The Kentucky Wildcats are no strangers when it comes to college football’s Comeback Player of the Year Award.
The award, which annually honors college athletes who’ve overcome immense adversity to play the sport they love, was won by Kenneth Horsey in 2020 and J.J. Weaver in 2021.
On Tuesday, the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year Award Watch List was revealed, and it included senior defensive back Jalen Geiger, senior running back Ramon Jefferson, and senior quarterback Devin Leary. All three players missed most of the 2022 season due to injury.
Leary, 6-foot-1, 217-pound quarterback of Sicklerville (NJ), transferred to Kentucky in January of 2023 after four seasons at NC State. Overall, he went 17-9 as a starter and left NC State ranked sixth in school history in career passing yards (6,807) and fourth in career completion percentage (60.2%).
In 2022, Leary led the Wolfpack to a 4-0 start and the No. 10 overall ranking before falling to No. 5 Clemson by a 30-20 margin. The following week, Leary suffered a season-ending pectoral injury against Florida State. He finished the year completing 118/193 passes for 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns vs. four interceptions while rushing for three more scores.
Geiger, a 6-foot-1, 199-pound defensive back from Columbia (SC), had a career-high three tackles in the season opener last season vs. Miami (Ohio), then suffered a torn patellar tendon in his left knee the following week at No. 12 Florida.
Jefferson, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound running back from The Bronx (NY), transferred to Kentucky in 2022 after two seasons at Sam Houston State, where he ran for 1,907 yards on 299 carries in 22 games. He tore the ACL in his left knee after just two carries in the season opener vs. Miami (Ohio).
At the conclusion of this season, in a vote by a panel of college football writers, editors, and sports information directors, three student-athletes will be honored as Comeback Player of the Year Award winners at the Fiesta Bowl.