This is a man who tackled Teddy Bridgewater, and they still don’t think he’s a Top 10 linebacker??
Saturday Down South posted their predictions on the SEC’s Top 10 players by position, and 3 Wildcats were thought to be in the mix as the best of the conference. I am deeply upset that Avery Williamson was nowhere to be found in the Top 10 linebackers in the conference, despite being 2nd in the conference in tackles last season. It always feels like UK’s linebackers haven’t gotten their respect until they’ve reached the Denver Broncos, they’ve got it figured out.
3. Jalen Whitlow, Kentucky (SO) (Projecting Max Smith to start)
Kentucky sits in an interesting situation. They have a logical passing quarterback in Max Smith who can wing it 40 times per game, but Jalen Whitlow may give them the best chance to win now, because he’s more mobile. Anyway, I’m giving Smith the edge here, but Whitlow can and will make things happen in 2013
Unfortunately, Whitlow’s rating came in “Top Backup QB’s” however he was in a category entitled “Ready to Start”. Whitlow’s mobility would be another wrinkle in an offense that Neal Brown has said would be more run-heavy then usual this year. Ultimately Coach Brown will have to pick the QB that gives the offense the best chance to gain yards with their arm, and I think they’re confident enough in the running backs to find the guy to make the best throws.
3. Alvin ‘Bud’ Dupree, Kentucky
Bud Dupree can play linebacker or defensive end, but Mark Stoops moved Dupree back to end. At 6-4, 250 pounds, Dupree is a big-time athletic specimen few know about. He totaled 91 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 quarterback sacks as a sophomore, and he should turn in a better year under Stoops
Bud came in at #3 in the DE group which is very impressive considering the talent that position has seen in the conference, but that prediction shouldn’t be that far off. Bud is a very versatile DE to put alongside Za’Darius Smith, and I expect that both of them would be on the list by the end of the season. This is one position the UK staff won’t have to worry about.
6. Donte Rumph, Kentucky
Donte Rumph leads the Cats at tackle. In fact, the Kentucky D-line may be underrated with Alvin Dupree, Za’Darius Smith and Mister Cobble joining Rumph. Rumph has started 18 games and played in 34, and he registered six tackles for loss and four sacks last season.
Donte was thought of as the 6th best DT’s in the conference, and with more time on the field in the 4-3 defense an increase in those stats will be expected. His journey to get to UK was long, and getting here, and now playing at the level he is it’s made him a fan favorite.
14. Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Overall record: 0-0
Buzz: Mark Stoops has already made his mark on this league, because he’s penetrating the fertile state of Ohio and bringing SEC-caliber players to Lexington. However, things will get real for the first-time head coach. But coming from Florida State, he knows how to recruit and how to develop a defense. And he has OC Neal Brown to put together an explosive offense. The question isn’t whether Mark Stoops will have success at Kentucky, but rather how long Stoops will stick around Kentucky.
Stoops is the new guy, this was probably to be expected but he has proven himself a great defensive coach over the years and I don’t suspect he’ll be on the end of any rankings for very long. He hired a great, young staff that is as energized as he is about getting the program off the ground, but until the games are played there’s always uncertainty.