Devin Leary on Comeback Player of the Year Watch List
Senior quarterback Devin Leary has been named to the October watch list for the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year Award, it was announced today by the College Sports Communicators (formerly College Sports Information Directors of America [CoSIDA]) in association with The Associated Press (AP) and the Fiesta Bowl Organization. Leary is one of 50 college football student-athletes from 43 different schools on the updated list.
Since 2018, the award has recognized college football student-athletes from all divisions of college football for overcoming injury, illness, or other circumstances. At the conclusion of each season, in a vote by a panel of college football writers, editors, and sports information directors, three college football student-athletes are honored as Comeback Player of the Year Award winners at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl.
Leary, 6-1, 217-pound quarterback of Sicklerville, New Jersey, transferred to Kentucky in January of 2023 after four seasons at NC State. Overall, he went 17-9 as a starter and left NC State ranked sixth in school history in career passing yards (6,807) and fourth in career completion percentage (.602). In 2022, he had the Wolfpack clicking on all cylinders to start the season with a 5-1 record and a top-15 national ranking. He completed 118-of-193 passes for 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns when he suffered a tear in his right pectoralis major.
Following a surgery and almost a year of not playing, Leary has returned to the gridiron to lead the Wildcats to a 5-1 overall record, including 2-1 in Southeastern Conference play, with a top-25 national ranking (No. 24 in the AP poll and No. 23 in the coaches’ poll). He has completed 92 of his 168 passing attempts (54.8 percent) for 1,257 yards, 12 touchdowns and just five interceptions through six games.
Leary threw for at least 240 yards and at least one touchdown in each of his first three games in Blue and White. He became the first quarterback to do that in at least two-and-a-half decades.
He is also on the watch lists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Top 25, Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Award.
Previous winners of the Comeback Player of the Year Award include Kentucky’s Kenneth Horsey (2020) and J.J. Weaver (2021).