Will Lewis and the Kentucky Wildcats are in an interesting position ahead of 2022. After the success last fall, the team led by head coach Mark Stoops is one of those dark horse contenders in the SEC East, despite defending champion Georgia being the overwhelming favorite. With some new faces and high expectations in 2022, Stoops was asked about Levis actually playing a leadership role.

- Advertisement -

“Well, that’s fantastic,” Stoops said via CatsPause. “He is a great leader, starting with his own work ethic. One of our first principles in leadership is to behave, and he certainly does a good job of it. Then he has influence to influence those close to him and get to the point where he is now, with confidence, with a year behind him, he influences the entire program and culture of our program, and everything about him is authentic, and it’s really nice to see. I think any of us who have seen people that you could see through, it won’t take long and you won’t be able to see through him because he’s real.”

- Advertisement -

As for the hype surrounding Lewis, he was selected with the first overall pick in the NFL Trial Draft in early 2023. Stoops was asked if Lewis could handle it.

- Advertisement -

“I don’t have a problem with that because he’s very motivated,” Stoops said. “He’s very driven, just because of his ability.”

Lewis finished his first season in Kentucky with 2,826 yards, 24 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a 66% completion percentage. He added 376 ground yards with nine rushing touchdowns.

A follow-up question posed to Stoops was whether his players as a whole heard too many good things and had too high expectations.

Get the fastest results, statistics, news, live videos and more. CLICK HERE to download the CBS Sports mobile app and get the latest on your team today.

“There’s always a fine line here, but our players know I’m very honest with them,” Stoops said. “What it is is what it is. They’ll hear – I’m not the kind of guy who looks at my calendar and says, ‘OK, it’s ass kicking day.’ If you know what I mean? It’s just not… I wear it on the sleeve If we were bad I would catch up with them If they were good I’m going to tell them Right now you can’t pat them on the back too much because there’s too much work to do There’s just a ton of work to be done We have a lot of work to do for both the staff and the players and there is too much to do. There are so many situations that it is impossible to cover everything, but we are trying. We are trying to keep our football awareness and football IQ very high, so we play all the situations right. I told the team about this yesterday. We could play correctly 95% of the time, play physically and do all these things, but if you play the situation wrong, you will lose. There is a lot of work to be done, and this is our goal … No, I’m not too worried about it We’re going to chase and X.