If you live outside of Warren County, Kentucky, you have a pass for not knowing who Caden Veltkamp is prior to Saturday. Now however, college football fans everywhere know him as the guy behind one of the biggest comebacks in postseason history.
The Redshirt freshman quarterback subbed in during the first half of Monday’s Famous Toastery Bowl and didn’t look back. He helped the Hilltoppers overcome a 28-0 deficit and five total turnovers to win the game 38-35 in overtime against Old Dominion. Veltkamp finished with five touchdown passes and 383 yards through the air.
Regular starter Austin Reed chose not to play in the bowl game. WKU head coach hinted at lingering injuries being the reason for that decision.
The Caden Veltkamp era has began at WKU— Barstool Western (@BarstoolWestern) December 19, 2023
(Speaking this into existence so hopefully he takes his name out of the transfer portal)pic.twitter.com/B4ahXXMCO0
Veltkamp was noticeably in the immediate aftermath of the game. It’s understandable, considering the achievement for a team he grew up literally next door to and for whom his dad is the strength coach.
Now, the question becomes this - will Veltkamp return to Western Kentucky? Veltkamp’s name has been in the transfer portal since Thanksgiving weekend. Helton allows players in the portal to play in the bowl game, if they choose. He has three seasons of eligibility remaining.
When asked if transferring was still in his plans immediately after the win, Veltkamp’s response was “couldn’t tell ya.”
“If they ask me to come back, we’ll see. If not, we’ll see, I guess. But I can’t give you an answer. I got nothing for you right now.”
It’s clear that Veltkamp played in the moment in the Hilltoppers’ bowl win, leading the program’s third bowl win in a row. He’ll likely take the same approach to the next few weeks, seeing what opportunities come his way. If he does choose to stat at WKU, he would arguably be the most extensive development job that WKU has undertaken at quarterback since Helton arrived. The Tops have found differing levels of success with Arkansas transfer Ty Storey, Maryland transfer Tyrrell Pigrome, and Houston Baptist transfer Bailey Zappe as the full-time starter in recent years. Reed was also a transfer prior to 2022, joining from DII West Florida. Of those names, only Reed had multiple years at WKU as the starting QB.
Players can begin signing with their 2024 clubs on Wednesday.