Kentucky’s terrific 2018 pass rushing tandem of Boogie Watson and Josh Allen could each finish their careers as two of UK’s five best pass rushers. Watson enters his senior season with 13.5 career sacks, the most of any active SEC player. If Boogie can replicate last year’s production in only ten games, he’ll move into fourth all-time on UK’s career sack list.
Watson is well aware of where he falls in the pecking order. He’s not willing to publicly state his specific goals ahead of the season, but he’s pooling all resources available to reach those lofty goals. The best resource is his former running mate, Josh Allen. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2019 first round draft pick had this advice to give to Boogie ahead of his final season in Lexington:
“Be dominant. Every play just try to dominate. Don’t take no plays off.”
Easy enough, right?
Like Allen, Boogie is attempting to use his senior campaign to catapult himself up NFL draft boards into the first round. Even though the shortened schedule may not benefit him statistically, the quality of opponents make it the perfect proving ground. “I control my own destiny,” Boogie said.
Now there’s a new Boogie wearing similar shoes to the ones Watson wore in 2018. Jordan Wright plays opposite of Watson as the Cats’ Jack linebacker. Last year his feet were held to the fire. Wright passed the test in his make or break 2019 season, recording six tackles for loss and three sacks. Now as a redshirt junior, Boogie believes Wright is ready to take the next step.
“It’s a big year for him and I think he understands the moment,” Boogie said. “He came here and he’d be the first to say he started on a bumpy road. He had to make a decision on what kind of player he wanted to be and I think last year he made the decision. I think he’s really going to take a step forward this year.”
Now it’s Boogie’s turn to dole out the advice to Wright. In practice he’ll probably be a little more specific than “be dominant.”