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Devin Leary named to watch list for Maxwell Award

Kentucky landed arguably the best quarterback in the transfer portal this offseason.

Syndication: The Courier-Journal Scott Utterback/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the Kentucky Wildcats needing to get another quarterback this year after Will Levis declared for the NFL Draft, they decided to go into the transfer portal once again and ended up landing the NC State transfer Devin Leary.

With the addition of Leary and the return of offensive coordinator Liam Coen, you will see a totally different offense compared to a year ago when Rich Scangarello was calling the plays.

Now, Leary has been named to the watch list for the 87th Maxwell Award, presented annually to the most outstanding player in college football, it was announced Monday.

Leary transferred to Kentucky in January after four seasons at NC State. He completed 568/944 passes for 62 touchdowns. His 6,807 career passing yards rank sixth on NC State’s career list, while his 60.2 percent completion mark ranks fourth. He was 17-9 overall as a starter.

In 2022, he led NC State to 5-1 record and a top-15 ranking in the college football polls before suffering a season-ending injury. Prior to that, he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Player of the Year.

During SEC Media Days recently, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops spoke highly of his new transfer quarterback.

“There was obviously some moments with just ball placement and just the way he throws it,” Stoops said. “[He is] just a good football player.”

“I love the way he handles himself. I love the command that he has, and he can make all the throws. He has great touch. Hopefully, he’ll make really good quick decisions, and we’ll do a better job and put them in a position to be successful.”

Although Leary has had two serious injuries which knocked him out this past year and in 2020, Stoops believes if he can stay healthy that Leary will put themselves into a position to win games.

“Obviously, he’s gone through some injuries, but hopefully he’ll stay healthy, because we feel like those were freaky incidents, really. He’s a very tough guy, and he’s a heck of a football player, and we’re going to add a player at any position that could help us win, because it is a different time.”

With the new additions and returning players on the offensive line, Kentucky can hopefully now protect their new quarterback in Leary. Kentucky hopes to rebound this year after a disastrous 7-6 season and losing their first bowl game since 2017, which happened in Nashville against the Northwestern Wildcats.

As for the Maxwell Award, the winner will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 7th. Here’s to hoping Leary does enough this season to be in the hunt for the award come bowl season.

What are your expectations for Leary this year? Let us know in the comments section!

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