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Kentucky coach Mark Stoops still deciding among 4 candidates to be the Wildcats' starting QB

  • Kentucky-Media Day Football-1.jpg

    Kentucky starting quarterback hopefuls, from left, Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips, Drew Barker and Max Smith wait to have their photo taken during the team's NCAA college football media day, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp) (The Associated Press)

  • Kentucky-Media Day Football-2.jpg

    Kentucky's Patrick Towles (14) enjoys a quiet moment during the team's NCAA college football media day, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp) (The Associated Press)

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops would like to announce his starting quarterback within the next week.

His four candidates for the job aren't making that decision easy.

Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown are considering junior Maxwell Smith, sophomore Patrick Towles, redshirt freshman Reese Phillips and freshman Drew Barker to put under center for the Wildcats' season opener Aug. 30 against Tennessee-Martin.

Towles, a high-profile recruit in Joker Phillips' final recruiting class before he was fired during the 2012 season, struggled early in his career.

But after a productive spring, the 6-foot-5 Kentucky native entered fall camp as the front-runner.

Smith and Jalen Whitlow, who has transferred to Eastern Illinois, shared quarterbacking duties last season. The Wildcats were 98th out of 123 FBS teams in total passing in 2013.