With as many as 10 former Wildcats gone to chase their NFL dreams, Kentucky has several key positions to fill for next football season. Two of those spots are on the interior lines with the departures of Quinton Bohanna and Drake Jackson, a couple of longtime fixtures and contributors for Mark Stoops’ program. Bohanna played 45 career games at nose guard; Jackson played 47 as the center on the offensive line, including 44 consecutive starts snapping the football.
Their replacements are Marquan McCall, a former four-star recruit with 31 game appearances in three seasons as Bohanna’s backup on the defensive line; and Quintin Wilson, a junior with limited action in five games last season and five in 2019 at various positions on the offensive line. Both are poised to become starters in 2021, and both spoke to the media in the last week about going against each other in practice as first-teamers this spring.
Up first at the microphone, McCall, who has been one of the hottest names out of spring ball, spoke highly of the Big Blue Wall as the O-line begins the new year with a new coach and three new starting jobs up for grabs.
“They’re really starting to perfect their craft more, and just be more dominant,” McCall said of UK’s next wave of talent on the Big Blue Wall. “I really am proud of what I’m seeing from the offensive line. It was bumpy before but they’re looking really good.
“Q Wilson, he’s coming along. He’s much stronger, much more physical, much technique. I’m just really proud of those guys. They coming.”
A senior, McCall sees new things from the new-look offensive line and its new coach, Eric Wolford, who replaces the late John Schlarman as the offensive line coach in Lexington.
“It challenges me real good because they have different schemes now,” said McCall. “You never know what they’re doing, you just have to be focused, dialed in, and just go with the flow. But I like how they’re switching it up because it gets me to move more, so I like it.”
Quintin Wilson is new to the starting offensive line, but he has been going against McCall in practices for a couple of years, so the matchup is the same.
On Monday he told reporters, “I’ve been going against Marquan for a long time now, and he definitely presents his challenges. He’s done a really good job, he’s done a really good job this spring, trying to be disruptive as we’re trying to learn all of these new things. Every once in awhile as an O-line, we get him—it’s not just him running all over us—we get him, too. I know he’d hate to it admit it, but it’s a lot of competition that’s been really good for us. We’re making him better and he’s making us better.
“If you can block Marquan, you can block anybody,” Wilson added.
Hear from two of the new leaders in the trenches below: