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NC State transfer QB Devin Leary to visit UK, and a note on Graham Mertz

Kentucky is gaining buzz with arguably the top two QBs in the transfer portal.

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With Will Levis on his way to the NFL Draft, the Kentucky Wildcats will have a new starting quarterback in 2023.

Last Monday, NC State veteran QB Devin Leary entered the transfer portal, and there’s already been some top programs reach out with some Kentucky buzz starting.

247 Sports recruiting analyst Brian Dohn talked about Leary’s next steps and which schools have reached out.

“I think, with Devin, I know I anticipated it moving a lot quicker than it has, and really it hasn’t,” Dohn said. “I’ve talked to his dad about it the last few days and the latest was he’s not going to visit anywhere (this weekend). They went in the portal on Monday, and it’s like speed-dating. They’ve got to figure out who they’re going to, are they comfortable with the coaches, the offense and are they comfortable about what the coaches are saying with the depth chart.”

As for the schools in contact, Notre Dame, Auburn, UCLA, South Carolina, Oregon, and Kentucky are the six schools to contact Leary.

“Notre Dame is involved, we’ll see what happens with them and (Texas Longhorns transfer quarterback) Hudson Card. Auburn has reached out. UCLA, who’s looking for a quarterback. South Carolina has reached out because you want to see what happens with (South Carolina Gamecocks QB) Spencer Rattler (who may enter the NFL Draft).

“Kentucky has reached out, though I keep hearing Graham Mertz with Kentucky.”

Now, KSR’s Nick Roush reports that Leary will visit UK on Tuesday.

“Sources tell KSR Devin Leary will begin a visit to Kentucky on Tuesday. He’s the first quarterback Kentucky has hosted since the transfer portal window opened Dec. 5. Leary has one year of eligibility remaining,” Roush wrote.

Leary was the preseason 2022 ACC Player of the Year, but only played in six games after tearing a pectoral muscle.

The former four-star recruit was in the preseason Heisman conversations and has been a key part of transforming NC State into a consistent top 25 program.

It is worth noting that the first name that started floating around for the Cats was Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz, who was mentioned by Dohn. This comes after reporter Brett Greenberg said last week that Mertz was expected to transfer to Kentucky.

Mertz is a pro-style quarterback that has shown spurts of high-level play as Wisconsin’s starter.

During his three seasons at Wisconsin, Mertz threw for 5,405 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions. He also had a different play-caller each season.

However, the Cats aren’t the only SEC East team that is showing interest in the former top-100 recruit.

The Big Ten quarterback took a visit with the Florida Gators over the weekend which could signal the start of a recruiting battle between SEC East rivals.

The starting QB job for the Cats is wide open for 2023, but it looks like Mark Stoops and the staff have zeroed in on a couple options now that the transfer portal is officially open.

Here’s to hoping Stoops is able to land the quarterback who’s the best fit for Kentucky next season.

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