Mark Stoops announced after today’s scrimmage that Dorian Baker suffered a significant ankle injury, the second senior injured on the Kroger Field Turf in two weeks. The severity is currently unknown, but if Baker cannot perform for an extended amount of time, what’s next for UK’s wide receivers?
The redshirt sophomore wide receiver was listed as UK’s starter at the “X” outside receiver in the first depth chart of the 2017 season. He has since moved to the “Z” position and was splitting reps with Baker and the first string leading into today.
Richardson showed promise in his first career game, hauling in 2 receptions for 74 yards against Southern Miss. After a season of experience, Richardson said yesterday he feels, “like a veteran,” and is prepared to make the jump from year one to year two.
Dorian Baker’s (potential) loss leaves UK without their largest target on the outside. Insert Kayaune Ross. Playing opposite of Baker, the junior college transfer is one of the hardest workers on the team, and one of the tallest at 6’6″ 225 pounds. If Baker cannot be utilized in situations where they need a big guy, they still have Big Ross.
Josh Ali, Isaiah Epps, Clevan Thomas and Lynn Bowden have impressed coaches as soon as they stepped on campus. They’ve done it in the weight room, on the practice field and in scrimmages, including today’s. Stoops said there’s room for all four freshmen to play right away.
“I think we’re going to. I do,” Stoops said today. “I feel like they’re really good players. They’re just ball players. They can probably help us on special teams and bring them along. As you know, we lose a pretty good group after this year.”
Ali will now be the second team “Z” behind Tavin Richardson. JaVonte Richardson is another player that could potentially play his way onto the field this fall at outside receiver.
A Silver Lining
Just like UK’s loss at left tackle, if there’s a position that can absorb an injury, it’s wide receiver. There’s a ton of young, yet unproven talent prepared to play right away.
Losing a leader like Dorian is difficult for a meeting room to handle, but ankle injuries leave room for optimism. They can be nagging and last an entire season, or they can go away after a few weeks of rest and rehab. We’ll find out next week how long the Cats will be without Dorian Baker.