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What Denzil Ware’s transfer means for UK Football

Denzil Ware

Denzil Ware stunned everyone a few hours ago when he announced he is transferring from Kentucky. The star outside linebacker graduates this weekend and will be able to play immediately at the school of his choice.

“It was a very tough decision to make,” Ware wrote on social media. “I want to thank Coach Stoops and all the other coaches for everything they’ve done for me. Thank you, #BBN for all the support over these last three years. To my teammates, y’all are my brothers. I’ll always bleed blue. Go Cats.”

Ware played in 12 games last year, finishing with 47 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. He was suspended for the Music City Bowl for an unspecified violation of team rules (which probably stemmed from the trashcan throwing incident vs. Louisville), but tweeted in January he would return for his senior season and participated in spring practice.

What does this mean for Kentucky and Mark Stoops? Let’s talk it over.

One returning star is gone

One of the bright spots going into next season was experience, especially on defense. Over three years at Kentucky, Ware started 30 games and recorded 156 tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. Last year, Ware was second to only Josh Allen in tackles for loss and sacks. Kentucky still has Allen, Mike Edwards, and Jordan Jones back on defense, but losing Ware is a major, unexpected blow.

Will Joshua Paschal take his spot?

Allen and Ware dubbed themselves the “Blitz Brothers” last season and were a formidable duo. With Ware gone, Joshua Pashcal is the obvious choice to fill the void. Paschal played defensive end this spring, but Drew Franklin thinks he’s the perfect man for Ware’s job:

Josh Allen needs a new Blitz Brother

Instead of moving Paschal, Stoops could open Ware’s spot up to Boogie Watson, Kengera Daniel, or redshirt freshman Jordan Wright. Thankfully, there are options, but these are major questions we didn’t anticipate asking a few weeks back.

Are top players transferring becoming a trend?

This is the second year in a row a starter has left the program as a grad transfer. Last year, wide receiver Jeff Badet — Ware’s former roommate — left Kentucky for Oklahoma and ended up signing with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent. Was the allure of winning big elsewhere enough for Ware to give up a starting spot in the SEC or was he simply ready to cut ties after a messy end to his junior season?

We’ll probably never know for sure, but senior stars leaving definitely doesn’t need to become a trend.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

43 Comments for What Denzil Ware’s transfer means for UK Football

  1. Shootin3sOnGrass
    7:37 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    Transferring didn’t work out too well for Badet. He could’ve been an undrafted free agent here.

    • makeitstop
      7:46 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

      Probably would’ve but he wouldn’t hv played w a Heisman Trophy winner, top draft pick and gone to the National semi-finals. I don’t blame Badet bc he wasn’t going to get the ball much from SJ like he would w that offense at OU, and heck it’s about getting a job, but Ware is really inexplicable unless it’s conduct related. That hurts.

    • notFromhere
      8:02 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

      Badet had the same stats at OU that he had the year before here. It was a stupid move on his part, just as this is for Ware. Egos and asshoooles

    • kjd
      10:35 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

      SJ had bum shoulder and wasn’t going to be throwing deep consistently. Smart move on Badet’s part.

    • Miller45
      10:39 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

      he got to play in the rose bowl. beat the Buckeyes in Columbus, and play for a conference championship…..

    • notFromhere
      10:55 pm May 4, 2018 Permalink

      He had 300 yards receiving or something pathetic like that. Did nothing more than watch other people catch passes, just like he did at Kentucky most plays. Make excuses for em all you want. Should’ve at least had the balls to not give the BS “I’ll always bleed blue” line these guys troll.

  2. Drogon
    7:41 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    B*tch move. Team finally found out after 3 years what kind of teammate this dud really is.

  3. Underdog
    7:56 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    Crap. Just crap.

    Seems like a very rude thing to do.

    In fact, it is rude to the program and coaches. So I’m guessing that what happened is he felt like he was being disrespected or being treated rudely, so the way a prideful person would handle it is to say, “I’m not going to let you get the last word, or hold me accountable or disrespect me, I’m going to take my ball and go home. Good luck trying to fill my spot, s*** heads.”

    I’m not saying that happened, but what I am saying is that that is a plausible explanation. People who know him personally would know if this is accurate or not.

    • Rembrandt
      9:32 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

      It isn’t rude. It happens a lot, and it is a personal decision.

    • Underdog
      10:20 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

      It’s a personal decision to ask your wife out. So that’s not rude.

      If he was leaving to pursue a degree which the UK grad school didn’t offer, then I say that is not rude.

      In other words, if there is a legit reason, then it’s not rude.

      But if it was purely personal, as in you want to go play football with your friend or for another coach, or to win a National Championship, then yes, it’s rude.

      I’ll give him the benefit of a doubt and say it’s for legit reason, like disciplinary in nature, for example.

    • ukkatzfan
      12:32 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

      There are many “plausible explanations”. Some are positive, some negative, and there are other reasons of unforeseen circumstances. Any guesses tell more about person guessing than what is the real reason. But we can’t really expect any dog to really be a true fan of the Cats.

    • Rembrandt
      6:54 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

      Let’s cut through the BS. Ware is a good football player, but he has underperformed here. Almost everyone understands this. Ware has been outplayed by a 2 star Sam and a true freshman Jack. Ware was suspended for violating team rules, and did not play in our bowl game. Stoops said at multiple press conferences that he was not sure whether Ware would be back next year. So, now, he isn’t coming back. You and the columnist can pretend like it’s some kind of a mystery if you like. Or you can call it rude if you like. But most people who really follow and understand UK football can see what happened here.

  4. notFromhere
    7:59 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    What it means is Jamin Davis and Boogie Watson will get PT and show us they can do this job. With Josh inside, whomever plays the OLB spot is gonna have opportunities to shine. Excited to see what these young men can do!

  5. makeitstop
    8:02 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    He was rated as a potential draft pick, the draft JUST HAPPENED! He announced he was coming back to win the East. Then right after the draft he transfers? Doesn’t that indicate he was pushed out? And I’ll always bleed blue sounds like he’s not saying FU he’s saying he regrets it. Who knows.

  6. Luether
    8:17 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    It’s hard enough to recruit SEC caliber linebackers to Ky – it’s even harder to lose them…

    • Rembrandt
      9:37 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

      Nonsense. It isn’t “‘hard to recruit SEC linebackers” to UK. Have you heard of Jordan Wright? Chris Oats? Deandre Square?

    • notFromhere
      10:59 pm May 4, 2018 Permalink

      Nonsense is exactly right. Football depth? Sure that’s hard to build at a basketball school in the SEC, but its not hard to get the talent to UK at LB.

  7. Le Docteur
    8:33 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    Next time someone lectures fans about calling out players, I’m going to remember this. This loyalty BS goes both ways. My season tickets cost THOUSANDS. Dude’s leaving not just his teammates but fans who invest money and emotion in the program, including him. I’m not saying “he’s dead to me” I’m saying GTFO.

  8. bigblue98
    8:43 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    Next man up – after today he is forgotten at UK. He’s not irreplaceable – Paschal and the D will be just fine. Towards the end of last year he was a beast. With a year in the weight room he will be a BEAST – Go Cats!

    • Rembrandt
      9:54 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

      Agreed. This column reaffirms that KSR is struggling with football analysis. Freddie is already missed. There is no “transfer trend” at UK. That’s inflammatory nonsense. Transfers happen everywhere. Context needed! The columnist didn’t mention that Ahmad Wagner, Terry Wilson, and EJ Price are transferring TO Kentucky. Ware was suspended for our bowl game, and Stoops said at the time that his future in the program was uncertain. Where’s the mystery? Now Ware is posing it as a “difficult decision”. But Stoops probably made his decision for him. Best thing for all parties. Ware massively underachieved. He is not a “star” as this columnist would have you believe.

      Josh Paschal has moved to DE, so he will not replace Ware as the columnist is suggesting. Paschal will start at DE, and Ware’s job will be capably filled by Jordan Wright, Chris Whittaker, or Kengera Daniel. KSR would get better football analysis by hiring me.

    • katmandue2you
      10:57 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

      If ksr covered football like most sec schools are covered or like they cover basketball, there would be all kinds of insightful analysis of our options. Problem is that no one at ksr really possesses that knowledge

    • Brian in Franklin
      11:29 pm May 4, 2018 Permalink

      Agree and agree. Nick Roush is the only KSR writer left with any amount of football knowledge, but he can turn on the team at the drop of a hat and be the worst Debby Downer.

    • whatwasthat
      10:59 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

      What he said, Freddie why did you leave, you left us in incapable hands. It’s difficult to know who missed more time every game with injuries Ware or Westry, probably close, but would lean that Stoops made decision for him.

    • Rembrandt
      7:07 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

      I’m not saying the KSR columnists don’t try hard. Obviously, they put a lot of their time into it. I’m sure they are good people. But this is an SEC football program on the rise, and KSR is getting a lot of clicks for their sponsors because of that. So there is an implied obligation to provide our fans with quality coverage, so the usual list of false impressions and stupid coach bashing doesn’t have a major website as an enabler. Suggesting there is a transfer trend out of UK football is simply false. Repeating unsubstantiated innuendo is not responsible journalism.

  9. N-UR-i
    8:46 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink


  10. callitlikeiseeit
    9:09 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    Agree with most others. Don’t give me this always my brothers and always bleed blue garbage. You are leaving, don’t care for what reason, you are no longer a C-A-T. Don’t wish you any luck with your new team or future in football. You quit on us we quit on you.

  11. callitlikeiseeit
    9:52 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    • makeitstop
      11:04 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

      THANK YOU for providing some context by doing some simple research! I love KSR and I know they have to generate a lot of content but just doing A little simple research for context before writing the article would be much appreciated. Same w the NBA combine hysteria – how many players test the water without agents return ? Simple research – I dug down and got close (overwhelming majority) but that’s what the writers should do!

  12. kjd
    10:37 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    Every year there is turmoil.

  13. JCnKY
    11:29 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    Hate this. He was one of my favorite players. That being said I would like to see J Wright not red shirt and get playing time this year. Think he will be a stud for sure.

  14. trevuk2k
    1:42 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

    Why is a few taking this out on Ksr. They provide us with a platform to talk with other UK fans when things like this happen. Ware leaving sucks but don’t blame it on Ksr and their coverage into football. Matt will find someone to cover football for us just like he did with Freddie. Freddie is the best, so he won’t be better than Freddie but maybe close. Ksr is awesome, what other fan base in any sport has the awesome platform that Matt and friends has provided. Blame no one but who the facts say to blame when they eventually trickle out. We all know they will.

  15. TBW3011
    6:43 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

    Weak ass move with the timing Denzel. Super weak. And NFL execs will take note of what type guy they’re getting.

  16. JPGott2
    9:42 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

    I get players leave other programs….My question is, how many of those players are Day 1 starters??????? That is what I do not get. Most players leave due to playing time issues. UK is losing studs!…..

  17. Kat4Life
    9:44 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

    [email protected] him and the horse he rode in on. He is dead to me.

  18. icheeralluksports
    9:51 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

    Why does this seem a trend/problem in UK football but not in UK basketball.

  19. My Dixie Wrecked
    10:29 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

    Another 4-Star recruit transferring. Look at all of Stoop’s 4-star recruits. The majority have transferred or completely failed on the field.

  20. JRock1966
    10:43 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

    Why didn’t he just turn pro? I’m sure some club would’ve invited him to camp as a FA. Does graduate school mean that much to him?

  21. Wade
    11:13 am May 4, 2018 Permalink

    Who would want to learn a new system when your one of the leaders on this team. But paschal is better and his other blitz bro is way better so maybe he thinks 3rd best de isn’t a good look. Should of just tried his hand at nfl but he has a negative light around him after the Louisville incident. He will go to small school and put up big numbers. Best plan I quess for someone who don’t want to be a cat. See ya.

  22. trumpetguy
    5:32 pm May 4, 2018 Permalink

    ….maybe he wants to go elsewhere so he can be on a team that wins more games, gets more national exposure thereby increasing his NFL chances. UK not exactly churning out NFL talent.

    • CatsandPats
      8:00 pm May 4, 2018 Permalink

      I agree with this guy and his trumpet. He probably wouldn’t have played half the season anyways and personally, I would much rather have someone in his spot that actually wants to suit up in the blue and white. He is definitely replaceable and has underperformed to say the least. Next man up.

    • notFromhere
      11:03 pm May 4, 2018 Permalink

      He could increase his chances by not making stupid decisions that hurt his team

  23. Brian in Franklin
    11:26 pm May 4, 2018 Permalink

    Now we wont have to worry about Ware going down with a cramp about every 3rd play.