QB Whitlow transfers to Eastern Illinois

After parting ways with Kentucky, Jalen Whitlow found a place to land.

The quarterback formally was announced by the Eastern Illinois website as a transfer along with three other players on Wednesday night.

Whitlow, who started 15 games at Kentucky and accounted for 1,502 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, will join the Panthers immediately.

In UK’s four-quarterback race this spring, Whitlow had made progress, but not as much as Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips or Drew Barker, and coaches then asked the 6-foot-2, 217-pound player to switch to wide receiver.

Whitlow opted to look for another school where he could play quarterback. The Panthers’ quarterback last year, Jimmy Garoppolo, was picked up by the Patriots in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Whitlow, who will be eligible to play immediately, is joining an offense that saw Garoppolo break Tony Romo’s school records for career passing touchdowns, yards and passing touchdowns in a season.

Garoppolo passed for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns last season, leading the Panthers to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. They finished 12-2 last season and finished the season ranked No. 4 in the final FCS polls.

The Panthers, who have a new head coach in Kim Dameron, finished the season ranked No. 4 in the FCS poll, return 14 starters from last year’s team. He was the defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech last year. He coached safeties at Ole Miss from 2008-10.

Andrew Manley, a red-shirt senior transfer from New Mexico State, seems to have grabbed the lead at that position after the spring. The Panthers had four quarterbacks play in the spring game.

Last year’s backup, Ben Krol, a 6-foot-6, 247-pound red-shirt junior who played in eight games, also returns. He completed 16 of 27 passes for 140 yards behind Garoppolo.

When asked about the position, Dameron said Andrew Manley had “taken most of the number one reps through spring and while we have had some great competition, no one has taken those reps away from him at this point.”

Eastern Illinois opens the season at Minnesota on Aug. 28 and will play Eastern Kentucky in Richmond on Oct. 11.

Since UK Coach Mark Stoops took over the program a season ago, 11 players have transferred or given up football. Five others were dismissed for unspecified reasons.

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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One Response to QB Whitlow transfers to Eastern Illinois

  1. Tom says:

    I wish the young well.
    Playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the country, terrible recievers, and a coordinator who fathered the 102 offense in the nation, the young man never got a chance to show his ability.