The Country School, the Connecticut private school that Kentucky quarterback Will Levis attended through eighth grade, didn’t have a football team, so he had to settle for playing in local leagues until he enrolled at Xavier High School.
The New England area isn’t traditionally regarded as a producer of high-level football prospects, but Levis says he’s been encouraged by the number of players he’s seen get major offers from his state in recent years. (Example: Michigan signed a defensive lineman and offensive tackle, the No. 2 and No. 3 players in the state, out of Connecticut as part of the 2021 class.)
His road to Power Five football was in large part the product of personal tenacity and parents who were willing to spend the energy, time and money needed to put him in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
“Because of where I’m from, it changed how I had to approach the recruiting process a lot,” Levis told the Herald-Leader. “I really had to scratch and claw, go to camps and make a name for myself. People didn’t really know who I was at the time. ... There was a time when I thought nobody would recruit me, that nobody would take a shot on me.”
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz noted on Sunday, during a news conference following the announcement that his team would play Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl, that his school was the first Power Five program to offer Levis. The UK quarterback, who played his first three seasons at Penn State, recalled that moment.
“It was actually one of the best days of my life,” Levis said.
Ken O’Keefe, Iowa’s quarterbacks coach, attended a rival high school in Connecticut and was the man who invited Levis to the camp at which he received an offer.
“I don’t know if I’d be here right now if that hadn’t happened,” Levis said. “They were right at the top of my list until the very end. I had to make a choice between them and Penn State, those were my final two picks. I went with Penn State but Iowa’s a great place. I loved it and have all the respect in the world for Coach Ferentz.”
No. 22 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Iowa
When: Jan. 1, 1 p.m.
Where: Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
Records: Kentucky 9-3, Iowa 10-3
Series: First meeting