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What Davonte Robinson’s Loss Means for UK’s Secondary (SPOILER: It’s Not Good)

After Kentucky’s historic ten-win season, Mark Stoops was left with one big question, “Who’s next?”

First, most fans want to know how Stoops is going to replace Benny Snell or Josh Allen. They’re two of the greatest to ever play the position. You can’t expect one person to carry that load by themselves, but at least it is just one position. Eddie Gran has a trio of exceptional running backs and Brad White has a talented group of players lined up next to Allen’s former position on the defensive line.

Those losses weren’t the greatest hit Kentucky took. Since 2015 Chris Westry, Derrick Baity, Mike Edwards, Lonnie Johnson and Darius West were staples in the secondary. How do you replace five guys who are all in NFL training camps this summer? That question will define Kentucky’s preseason, and it just got a whole lot more difficult to answer.

Of all the returning defensive backs, Davonte Robinson had the most experience and most upside. A track star who recorded a 4.29 at UK football camp in 2015, he patiently waited for his opportunity to become the next star in UK’s secondary. Now that door has been slammed shut, thanks to an untimely injury.

Robinson will miss the 2019 season after suffering a quadriceps injury. Of all the players to go down before the start of the season, aside from Lynn Bowden, Robinson is the most difficult player to replace.

No Eraser

Not only is Robinson the most experienced player in Kentucky’s secondary, he is the most versatile. Like Mike Edwards, Robinson can play deep safety or walk up into the nickel as a slot cornerback. Run support or pass, Robinson has the tools to do it all, something this young group absolutely needs this fall.

Cornerbacks that have played slim to none must grow up fast. The trial by fire can leave them in the dust, chasing wide receivers downfield after big plays. Stoops can somewhat shield them with scheme, but only to a certain extent. A talented safety could mitigate those mistakes as well. Robinson has the athleticism and football knowledge to cover the deep zones of the field from sideline to sideline.

When projecting this group of defensive backs, there was always one optimistic caveat, “at least they have Davonte Robinson.” Now, the young players must learn without a veteran prepared to erase their mistakes.

No Preseason Without a Significant Injury

Another year, another lost starter for the season. Injuries happen on every college football team across the country, it just feels like they always happen to UK’s most important players.

In a 2018 preseason scrimmage, Kentucky lost its most talented offensive lineman when left tackle Landon Young suffered a knee injury. The year before Dorian Baker ended the best preseason of his career by suffering a season ending leg injury. In 2016 Darius West suffered his third season-ending leg injury in four years.

No Redshirt

West was able to overcome his injury and return to the field for two years as Kentucky’s full-time starter at free safety. He parlayed that into a training camp spot with the Cincinnati Bengals. West was lucky in that it happened a year earlier than Robinson. In his redshirt junior year, West’s timing and angles were off on deep balls, a side effect from being on the sideline for so long. Robinson will not receive that luxury when he returns. With a redshirt already burned, unless he receives a medical hardship waiver, the Lexington native will only have one season to be a full-time starter for the Cats.

Not Completely Inexperienced

At least Robinson played safety?

The most talented and most experienced players in the secondary all play safety and/or nickel. Jordan Griffin rotated with Robinson and Edwards in practice at each position. A defensive back who did not redshirt, he played in eight games as a true freshman and has received reps in at least 12 games in each of the past two seasons. He’s accumulated 41 tackles, five pass break-ups and an interception over the last three years.

Tyrell Ajian was formidable in limited reps at free safety last season, picking off a crucial Nick Fitzgerald pass in the fourth quarter against Mississippi State. In the interior the physical Yusuf Corker can play a significant role in run support. Moses Douglass made a few big hits as an early enrollee this spring. Quandre Mosely was recruited to Kentucky to play cornerback, but the Georgia athlete spent the last two years playing safety in junior college. All four players were four-star recruits before they came to Kentucky.

What Does This All Mean?

It sucks. There’s no other way to put it.

To spin it, one can say that Kentucky has recruited a ton of talent in the secondary. Pretty much every safety on the roster was a four-star recruit. Still, you can’t replicate in-game experience. Robinson brought talent and invaluable experience at multiple positions. Now the best way for Kentucky to limit big plays in the passing game is for the defensive line to get to the quarterback first. A Josh Allen would sure come in handy right about now.

Steve Clinkscale, Dean Hood and Stoops will earn every dollar of their paycheck as they search for Robinson’s replacement.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

27 Comments for What Davonte Robinson’s Loss Means for UK’s Secondary (SPOILER: It’s Not Good)

  1. Duck_Butter
    1:15 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

    It means if we can’t score at will, we will be lucky to win 6 games

  2. CombatMedic_98
    1:17 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

    We are good…these men are ready to step up folks…grow as we go…!

  3. KayutsBy90
    2:10 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

    We saw what Terrible Terry did to our secondary in the spring game. Buckle up boys and girls. I see 5 wins at best

    • cats646
      3:44 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      You also probably see unicorns and rainbows, cause you’re high as fuk if you think we only win 5 games.

    • 4everUKblue
      6:21 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink


    • JASUN74
      9:36 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      Lmao!! I bet he’s sucking on the pipe right now Cats!!

    • mashburnfan1
      12:57 am July 26, 2019 Permalink

      Kayuts….put your money where your finger is. Meet me at Fan Day and put up $1000…You say 5 wins and I take the over. Please name all the FR QB that are great their first season, list is very short. Even our great Tim Couch was horrible his FR year and he lost by 60 at the swamp. Takes time for most FR at any position to adjust to college ball, especially the SEC. Is why most don’t even play or play very little their first year. Yet you want to bash a young man that did what was asked of him and got us to 10 wins, some of those wins HE won {UF and Mizzou}. Most important he did not lose us games. If you actually watched the games you would have seen several nice throws and yes some bad ones. You also would have seen several drops by Baker and others like a crucial 3rd down perfect pass to Baker that he just dropped in the Mizzou game. So with Robinson out and Wilson as our QB you must think it’s easy money so please put up or STFU.

    • BluemanGreen
      9:56 am July 26, 2019 Permalink



    • KayutsBy90
      11:54 am July 26, 2019 Permalink

      Sorry mash but I don’t put money against my Cats because regardless if what I think I always watch and hope for thier success. If you feel that good about the team I implore you to but that $1000 on the over for 6.5 on FanDuel.

  4. RealCatsFan
    2:46 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

    Here comes Eeyore and company. I bet you guys are the life of the party.

  5. Skooms
    2:51 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

    It means that the usual Debbie Downers on this site will overreact as always. Oh look, it’s already happening!

    • nocode96
      2:58 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      100%. It’s ridiculous.

  6. nocode96
    2:57 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

    JFC people. When mashbum has to be the voice of reason, you know you’re way too pessimistic. I don’t even follow football, nor do I even care that much, but even I know one dude going down in the secondary doesn’t mean a list season. It’s like some of y’all just wait in the dark with a half chub waiting to pounce on any way you can say negative shlt about our program. Football, basketball, softball, volleyball…some of y’all can’t wait to find a way to let your negativity out and it’s absolutely gross. Grow up.

    • KayutsBy90
      3:30 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      “I don’t follow or care about football but let me tell you that losing the only expireneced person in our secondary isn’t a big deal.” Bro just because you don’t agree with what we think doesn’t mean you’re voice needs to be heard especially when football isn’t your thing.

    • Nickerbocker05
      5:23 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      Well that’s not what he said tho… just that it’s not a LOST season. But his voice is as important as yours and mine cause we BBN!

    • ClutchCargo
      8:50 am July 26, 2019 Permalink

      Here’s a helpful hint for ya, Kay. If you’re going to use quotation marks to argue against someone’s opinion, put their actual words between the quotation marks. It makes you look less dumb when you do this.

  7. Bobbum Man
    2:58 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

    We’ve got a a handful of good recruits in the secondary… I’m sure they see the huge opportunity now in front of them, even if it doesn’t pay off right away this will be great experience for these young guys that will surely pay off down the road… all we can do is hope atleast one of them is ready to pounce on this chance

  8. nocode96
    3:00 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

    And I was wrong in giving mashbum credit….combatmedic was the same one in this chat…the same guy who notoriously shat on the football team last year.

    • J-Dub421
      3:37 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      CM loves football, he just has a man-crush on Gunnar Hoak and hates TW for a very obvious reason he won’t ever admit to.

    • cats646
      4:45 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      Idk, I mean he’s stupid for thinking Gunnar was better than Terry, yes. But he’s not racist for thinking it.

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      5:12 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      I’m surprised he hasn’t switched jock-strap helmets to Sawyer’s by now. I mean at least he has won actual games, something Hoak can’t say.

    • 4everUKblue
      6:25 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      Worst thing about medic is he jumps off and on the bandwagon on a daily basis, last season he did that with Terry.

  9. zoupman
    8:35 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

    I thought the secondary looked really bad in the Spring game with the exception of Robinson. Don’t think we will give up 50 a game like Lou did last year, but I’m afraid we will give up 50 in at least one conference game.

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      9:49 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      I don’t think we’ll give up 50 but UGA will definitely push it if our secondary can’t handle their recieving group which of course will open up the run and make for a long night.

    • mashburnfan1
      11:28 pm July 25, 2019 Permalink

      The 2nd string secondary looked bad vs our 1st team offense. But our 1st string secondary played well vs 2nd string {Hoak} offense. This is the part of the team with the least amount of experienced depth so does sting, BUT many said we were doomed last year when Young went down and a FR {Kinnard} stepped up and did a good job. There s some talent there, they will have to grow up quickly and the coaches will have to put them in good situations and possibly blitz more. Either way I think people will step up and get the job done. Best wishes to Robinson on a full recovery, NCAA do the right thing and grant him a medical redshirt.

    10:15 am July 26, 2019 Permalink

    It hurts, but not devastating! Still a 7win season at least!

  11. Wildcat homer
    1:33 pm July 26, 2019 Permalink

    I feel bad for Robinson