The annual Blue-White spring game always open the door for the lesser-known Wildcats to introduce themselves to football fans. We already know about Stephen Johnson and Benny Snell and Jordan Jones and Dorian Baker and the like, but there are some young studs on the depth chart who haven’t had their moment just yet. The spring game can be that moment, and I have five potential sleepers who may catch your eye in tonight’s game.
#31 | Jamar “Boogie” Watson
Linebacker | Freshman (RS)
If you’re not familiar with Boogie, you better get familiar. After redshirting last season as a top-100 linebacker out of high school, Watson has turned heads this spring. He stepped in for Denzil Ware in last weekend’s scrimmage and “didn’t miss a beat,” as Freddie Maggard said it, which is very good to hear. Ware is one of the best players on the team, so if Watson is already playing up to his level, the young man has a bright future on the Kentucky defense.
#12 | Gunnar Hoak
Quarterback | Freshman (RS)
Gunnar Hoak is a name you probably already know because he is a quarterback and quarterbacks get all the love. You also probably remember his performance in last year’s spring game when he connected on four of five passes with one touchdown after only being on campus a couple months. With that said, you may not know that he has been great this spring and worked his way into a reliable backup to Stephen Johnson while Drew Barker has been out. Expect another big spring game from him tonight.
#10 | A.J. Rose
Running Back | Freshman (RS)
A.J. Rose was in a competition with Benny Snell last fall to see who would play right away and who would redshirt. It was a tight race that Snell won in the end, as you well know. But now it’s Rose’s time to carry the rock for the Wildcats and he may be No. 2 in the backfield rotation behind Snell. With Boom and JoJo long gone, the offense needs a second ball-career it can trust and Rose can be that guy. Watch him tonight because you’ll be watching him a lot this season.
#90 | T.J. Carter
Defensive End | Sophomore
The defensive line needs guys to step up and T.J. Carter is one of those guys the staff is looking to for just that. Carter burst onto the scene late last season when he shined in the TaxSlayer Bowl as a true freshman filling in for senior captain Courtney Miggins. Now he’s drawing praise as a standout this spring and as a future starter on the defensive line.
#59 | Kordell Looney
Defensive Tackle | Freshman (RS)
Much like Carter, Kordell Looney is a youngster who might have to play veteran snaps this fall. He redshirted last season when he came to Lexington as the 57th-ranked defensive tackle in the 2016 class and he’s already in a battle with his fellow D-linemen for who Matt House will trust and rely on the most. He and Carter were two players that were mentioned often over the course of spring practices as young star on that side of the ball.