For those who have spent their weekend in hibernation, there is big Kentucky football recruiting news afoot. Lexington Christian Academy’s Cutter Boley, ranked the No. 2 QB in the country in the class of 2025 by Rivals.com, has set 11 a.m. Thursday as the time to reveal his college choice.
According to an array of analysts that includes 24/7 Sports national director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong, the 6-foot-5, 203-pound Boley is expected to pick the hometown Kentucky Wildcats over offers from schools such as Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, TCU, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
If Boley does pick the Wildcats, it will be a substantial feather in the cap of Liam Coen, Kentucky’s old and new offensive coordinator, whose return to the commonwealth from the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams is perceived as having fully reversed UK’s standing with Boley.
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While nothing can be taken for granted in major college sports recruiting until a signed letter of intent is in hand, potentially landing the most-touted QB produced in the commonwealth since Tim Couch could be a boon for Mark Stoops and the troops in both the short and long terms.
Not since Conner High School’s Drew Barker chose Kentucky over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina in the class of 2014 has UK had a commitment from a high school quarterback whose recruiting profile is gaudy enough to lure other high-profile prospects to Lexington.
With Barker helping UK recruiting ace Vince Marrow to attract players, Kentucky shocked the college football world by signing a 2014 class that ranked 17th in the country according to Rivals.
Boley’s recruiting rankings in the class of 2025 are glittery. Rivals likes Boley the most, ranking him the No. 12 overall prospect in the nation. On3 has Boley at No. 30 nationally, while 24/7 ranks the QB No. 138 and ESPN No. 169.
Overall in the 24/7 Composite Rankings, Boley stands as the No. 72-ranked prospect in the nation for 2025, the No. 6 quarterback recruit.
Whether Boley stays in the class of 2025 or, as many expect, reclassifies to the class of 2024, he would give Kentucky a formidable boost in the recruiting wars if he picks the Cats.
On the field, Kentucky football’s ascension in the Stoops coaching era has been built on stingy defense and a power running attack. If Boley’s level of play in college matches his recruiting hype, he could provide the big-play threat through the air that might allow UK to become more menacing to the top of the SEC power structure.
A pure pocket passer, Boley completed 63.5 percent of his passes (254 of 400) last season for LCA while throwing for 3,901 yards with 36 touchdown throws vs. 15 interceptions. While directing Lexington Christian to a 9-5 record and the semifinals of the Class 2A playoffs, Boley also rushed for six TDs.
In the Stoops era, QBs with out-of-state origins such as Stephen Johnson (12-10 as a UK starter, 14-10 when playing the preponderance of the snaps), Terry Wilson (17-7 as starter), Lynn Bowden (6-2) and Will Levis (17-7) have transformed Kentucky into a winning program.
That has been a change from the pattern of the prior three decades when most of the Wildcats’ best teams had been built around homegrown QB stars —think Bill Ransdell (Elizabethtown), Pookie Jones (Calloway County), Couch (Leslie County), Jared Lorenzen (Highlands) and Andre Woodson (North Hardin).
An in-state QB such as Boley would have ample opportunity to leave a mark at UK. Consider:
No quarterback who graduated from a Lexington high school has started a game for Kentucky since Henry Clay alum Shane Boyd took the first snap at Tennessee on Nov. 27, 2004. Boyd threw for 218 yards and two touchdowns as Kentucky came close to upsetting No. 15 UT before falling 37-31.
A quarterback from the commonwealth of Kentucky has not thrown for over 300 yards in a game for UK since Sept. 3, 2016, when Barker completed 15 of 24 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns in a season-opening 44-35 loss to Southern Mississippi.
No in-state QB has directed Kentucky to a victory over a ranked team since Sept. 26, 2015, when Patrick Towles (Highlands) completed 22 of 27 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third TD to lead Kentucky to a 21-13 upset of No. 25 Missouri.
The last homegrown quarterback to lead Kentucky to a victory in a bowl game was Woodson, who hit 32 of 50 passes for 358 yards and four touchdowns to pace Kentucky over Florida State 35-28 in the 2007 Music City Bowl on Dec. 31, 2007.
No in-state QB has directed Kentucky to a win over Tennessee since Ransdell completed 15 of 30 passes for 158 yards and led UK to a 17-12 victory in Knoxville on Nov. 24, 1984.
No in-state quarterback has led Kentucky over Tennessee in Lexington since Lowell Hughes (Prestonsburg) completed 2 of 5 passes for 9 yards and ran once for 4 yards in UK’s 20-0 whitewash of Tennessee on Nov. 21, 1959.
If his choice Thursday is UK, Cutter Boley will step into a target-rich environment of historical benchmarks he can alter.