HOOVER, Ala. (WSFA) - Sawyer Smith had a phenomenal season for the Troy Trojans in 2018 after starter Kaleb Barker went down with a torn ACL against Georgia State.
Smith led the Trojans in the final seven-and-a-half games and played in all 13 games. He went 5-2 as the starter, completing 144 of his 229 passes for 1,669 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also rushed for 191 yards and a score.
Smith announced he was transferring shortly following the Troy spring game and Monday it was formally announced that he’d been accepted as a graduate transfer at Kentucky.
Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops spoke at SEC Media Days Thursday and talked about the experience he’s now adding to the quarterback room.
“It is important to get Sawyer, the fact that he has experience. He’s a really talented player but he’s also played in big games. I’m a big believer at that position you don’t know exactly what you have until you get him into a game,” said Stoops.
Smith would have been a part of a deep quarterback room at Troy with Barker returning from injury along with others like Gavin Screws, Jacob Free and Gunnar Watson all likely in the running for the starting position.
The move also made sense for Kentucky, as Stoops points out, due to the fact that they had some signal callers of their own transfer out.
“And so the fact with us having some transfers leave us, we had a quarterback that was a sophomore that won ten games, and so we had some departures, it was important to bring some experience in there until we have some of our young quarterbacks have the time to develop,” said Stoops.
Smith’s big game experience plays a big factor into why Stoops likes him. He led the Trojans to a 42-32 Dollar General Bowl victory against Buffalo last season. His role with Kentucky is still something that’s yet to be defined.
“Sawyer’s going to be a big piece of it. How big? I don’t know. We’ll see when he gets on campus and we get him to work with him. But I’m excited to have him,” said Stoops. “You’ve seen him deliver under pressure. So that’s really important to have at that position as you know.”
Smith completed 31-of-44 passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns in Troy’s win over Buffalo.