Today, two players will wear different jersey numbers in honor of their fellow Wildcats.
UK just announced that Drake Jackson will wear the No. 65 in honor of offensive line coach John Schlarman, who wore the number during his playing days at Kentucky (1994-97). Schlarman has been battling stage four cancer since 2018 and missed the trip to Missouri last week.
“Found out a little later in the week that Coach Schlarman wasn’t going to make the trip with us,” Jackson said after Kentucky’s loss in Columbia. “We have faith that he’s coached us up well enough to handle it, with the resources we have with Coach Finck, Coach Gran, other coaches. … I believe we were able to make some adjustments at halftime that gave us a little bit of a spark there in the second half. We would’ve liked to get there earlier, but we continue to pray for Coach Schlarman, and we know he’s still fighting.”
This week, Luke Fortner told reporters that Jackson has acted as a sort of player-coach, collaborating with Eddie Gran and graduate assistants to make sure the Big Blue Wall is ready to play today.
“It’s kind of funny to see all that he knows because he’d keep his mouth shut when Coach Schlarman was talking. Now he’s telling you everything. ‘Wait a minute, I thought that’s what Schlarman would say?’ You can tell that he’s worked really hard to get to the point where he’s at. He understands things your average starter doesn’t. He’s a smart guy and works his butt off,” said Fortner.
Meanwhile, defensive end Josh Paschal will wear the No. 22 in honor of Chris Oats, who is out this season due to a serious medical condition.
Schlarman and Oats strong.