When the football Cats report on Thursday for the start of fall football camp, many are hoping several true freshmen are able to make an impact this season. The Cats have 25 true freshmen expected to report this week including three gray shirt players. Below are my predictions based on feedback I have received on the newcomers.
Most likely to play
Josh Clemons (RB), Daryl Collins (WR), Bud Dupree (TE), Glen Faulkner (S), Farrington Huguenin (DE/LB), Maxwell Smith (QB), DJ Warren (FB)
Some people are ready to proclaim Josh Clemons the next Marcus Lattimore and Daryl Collins the next Randall Cobb. While I don’t like to put big expectations on true freshmen, these two have a chance to contribute a lot this fall. Some tell me Clemons is the biggest and fastest running back on the team currently. Collins has been really impressive during 7 on 7 drills and many are expecting him to contribute immediately. There has been similar feedback regarding Bud Dupree. He could be the most athletic Tight End on the roster. Glen Faulkner was the highest rated recruit in the signing class and many are expecting big things from him this fall. The key for Faulkner will be learning Rick Minter’s system. Farrington Huguenin attended prep school last fall and is physically ahead of most freshmen reporting. Huguenin is very fast and projected to play the hybrid position. Maxwell Smith could be the most important freshman on the roster. Smith enrolled in December, went through a few bowl practices and spring practices. Smith enters the season as the back up Quarterback and one play away from becoming the starting Quarterback. DJ Warren could just as easily fall to the group below. He has to learn the system too, but Cats are trying to find a starting Full Back.
Marcus Caffey (RB), Theltus Cobbins (QB), Christian Coleman (DT), Rashad Cunningham (WR), Eric Dixon (CB/S), Ashely Lowery (S), Travaughn Paschal (DE)
Players in this group could easily see action this fall or as Joker says, “get on the bus.” Most feel Marcus Caffey will red shirt this fall, but Joker Phillips has stated the team will need both freshmen running backs this season. Theltus “Bookie” Cobbins is essentially the No 3 Quarterback on the roster. Some feel UK could put in a few packages for him this fall to utilize the “Wildcat” package. While I believe he will dress for games, I doubt the staff wastes a season of eligibility on a few meaningless snaps. Christian Coleman is a very athletic and strong defensive lineman. Most expect Coleman to red shirt the upcoming season, but UK’s depth chart may derail those plans. Physically, Coleman is ready. Rashad Cunningham is a big wide receiver. He is another player who most feel is borderline. Not only can he catch the ball, but he has the size to block on the outside. Eric Dixon and Ashely Lowery could both see action this fall with the departure of Dakota Tyler. Joker Phillips just announced Mychal Bailey has been suspended for the first game. Most feel both players would benefit from a red shirt season, but the depth chart and Glen Faulkner’s late arrival could force them to play this season. Travaughn Pascal was a late addition to the recruiting class. Many people feel Paschal fits a “need” for the program currently. He spent last season at Fork Union (Prep School) and is in a similar situation as Farrington Huguenin.
Most likely to red shirt
Nile Daniel (WR), James Elliott (OL), Josh Forrest (ATH), Daylen Hall (CB), Jabari Johnson (LB), Shaq Love (DL), Darrian Miller (OL), Tim Patterson (LB), Demarius Rancifer (LB), Demarco Robinson (CB), Zach West (OL)
Each of the players mentioned in this group appears headed for a red shirt season. In most cases, it’s best to red shirt freshmen in order for them to adjust to college. The game speed is much faster, competition is stronger and they have to learn a new system. James Elliott has been rumored to gray shirt and enroll after the fall semester, but he could stay depending on the scholarship number. The staff has already stated they prefer to red shirt each of the offensive linemen, but injuries could change their plans. There are four or five players mentioned in this group who could change positions so they are likely headed for a red shirt season so the staff can continue to evaluate them.
** Josh Clemons sent me the picture above on signing day in February.