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.