With all of the SEC spring practices wrapping up last weekend, ESPN’s SEC blog is ranking position groups from each team. Even though Kentucky’s offense was far from being a high octane threat in 2015, Edward Aschoff, Alex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf like what they see from the Wildcats moving forward.
As they work their way through offensive position groups, the running backs obviously have the most depth, coming in at #6.
This might be the offensive position with the fewest questions for the Wildcats. Stanley “Boom” Williams has plenty of potential, but off-field issues have eaten into his production. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry last year, but should have been better than his 855 yards. Jojo Kemp added 555 yards, while Mikel Horton got a fresh start after registering 318 yards last fall.
And they didn’t even include the leading rusher from the Blue/White Game, Sihiem King. To the surprise of many in the BBN, they put Kentucky’s pass-catchers on the same level as the running backs, coming in at #6.
Don’t sleep on this group. Garrett Johnson and Dorian Baker each flashed next-level ability at times last season. Just go put on the tape of the Auburn game, and you will see how good Johnson could be. And after those two, there are plenty of potential weapons with wide receivers Ryan Timmons, Jeff Badet and Blake Bone, as well as tight end C.J. Conrad.
To round off the skill positions, they like what they saw from Drew Barker, ranking him at #7. Even though he’s only played in a few games, he’s one of the few quarterbacks in the SEC who won’t be fighting for a starting spot in the fall.
Drew Barker didn’t scoff at going through yet another position battle. Instead, he went wire-to-wire as first-team QB this spring, fending off juco transfer Stephen Johnson. While Barker wasn’t sharp in relief of Patrick Towles late last season, it will be interesting to see how he settles in now that Towles is gone, and he’ll have gone through an entire offseason with the comfort of knowing he’s the starter.
A pessimist might see this simply as offseason conjecture. If nothing else, an outsider’s perspective validates what we have seen from the Cats. The potential for Kentucky to reach a new level under Mark Stoops this fall isn’t farfetched.