Beau is back for Wildcats

Published 4:42 pm Thursday, December 21, 2023

By Larry Vaught

Contributing Columnist

When quarterback Beau Allen left the University of Kentucky he did not know exactly what might be in store for his football career other than he wanted a chance to play regularly.

He was a top 500 player nationally in his recruiting class after throwing for 11,439 yards and 127 touchdowns — both top all-time top five numbers in Kentucky high school football — for Lexington Catholic. His senior year alone he was 248 of 366 passing for 3,682 yards and 38 touchdowns and also ran for 478 yards and 12 scores.

He redshirted his freshman year at UK and then played behind Will Levis in 2021 when UK won 10 games. Rather than back up Levis again in 2022, he transferred to FCS Tarleton State where he threw for 2,836 yards and 12 touchdowns. That prompted him to transfer to Georgia Southern thinking he would be able to get a waiver to be eligible after his second transfer before the NCAA changed the requirements about a month after his transfer. Instead of possibly starting, he ran the scout team offense in 2023.

Now Allen is coming home. He’s coming back to UK as a graduate transfer to play for offensive coordinator Liam Coen a second time.

“I believe it is a great move for me. If I give it all I’ve got and become the best quarterback I can be at the end of two years, then I will be much happier and more content with my life if I do that at Kentucky.

“There were times before I thought about coming back. Even when I left Tarleton State I thought about it but there was not that much interest from Kentucky then.”

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has told Allen he will have a chance in spring practice to compete for the starting job even though UK has also a commitment from Georgia transfer Brock Vandagriff.

“That was a big factor to me. I just want to compete and be the best quarterback I can be,” Allen said. “So yes, I am going to compete for the starting job. That’s my goal.”

Allen says he is “absolutely” a better quarterback now than he was his two years at UK. First, he got to start games at Tarleton State. Second, he ran the scout team daily at Georgia Southern against the first team defense. Third, he’s been through two more years of weight room work.

“But the biggest difference is just my mentality. I understand my strengths and weaknesses better and understand defenses a lot better,” Allen said. “My overall ability is just better because there’s nothing like getting live reps to make you better.”

Allen planned to watch UK practice this week to start getting more familiar with the offense. He did see the Cats play at Georgia in person last season and thought he saw a lot of similar aspects of the offense compared to when he was at UK in 2021 under Coen.

“There are differences in personnel obviously from when I was there but the core plan seems basically the same,” Allen said. “It’s exciting to come back to an offense I know.”

His father, Bill, played quarterback at Kentucky from 1984-88 and Beau Allen says his parents are thrilled to have him coming home.

“It will help them with traveling to have me around Lexington,” he said. “I enjoyed what I was part of at Georgia Southern and the future is bright there but Kentucky is just very appealing to me. I only talked to two schools when I was leaving Georgia Southern. I knew this is what I wanted to do.

“I am really excited. It has been a weird journey and I have been happy with every second of it but I am really happy to be coming back to Kentucky.”