Leary eager to lead Kentucky offense

Published 4:34 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2023

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Devin Leary can’t wait to return to competition.

The Kentucky quarterback hasn’t played in a game in nearly a year, but the North Carolina State transfer is already penciled in as Will Levis’ successor and will be the starter in the team’s season opener against Ball State on Sept. 2 at Kroger Field.

“It’s really a blessing to be out here,” Leary said during the team’s Media Day last Friday. “I love this game and I can’t wait to just compete every day with all my brothers.”

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Leary has earned the respect of his teammates and is already familiar with offensive coordinator Liam Coen’s playbook. Although an experienced college quarterback, Leary knew it would take time get to know his teammates, especially on the offensive side.

“You know, coming in as a transfer first, you got to earn the respect of your teammates through your hard work, dive into the playbook, meet with coach Coen as much as I possibly can,” Leary said. “But you know, now this where we’re at now, I got to, you know, advance everyone making sure that, you know, we’re taking that next step, including myself. And it starts with me.”

Leary likes the fact that Coen has been a quarterback and understands what it takes to be successful in the pocket.

“It’s been really cool just to learn from him,” Leary said. “At the same time, it’s cool to have another quarterback perspective. I mean, he played the position, he’s seen in at the highest level. For me, it’s just continue to pick his brain. One of the reasons why I came here is I wanted to develop and be the best possible quarterback I could be. And that starts with coach going, really, I just want to continue to learn from him, continue to be the best possible player I can.”

Coen, entering his second stint as Kentucky’s OC and quarterbacks coach, has been impressed with Leary’s approach since he arrived on campus.

“He’s got a great way about him,” Coen said. “He just has a really nice way of connecting with people just so naturally. And he’s a really high football IQ kid. He loves the game. He studies the game.”

The Kentucky offensive coordinator also likes Leary’s leadership qualities. Coen said Leary isn’t “rah rah, not always out in front” but leads by example.

“He’s very natural,” Coen said. “He leads by the way he approaches the game, and that’s natural.”

Entering his first and only season with the Wildcats, Leary wants the Wildcats to return to past form.

“We want to bounce back from the year prior,” Leary said. “You know, that was not our brand of football. That wasn’t what Kentucky football was about. We wanted to build this offseason a true unity of a team. And I think we did a good job of that. But we just got to continue it through fall camp.”