Jalen Whitlow: ESPN's X-Factor For UK Football

07/03/2013 11:11 AM

Despite all the hype around the re-energized program, UK football is going to have a rough season with one of the toughest schedules in the nation ahead of them.

But an X-factor player may help the Cats pull a few upset wins. ESPN blogger Chris Low named quarterback Jalen Whitlow as Kentucky’s X-factor. He said, “[Whitlow] finished spring on an uptick. In the spring if you had to have a starter, he would’ve been the guy…I think Whitlow is that complete package. He can throw it. He’s athletic, played with a lot of confidence in the spring. I would say when they start the season, he’s going to be your guy.”

That athleticism and ability to run the ball will be crucial for Kentucky. If defenses are forced to respect Whitlow’s rush that will open up the field for more inexperienced wide receivers to make plays. Having a solid quarterback will be important for the Cats, considering the lack of depth at other positions.

“Because this is not a team that is loaded with proven play makers, that’s going to be the biggest Achilles for Kentucky this season,” Low wrote. “They are going to have to depend on some young guys at skill positions, certainly receiver. I think Whitlow is the guy who can fill in some cracks, if you will, with his ability to make plays running the football and throwing the football.”

Watch Low’s full video on UK’s X-Factor here.

My pick for Kentucky’s X-Factor this season: Mark Stoops and the confidence he is instilling in the entire team. The entire season is going to be rough and tough with Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and defending national champs Alabama on the schedule, but the one thing all underdog teams that upset powerhouses have in common is confidence. Mark Stoops spent the entire off season building up that swagger in everyone from the fans, the recruits, and his own team. If he can maintain that confidence throughout the season, Kentucky could surprise some people. The overall win-loss record may still be bad, but I wouldn’t be shocked if one of the top dogs tumbled down at the hand of the Cats.

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