With 64 tackles in 2018, Kentucky Safety/Nickel Mike Edwards will become just the second defensive back to ever join the 300-Tackle Club. That exclusive collection of defenders is dominated by linebackers. I put a question on Twitter asking followers to name UK’s Top 3 all-time leading tacklers. Answers varied, were mostly incorrect, and heavily leaned towards recent names. In fact, zero of the program’s top six tacklers have played a down for the Cats in nearly 25 years. So, I thought we’d have periodical history lessons throughout the offseason in order to show respect to well-deserving former Cats. Today’s presentation is about the Wildcat’s all-time leading tacklers and trust me, you’ll want to read this post all the way through.
Kentucky’s 300 Tackle Club
|Position/Name||Total Tackles||Years Played|
|LB Dr. Jim Kovach||521||1974-78|
|LB Chris Chenault||482||1985-88|
|LB Jeff Kremer||475||1984-87|
|LB Marty Moore||462||1990-93|
|LB John Grimsley||437||1980-83|
|LB Kevin McClellan||416||1980-83|
|LB Wesley Woodyard||395||2004-07|
|NT Jerry Blanton||389||1974-77|
|LB Randy Holleran||379||1987, 88, 90|
|LB Danny Trevathan||374||2008-11|
|NT Richard Jaffe||350||1976-79|
|DE Brian Williams||350||1982-85|
|LB Tom Ehlers||349||1972-74|
|DB Darryl Bishop||348||1971-73|
|LB Larry Smith||342||1983-86|
|LB Tom Ranieri||329||1972-74|
|DE Art Still||327||1974-77|
|DT Doug Martin||319||1980-83|
BOLD=UK Hall of Members
* Brian Williams is listed as a defensive end. In the Wide-Tackle-6, DE’s were actually outside linebackers.
** Jerry Claiborne’s LB coach and defensive coordinator Terry Strock mentored six of the twelve linebackers listed.
As you can see above, there are five former Wildcats that accumulated over 400 tackles. Dr. Jim Kovach registered a mind boggling 521. Individual tackling records make for sketchy research; however, per Saturday Down South, the University of Kentucky claims 4 of the SEC’s Top 9 tacklers of all-time.
- Jim Kovach – 521
- Chris Chenault – 482
- Jeff Kremer – 475
- Marty Moore – 462
I posed a Twitter question inquiring if the accomplishment of recording 400 college football tackles was the equivalent of scoring 2,000 basketball points. The answer was an overwhelming yes. If that’s that case, then I continue to have an overbearing and tiring question regarding the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame.
There’s been three basketball Cats to score 2,000 career points: Dan Issel (2,038), Kenny Walker (2,080), and Jack Givens (2,038). All three were inducted in the inaugural class of university’s Hall of Fame. UK has produced six defenders that registered over 400-tackles. Just two of the six are in the Hall: Jim Kovach (1st) and Marty Moore (4th). A mere four of the eighteen members of the 300 Tackle Club are in the Hall of Fame yet four former Wildcats are listed ranked in the Top 10 in the SEC’s All-Time, Career Total Tackle category.
The program’s second all-time leading tackler, Chris Chenault, is nowhere to be found in the heralds of distinction. Same can be said of number three (Jeff Kremer), five (John Grimsley), and six (Kevin McClellan). The time has come to fix this. But, like in most processes there must be a starting point. Thirty years after his last snap while wearing the Power K, Chris Chenault deserves the respect of having his number eternally remembered.
The SEC’s fifth all-time leading tackler with 482 stops is Kentucky’s second leading tackler in program history. Can you imagine if Kenny Walker was not in the Hall? The retired Kentucky State Trooper’s enshrinement into the best of the best club needs to be now, 2018. Come on, let’s get this right. The fifth leading tackler in the nation’s most prestigious football conference is grounds for nomination to the National College Football Hall of Fame no less his alma mater’s.
So yes, Mike Edwards being 64 tackles short of joining this select club would be a significant accomplishment; no, actually Edwards would join historical all-timers. In terms of historic individual tacklers, the Wildcats own the league.