According to multiple reports, the newest member of the UCF Football family will be Joey Gatewood. The former four-star recruit out of Jacksonville (Fla.) Bartram Trail will reunite with former Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn, who interestingly enough, chose quarterback Bo Nix over Gatewood while still coaching at Auburn in 2019, leading him to transfer to Kentucky.
Out of high school, Gatewood redshirted during the 2018 season. He battled Nix for the starting role heading into the 2019 season. Nix won the job and ended up starting every game for the Tigers. Gatewood settled for intermittent action in seven games, totaling 148 rushing yards with three touchdowns from 29 carries. He also completed five of seven passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
At Kentucky in 2020, Gatewood played in seven games for the Wildcats, totaling 62 yards rushing on 25 attempts, and completed 17 of 35 passes for 109 yards and one interception.
Monday, Gatewood entered the transfer portal after Penn State transfer Will Levis was named the Kentucky starting quarterback by Head Coach Mark Stoops.
Now back with Coach Malzahn, it shall be interesting to see what Coach Malzahn’s plans are for the stud athlete. One thing is certain, the Knights’ starting quarterback job is not up for grabs. Dillon Gabriel long ago locked up the quarterback position.
That begs the question, is Gatewood coming to UCF simply in hopes that Gabriel will declare for the 2022 NFL Draft after this season, making the Knights QB position available for him, or does Malzahn have a plan up his sleeve to use Gatewood in another role this year?
At 6’5”, 221-pounds, Gatewood’s athleticism could potentially see him used in exotic ways. It may be a case where Gatewood is too good of an athlete to not have on the field in some capacity. Perhaps Gatewood could help out as a dual-threat quarterback near the goal line and during special situations.
After all, Coach Malzahn has proved to be quite an innovative offensive mind. Do not be surprised if Coach Malzahn found unique ways to place the football in Gatewood’s hands. At the very least, placing the football in Gatewood’s hands would give opposing defenses a different look, something else to worry about and prepare for.
At this point, where Gatewood fits into this UCF offense is pure speculation. He does need to formally announce his intentions and also be cleared by the NCAA to play this fall.
Even if Gatewood is cleared to play immediately by the NCAA, don’t expect to see him in the Knights’ opener, as they play just two weeks from now on Sep. 2. The Knights will be hosting Boise State in the Bounce House at 7 pm.