbilt in 2009 when Hartline was injured. But last year he was just 83-for-174 passing for 793 yards and eight scores with seven interceptions in 10 games.
“When you are talking just potential, and you have got the potential to be terrible as well as great, you look at Morgan and to me he has the tool set you want. He’s athletic, big. He has a good arm. I do not know how things did not go well at the beginning of last year, but it was just not him. Everybody was not flowing well. He did not get a lot of help.
“If you just look at him, he has all the tools you want. He can run. He has good size. He is a kid that you can say it is nice to have that weapon on the field behind center. He is a big weapon and has the potential to be more of a weapon than the others because he can run.”
Next: Bonner on why Maxwell Smith should be the starter.