Kentucky QB Jalen Whitlow, who started 15 games in last two seasons, opts to transfer

Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow passes against Vanderbilt in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow, who started 15 games for the Wildcats in two seasons on campus, will transfer from the school. Head coach Mark Stoops confirmed the news on Wednesday.

“We respect Jalen and his decision as we want the best for him,” Stoops said. “I thank Jalen for his contributions to the team during his time at Kentucky. I want everyone to understand how hard he has worked and the effort he has given since our staff has been here.”

Whitlow started seven games as a true freshman in 2012 and in 2013, Stoops’ first season at Kentucky, Whitlow started another eight games. Whitlow, who will finish the semester before transferring to another school for his final two seasons of eligibility, threw for a combined 1,834 yards and eight touchdowns in his two seasons in Lexington. He also added 663 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.

“I appreciate the University of Kentucky and what the coaching staff and administration have done for me,” Whitlow said. “I also thank the community and the fan support I have received here. I wish the coaches and my teammates the best of luck.”

According to the Courier-Journal, Stoops met with Whitlow and fellow quarterbacks Drew Barker, a freshman, and Patrick Towles, a sophomore, to discuss the ongoing competition for the starting role between the three. Stoops asked Whitlow to make a position switch to wide receiver, but Whitlow decided that he wants to continue playing quarterback.

Whitlow split time at quarterback with Maxwell Smith last season. Smith, who is currently recovering from a shoulder injury, is also in the running for the quarterback spot. Redshirt freshman Reese Phillips is also in the mix.

Each quarterback will showcase his skills when Kentucky holds its spring game on April 26.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!