Will Levis has 'all the intangibles' to find success in NFL, says Kentucky HC Mark Stoops
Will Levis could go No. 4 to the Indianapolis Colts. He could go No. 7 in a trade with the Raiders or just get picked by the Raiders. He could go No. 14 in a trade with New England.
Most NFL Draft prognosticators think an opening-round run on QBs is coming in the 2023 NFL Draft later this month, but the collective is far from consensus on which quarterback is going when.
Ohio State’s CJ Stroud and Alabama’s Bryce Young are viewed as the top 2. Florida’s Anthony Richardson is the wildcard. And then there’s Levis, who was excellent in Year 1 with Kentucky but under a bit more duress in Year 2.
Levis’s passing marks were similar. He completed 66% of his throws in 2021 and then 65.4% in 2022. He averaged 7.7 yards a pass and then 8.3. He threw fewer interceptions in 2022 (10 down from 13) but also threw fewer touchdowns. For the first time in his career, he ended a season in the red in the rushing department.
“This past year, it is what it is,” said Kentucky coach Mark Stoops during a recent appearance on SiriusXM. “I know everybody’s gonna analyze that and look at things and, listen, he doesn’t need me to make excuses for himself and he doesn’t need to make excuses. There are some plays maybe he was pushing it, maybe he was forcing it. Things happen. We weren’t as good. I take responsibility for that.
“We weren’t as good around him, we didn’t protect him as well. … I’m still quite confident in Will’s ability, the way he can lead and the way he can play. Somebody is gonna be extremely pleased to have him on their roster, I can promise you that.”
Of course, Stoops is going to stump for his quarterback. He wants to see Levis find success, and a 1st-round quarterback wouldn’t hurt Kentucky on the recruiting trail. But Stoops is confident Levis has the mental makeup to find NFL success.
“He has all the intangibles you’re looking for to build a franchise around,” Stoops said. “He has the leadership capabilities. He has an unbelievable work ethic about him. Anything that is a weakness for him right now, he will eventually turn into a strength because that’s just how he attacks each and every day.
“Ability-wise, he came in that first year and hadn’t played much football. You saw what the right system (could do), and we had good players around him. We had 3 NFL offensive linemen on that team. And his first year here he really lit it up. Played exceptionally well and led us to 10 (wins), which we hadn’t done a whole heck of a lot of around here. Just a fantastic addition.”
"He has all the intangibles you are looking for to build a franchise around."@UKFootball Head Coach Mark Stoops on why he believes QB @Will_Levis will be successful in the NFL.#NFLDraft | #2023NFLDraft | @UKCoachStoops pic.twitter.com/v8uNisUphb
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) April 5, 2023