By LARRY VAUGHT
Why would Sawyer Smith reach out to Kentucky about transferring to play for the Wildcats knowing that quarterback Terry Wilson had two years of eligibility left after leading UK to a rare 10-win season and New Year’s Day bowl win last season?
The 6-3, 220-pound Smith passed for 1,699 yards and 14 touchdowns while leading Troy to victory in the Dollar General Bowl last year after being promoted to starter after an injury to the No. 1 quarterback. He completed 63 percent of his passes with six interceptions and also ran for 191 yards and one score while starting six games.
Smith, the MVP of Troy’s bowl win last season, has over 600 Division I snaps and could provide UK with an experienced backup quarterback. But even if he competes with Wilson, he’s not going to beat him out in preseason practice.
From what I was told, Smith understands the situation at Kentucky and accepted that — something McClane Carter of Texas Tech and Penn State’s Tommy Stevens did not when they considered transferring to UK.
“He’s a very mature kid, very likable,” said someone who knows Smith from his time at Troy. “He’ll be a big asset in the (quarterback) room. He’s a nice kid who wants to get his Master’s and maybe eventually coach. He feels coming to Kentucky is a good career move for him.”
Smith was recruited at Troy by coach Neal Brown, a former UK player and offensive coordinator. Once Brown left to become head coach at West Virginia, Smith decided to leave. Former Troy staff member Mark Perry is now a member of UK coach Mark Stoops’ staff. Perry, the former head coach at Lexington Catholic High School, may have been the connection with UK that helped get Smith to fill a need the Cats had after the transfer of Gunnar Hoak to Ohio State.