How Tennessee hatred delivered Kentucky football their best QB ever

Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Tim Couch. (RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Tim Couch. (RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports) /

Tim Couch revealed how he only became Kentucky football’s best quarterback ever because of his father’s seething hatred for Tennessee.

Will Levis just ended a solid career with Kentucky football and the arrival of NC State transfer Devin Leary should keep the Wildcats well-stocked at quarterback for 2023.

But the best quarterback in program history is a title that arguably still belongs to Tim Couch, who set school records and won the 1998 SEC Player of the Year Award. He remains the only quarterback for the Wildcats to earn consensus All-American status.

The fact that he even wore Kentucky blue is all owed to his father, specifically, his father’s complete and utter hatred of the Tennessee Volunteers.

It turns out, Couch was all set to join Tennessee but an outsized reaction from his father during a recruiting visit changed his mind.

Tim Couch’s father hated Tennessee so much that he convinced his son to go to Kentucky instead

KYInsider grabbed Couch’s story from a recent appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio:

"“We’re going over everything and they’re telling me — because Peyton [Manning] was already there — how everything is going to be. You’ll come in, redshirt, this, that, and the other. And I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds great. I’m going to go to Tennessee.’ That’s where I wanted to play.“In the middle of the conversation, my dad gets up and leaves the room and he goes outside. I hear him start his old red truck up and he takes off and [Phil] Fulmer and [David] Cutcliffe are in shock. This has never happened before. A recruit’s parent just gets up and leaves in the middle of a conversation. They’re like, ‘Should we wait on him?’ I’m like, ‘He ain’t coming back.’..“I came to him and said, ‘You know, if it means this much to you for me to go to Kentucky, I’ll just go to Kentucky. But if it doesn’t work out, I’m leaving.’ I said, ‘I’ll give it one year.’”"

Many a parent has preferred their son to play at one school over another, but Elbert Couch really took it up a notch by walking out on the visiting Tennesse coaches. That’s true rivalry spirit right there.

Ultimately, things worked out for Couch, who achieved great things with the Wildcats. He went on to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. He is still the only Kentucky player to do that either.

And it worked out alright for the Volunteers too, as Tee Martin led them to a national championship in 1998.

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