What to know about Kentucky football transfer quarterback, Owensboro alum Gavin Wimsatt

Kentucky football addressed its quarterback depth concerns with a commitment from former Owensboro High School star and Rutgers starter Gavin Wimsatt on Tuesday.

Here is what you need to know about the Wildcats’ newest quarterback.

1. Gavin Wimsatt was a highly touted high school recruit

A four-star prospect who was originally in the high school class of 2022 before graduating from Owensboro High School in September 2021, Wimsatt was ranked as the No. 23 quarterback nationally by the 247Sports Composite.

Kentucky was perceived as the leader for Wimsatt’s commitment at one point in his high school recruitment, but he eventually pledged to Rutgers amid reports of a significant name, image and likeness contract. Wimsatt played the first three games of the 2021 season for Owensboro before announcing he had finished the requirements for early graduation in time to enroll at Rutgers for the fall semester.

He left Owensboro after helping lead his team to a 49-42 win over rival Daviess County. Even without Wimsatt, Owensboro won its next nine games before falling to Frederick Douglass in the state semifinals.

2. Why Gavin Wimsatt left Rutgers

In 25 games across three seasons at Rutgers, Wimsatt threw for 2,537 yards and rushed for 628 yards. He scored 25 total touchdowns.

Wimsatt completed just 46.6% of his passes at Rutgers, and he threw more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (14). Last season, he started every game for the Scarlet Knights, completing 47.8% of his passes for 1,735 yards with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He totaled 497 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns in 2023.

While Rutgers recorded its first winning season since 2014 with Wimsatt as its starter last fall, coach Greg Schiano opened the quarterback job for competition this spring. Wimsatt entered the transfer portal after Minnesota transfer Athan Kaliakmanis, who had previously played for Rutgers offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca at Minnesota, was named the starter.

Former Rutgers starter Gavin Wimsatt might contribute as a run-first quarterback at Kentucky, even if <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Brock Vandagriff;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Brock Vandagriff</a> starts as expected. Marc Lebryk/USA TODAY NETWORK

3. How Gavin Wimsatt fits at Kentucky

Georgia transfer Brock Vandagriff, a former five-star high school recruit who played sparingly in three seasons as a backup to Stetson Bennett and Carson Beck, is expected to start at quarterback for Kentucky in 2024.

The Wildcats must replace their entire quarterback room, though. Former starter Devin Leary was drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens while backups Kaiya Sheron (UT Martin), Deuce Hogan (New Mexico State) and Destin Wade (Colorado) all entered the transfer portal.

Former Lexington Catholic star Beau Allen, who served as Will Levis’ backup at Kentucky in 2021 before stints at FCS Tarleton State and Georgia Southern, returned to UK this spring as a walk-on. Four-star Lexington Christian Academy star Cutter Boley, who coaches have described as the quarterback of the future, graduated a semester early to enroll at UK in January and participate in spring practice.

New UK offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan has made no secret of his plans to use the quarterback run game, and Wimsatt should offer some help in certain packages even if Vandagriff starts as expected. Wimsatt’s track record suggests he was unlikely to land a guaranteed starting job at a Power Five program, but his extensive experience in the Big Ten makes him a valuable backup in the event of injury or struggles from Vandagriff.

Like Vandagriff, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Wimsatt has two years of eligibility remaining.

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