Kentucky Football: Joker Phillips Names Maxwell Smith Starting Quarterback

Nick Nafpliotis@@NickNafster79Correspondent IAugust 20, 2012

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 19:  Maxwell Smith #11 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks to pass against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

To the surprise of almost no one, University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips announced today (per that Maxwell Smith will start under center when the Wildcats take on the Louisville Cardinals on September 2.

While former starter Morgan Newton has shown a great deal of improvement from last year, Smith's strong performance to close out last season (which included becoming a Freshman All-SEC selection) and his continued production during the preseason helped him keep his spot as Kentucky's first option at quarterback. Newton is also still recovering from shoulder surgery, which has given Smith a majority of snaps with the first-team offense.

Phillips did not mention freshman phenom Patrick Towles, but the general consensus seems to be that he will be redshirted this season (unless things become even worse offensively than they were last year).

While the decision to name Smith as the starter seemed pretty obvious to almost anyone that follows UK football, Joker took a long time (probably way too long) last season giving him the nod over Newton when the offense was completely stagnant.

With a receiving corps and offensive line that all reports indicate are far ahead of where they were last August, an experienced and battle tested Maxwell Smith might be enough to help the Wildcats surprise a few teams that had them already marked as a win on their schedules. 


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