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Draft Profile: Kentucky QB Will Levis 

This series will feature the top NFL Draft prospects with insight from the beat reporters that covered them in college. This article is just a preview of the full interview which can be heard on the Deep Slant podcast.

Name: Will Levis
Position: Quarterback
School: Kentucky
Height/Weight: 6-4, 229
Hometown: Madison, Connecticut

Sidhu: Will Levis transferred to Kentucky as a junior, becomes the starting quarterback and the team captain. He'd only played two games in three years at Penn State. So take us back to that time where Levis joins Kentucky and how he just sort of immediately became the starter. What did they see in him? What do they like about him that really solidified that spot for him?

Hardy: Liam Coen came in from the Rams as the offensive coordinator and kind of zeroed in on him as the guy. Like you mentioned, he had been at Penn State. Kentucky actually beat Penn State in that Citrus Bowl while Levis was a freshman. QB (Sean) Clifford was there forever and he was not ever going to really beat him out.

So he transfers in kind of behind the eight ball. He didn't play spring ball, kind of late learned on the fly, picked up the system, earned the job, and just took the reins from a leadership standpoint. He was able to display that arm, he'd been primarily a runner at Penn State. Nobody really saw him throw the ball except for a few little glimpses here and there. The offense kind of clicked. They had a good offensive line, a good running back, basically just one receiver, Wan'Dale Robinson, who caught 100 balls, with the Giants now. But they scored a lot of points. HC (Mark) Stoops is always going to play good defense. They won ten games. They beat Iowa in the bowl game and just had a really good year on and off the field. You saw him on TikTok eating a banana with the peel and all. That kind of put him on the map from the get-go. Then he put mayonnaise in coffee and drank it. So that kind of thing off the field and then the way he played on the field, it was just really a good combination.

Sidhu: At 6-4, 230, he's got the size that everybody wants in an NFL quarterback. What are some of the biggest strengths of his game and how has playing in a pro-style offense really helped further develop his skill set?

Hardy: Like you mentioned, 6-4, 230, rocket arm, got franchise quarterback written all over him, played for an NFL guy. A lot of people want to judge Year Two vs. Year One. If you look on the surface, they have an argument but there's layers to the difference in the numbers. But he's got all the intangibles. He can run, he's not Lamar Jackson, but he's not afraid to run. If you Google Blaze Alldredge from Missouri where he's not afraid to run, not afraid of contact. Google that, Texans fans will like seeing him lower the shoulder on a linebacker and win that collision.

When healthy, which he was in the first year, that's another difference in the drop in numbers as well. He can do it all. He may hold on to the ball a tad. Interceptions were a little bit high in Year One. To me, those who want to judge him on Year Two, there was an offensive coordinator change. Rich Scangarello comes in from Denver. Liam Coen went back to the Rams. I will lean towards what you saw in Year One and I always wonder what if we had Year Two of Levis in this Liam Coen offense because they had more receivers. Like I mentioned, he had Wan'dale Robinson was the only receiver. They had better receivers coming in. He could have spread the ball around, had more weapons. So we'll never know what could have been if he had Year Two.

Sidhu: A lot of people talked about the inconsistent throws, the short throws. Can you blame all of that on injury and change in offense, or is that really something that NFL teams need to be concerned about when they're interviewing him and going through this process?

Hardy: I think if you combine it all, the coordinator change, it just didn't fit. They hoped it would be as seamless as possible and it was just kind of square peg round hole all year. The offensive line, it was bad. You lost Darian Kinnard right tackle, who's with the Chiefs who just won a ring. Luke Fortner played center from the jump for Jacksonville. Texans fans saw him twice a year as a rookie on that offensive line. So the offensive line took a big hit, took a big step back.

Texans fans may remember David Carr. First year, he got sacked a billion times. That's kind of what Levis had going on. The line couldn't block. They couldn't get the running game going. Chris Rodriguez running back, was suspended for a third of the season, missed the first four games. So it was just so many things that it was a slog. Nobody ever got on the same page. There was never a flow of any consistency for a long time for for any length of time at all. It was always something. So it didn't fit. He never had time to throw. He was beat up. He missed a South Carolina game, shoulder, foot. He was just beat to death, offensive line was terrible. They still won seven games which, at Kentucky you look historically, sometimes they'll take two or three years to win seven games. So for a down year to still win seven games in spite of all that, it worked out as best as it could, I guess.

Sidhu: I'm intrigued by his personality. You mentioned a few of the stories that we've heard. I even see it on his scouting profiles, "puts mayonnaise in his coffee." These are things that teams are now aware of as just like another footnote to his list of stats. He also had a 4.0 GPA with offers to Ivy League schools. Give us a sense of his personality and what really stands out in your time and covering him.

Hardy: Fiery competitor, financial guy. He's already doing NIL stuff and looking to be investing and all that kind of stuff. Looking down the road from that standpoint, kind of wise beyond his years to be early 20s from as far as that goes. Quirky and fun loving, like we mentioned, with the banana, just just eating it whole. You had fans at Kroger Field coming in banana suits and sitting in the stands.The mayonnaise in the coffee, a lot of people tried it. It was nasty, as you would think, but people tried it.

There's a picture he had after the season was over, like an aerial shot. He's in a pool with his girlfriend or the young lady who he was with at the time. They're in rafts with the shape of an upside down L which is what you do to troll Louisville, the main rival. Like in Texas, everybody goes horns down. If you want to mess with Louisville, you go L's down. So they took the L's down in the pool with the way their rafts were aligned together. So he's not afraid to have a good time. But at the same time, he never let that overtake what the main thing was. It was about being the quarterback, being the leader, being the face of Kentucky and eventually being the face of whatever team drafts him.

(Check out all the Houston Texans 2023 NFL Draft picks here.)

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