QB Spotlight: Will Levis
If your favorite team has ever had a disappointing/bad season (they all have at some point) you know it’s always draft season. Quarterbacks are the most sought-after commodity in every draft class and over the last few months, Will Levis has been making his way up draft boards everywhere. The 6-3, 232-pound senior QB at Kentucky is looking to use this season as a springboard to put him among the other top QBs in this class (Bryce Young and CJ Stroud).
We are three weeks into the college season and it’s been more of a mixed bag for Levis on the surface. Kentucky has played against Miami(OH), Florida, and Youngstown St. He’s already thrown four interceptions this season, including two against Youngstown St while throwing in a fumble lost. The turnovers are a problem for Levis, although, they haven’t cost Kentucky any losses yet this season. I wanted to see how he performed against a good defense, so I went back to week two against the Florida Gators to see how Levis handles going against a top 15 team in the country.
While Kentucky eeked out the win versus the Gators, there were some alarming tendencies from Levis to go with the eye-popping tools he puts on display.
Levis has easy power at all levels of the field, he can make all the throws, and tries to make them all while making it tougher on himself. This is a perfect encapsulation of Will Levis. He’s looking to hit the ~12-yard out route in between four defenders and he has the throw early, but he waits too long. The DE dropping into coverage is the only player that can make a play on the ball and he’s turning and running, he can’t find the ball if Levis throws this in rhythm. He’s late on the throw, which sped up his mechanics and overthrew his receiver.
Oftentimes, his upper half and lower half are in different time zones which causes inconsistencies in his accuracy far too often. he has a tendency to act like he’s playing basketball and looking to take step-back jumpers with no defense in his face instead of just rising up and hitting the shot. He’s constantly making it harder on himself by throwing off platform for no reason.
Feeling pressure is hard enough with a collapsing pocket around you, but if the offensive line has a miscommunication, it comes down to the QB to feel pressure on him. Levis’ peripheral vision has become a problem more than once in this game alone and when you pair that with a QB that likes to hold onto the ball at times, you get a combination that is susceptible to turnovers and sacks. This play went down as roughing the passer and in the previous play we saw the ball was tipped to a fellow Wildcat so no harm done, but that luck runs out eventually. Working on his timing and pocket feel needs to be at the top of his list going forward and into the offseason.
It’s so easy to watch him throw a ball like this and fall in love with the physical gifts he possesses. Levis not only has a cannon, as you can see, but he’s a big, physical QB that has rushing potential in the NFL as well. Give him a pocket, a little time, and he can uncork a beautiful deep throw on the money to his receiver.
We’ve all heard the moniker “keep it simple stupid” and it makes a difference in QB play. Levis’ footwork is a bit inconsistent as this is closer to a two-step and skip drop instead of a straight three-step, but he calmly holds the safety in the middle of the field and then throws a dart to the sideline for a first down. Keep it simple, step into the throw, and everything looks good. No need to overcomplicate.
A few things I jotted down while watching him play:
-Can speed up his feet in his drops
-Reading the field is a problem, especially on the move
-The pop is REAL, jumps off his hand at times, and makes you say WOW
-Exactly the build to survive in the NFL
-Reminds me of Daniel Jones with a cannon
There’s still a lot of college football left for Levis to show off what he can do, but right now I don’t believe he’s a first-round pick. There are far too many inconsistencies in his fundamentals that create turnovers and Kentucky took the ball out of his hands many times in the second half of the game against Florida, which is a problem for me. I hope he can start keeping it simple and running the offense at a crisper pace to really let his tools shine.