Just like a ten-year-old making a Lenten sacrifice, the BBN is going to have to wait a while to enjoy a Donut.
Michael Drennen II was the highest-ranked skill player in Kentucky’s highly-touted 2020 recruiting class. Nicknamed Donut, the Dublin, Oh. athlete was the No. 10 all-purpose back in America a year ago. Billed as a plug-and-play athlete who could rack up yards from the slot and lessen the blow by Lynn Bowden’s departure, through two games No. 5 has yet to play a snap for UK’s offense.
Josh Ali has lived up to preseason hype. There’s still plenty of opportunities elsewhere for receivers, especially the young ones, to move up the depth chart. When Eddie Gran was asked if that could happen for Drennen this year, the offensive coordinator pumped the brakes on immediate playing time.
“Everybody asked me the question with A.J. (Rose) when he first got here, ‘Why isn’t A.J. playing?’ They always ask why these freshmen aren’t playing. There can be a number of reasons. It can be their maturation process of learning stuff. That’s not Michael’s issue. He is smart as a whip. It just takes time. Sometimes it takes getting bigger, stronger, and learning it and the speed of the game,” said Gran.
Getting bigger and stronger doesn’t happen overnight. Expecting Drennen to be SEC game-ready appears to be out of the question, yet Gran is leaving the door open for the former four-star product to find his way onto the field.
“I think he’s got a chance to help us sometime this year if he keeps continuing to be consistent. The biggest thing is just consistency. Those big guys — I think year, this next fall with Coach Ed in the weight room is going to be unbelievable for him. This young man is talented and I’m excited about him.”
Drennen has a chance to play, yet it seems unlikely that we’ll be devouring donuts at Kroger Field this fall. Instead of Drennen filling a void in the slot, Kentucky’s received much-needed production from an unexpected source, Akeem Hayes. The redshirt sophomore from Hollywood, Fl. has caught two passes in each game this year, totaling 54 yards and a touchdown. Now a one-two punch with Ali in the slot, Gran was as surprised as any of us to see this dramatic transformation from Hayes.
“It’s been kind of nice to see that process with him because he’s done some things academically that weren’t our standards, and to be quite honest he was on his way out. He turned it around, got a heck of a summer. He’s had two 3.0s in a row and got his act together. He’s contributing now, getting better everyday. That’s the hard part about that position — everybody wants the ball. If you just sow your seeds like Coach (Stoops) always talks about, things are going to pay off and he’s starting to get a little bit of a taste of some success.”
We may or may not see Michael Drennen making plays at Kroger Field this fall, but that might not be a problem if Akeem Hayes continues to improve.