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By LARRY VAUGHT
He’s never seen Patrick Towles play a game or watched actual game footage of him, but former Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson has seen enough highlights and heard enough reports that he can’t wait to see the UK freshmen perform once preseason practice starts Friday.
“Just from the highlights you can tell how much talent he has. He showcases a lot of ability with running, throwing it, leadership skills,” said Woodson, a graduate assistant coach who works with the quarterbacks. “I think the kids right now really like him a lot.
“When we get to go into camp, it will be interesting to see how much we can really throw at him at one time. Usually with young quarterbacks it is difficult for them to pick up really quick, but I think the kind of kid he is and what he has been showing so far is that he is willing to take that challenge and overcome that. He is a SEC quarterback and ready to compete.”
Towles was named a Parade All-American and Kentucky’s Mr. Football after completing 171 of 279 passes for 3,820 yards and 42 touchdowns with just one interception in 2011. He also rushed for 589 yards and 15 scores to help lead Highlands to its third straight state championship.
During his career he passed for 7,429 yards and 73 touchdowns and ran for 38 scores and 1,718 yards, reasons he was ranked among the nation’s top high school 10 quarterbacks by several recruiting services last year.
He was coached at times at Highlands by former UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen as well as former Cincinnati Bengals receiver Cris Collinsworth. He’s also the grandson of baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning.
“I can’t wait to help coach him,” Woodson said. “I think kids like him is what makes coaching fun. Obviously they get a thrill out of competing and are just naturally born like that. They just want to do what it takes.
“And if you have a kid who is really young and doing really well, then you have seniors and juniors that know this kid is right behind them and competing so they have to step it up even more. They need to get in the film room, work with the receivers more. It just makes the team better if everyone is truly competing with each other and trying to get each other better and develop into better players. Patrick will bring that to our team.”