The inside linebacker already has one excellent spring game performance under his belt. As an early enrollee, the 6’4″ 220-pounder from Long County, Georgia led all defenders with eight tackles and a tackle for loss in the 2017 Blue/White Game.
Davis traveled with the team last year and had the talent to play right away, but depth gave him a year to grow (12 pounds to be exact). Following the departures of Courtney Love and Eli Brown, Davis will receive a ton of reps this spring as Stoops and House groom him into the preeminent inside linebacker reserve.
What does that role look like for Davis? As a true sophomore, Avery Williamson was slowly integrated into the defense during Danny Trevathan’s final year. The future NFL star had 49 tackles, 1.5 for loss and a pick. We should learn this spring if Davis is capable of that kind of production this fall.
The first players on the roster people forget are the transfers that spent a year on the sideline. E.J. Price might be the best Division I transfer to play a down for Kentucky in a decade. Ranked just behind Landon Young, he was one of the best offensive tackles in America when he signed with USC.
Known for having a mean streak, Young and George Asafo-Adjei will ensure that Price does not have to play right away. However, Price is expected to fill the important role of “third offensive tackle” that was left vacant by Kyle Meadows.
Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald and Chris Whittaker
Kentucky needs depth on the defensive line. They’ll get just that from Abule and Whittaker.
The man who started the Chaminade-Madonna pipeline, Whittaker was one of Freddie’s favorite 2017 signees. He used his redshirt year to shed weight. Whittaker lost 33 pounds, which should improve explosiveness at the line of scrimmage. Abule went the opposite direction. The South Florida basketball star packed on 21 pounds. Their development is critical to Kentucky’s success in the trenches.
As a true freshman, the speedy outside wide receiver could never consistently bring in the deep ball. Still, Epps persisted and finally hauled in a pair big receptions against Ole Miss, one that setup a score right before half.
There’s not answer as to why Epps couldn’t get it going in 2017. Blame it on youth, blame it on timing, blame it on the old receivers coach. Regardless of the reason, Epps has a year under his belt and an offseason to prepare with his new quarterback and perfect the deep ball.