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Freshman QB Amani Gilmore could “eventually be special” but also could be forced into action this year

Amani Gilmore (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

It’s still not likely that Kentucky will need to play true freshman quarterback Amani Gilmore but after the season-ending injuries to starter Terry Wilson and true freshman Nik Scalzo , the Cats are down to three quarterbacks — Sawyer Smith , Walker Wood and Gilmore. And Smith played with a “dinged shoulder” the second of Saturday’s loss at Mississippi State according to coach Mark Stoops.

Smith is  UK’s starter and Wood, a redshirt sophomore with no experience , is the backup and was warming up Saturday when Smith’s second-half availability was in doubt. However, Wood has also been plagued by injuries his first two years at UK.

Former UK All-SEC defensive back Van Hiles knows plenty about Gilmore, a Louisiana native like Hiles.

“If he keeps progressing, he is special,” Hiles said. “He is left-handed and has a great arm. He is Terry Wilson almost. He has great straight line speed. He played in a spread offense on a really good team in high school that won the state championship his senior year.

“He has all the attributes to be a really special player. He will be more than just good, especially since UK is bringing in receivers for him to have a really good group of skilled players around him. Coach (Vince) Marrow is getting really good tight ends every year. He should really have a lot of talent at his disposal going forward.”

Hiles isn’t saying Gilmore is ready to play this year and understands a redshirt year would benefit him unless injuries force him into action.

“I think eventually he is really going to be special. Kentucky fans are going to love to see him if he stays on the path I think he will going forward,” Hiles said.

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