The only time a player from the University of Kentucky went first overall in the NFL Draft, it was quarterback Tim Couch in 1999 to the Cleveland Browns. That didn't work out so well. Could Will Levis follow in Couch's footsteps next year? Over the past month or so at Caesars Sportsbook, no player has taken more action to go first overall in 2023 than Levis. He's down to +2000; Ohio State QB CJ Stroud and Alabama signal-caller Bryce Young are +230 co-favorites.
Last season was Levis' first with Kentucky after transferring from Penn State. He started all 13 games and helped lead UK to 10 wins for the fourth time in school history. Levis amassed 3,202 yards of total offense, the seventh player in school history to reach 3,000 yards total in a season. He completed 233 of his 353 passes for 2,827 yards and 24 scores – the 24 touichdown passes were the most at UK since Andre' Woodson had 40 in 2007. Levis also rushed 107 times for 376 yards and a team-high tying nine rushing scores. He had two games (against LSU and Tennessee) with three passing TDs and two rushing TDs, the only Wildcat ever to do so.
Thus far, 70 percent of all money wagered on the 2023 first overall pick at Caesars is on Levis, who will be 23 on June 27 -- older than the typical draftee. An Illinois bettor dropped $1,000 when he was +4000 for potential winnings of $40,000. Levis also has taken 22 percent of all action to win the Heisman Trophy. He's +7500 there.
"I know this: I know Will. I know how motivated he is and it'll drive him to see any quarterback in front of him because I believe he believes he can be the number one quarterback picked and that he has that kind of ability and I think he's going to have that kind of year," Coach Mark Stoops said of his QB.
No Kentucky player has won college football's top award, and I just don't see Levis doing so, either. These days, you have to be on a national title contender to contend for the Heisman and Kentucky isn't a contender. It has an Over/Under of 7.5 wins, with the Over a -180 favorite. UK should easily run the table in non-conference play vs. Miami of Ohio, Youngstown State, and Northern Illinois. But the Wildcats should be underdogs in SEC play at Florida, at Ole Miss, at Tennessee, and home against Georgia.
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