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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: 2016 Defensive Roster

UK needs a big play or two from C-Dub. (Jim Edmonds | USA Today)
UK needs a big play or two from C-Dub. (Jim Edmonds | USA Today)

Yesterday, you hopefully saw the breakdown of the offensive roster for 2016 at this point.  You saw there are still a lot of experience pieces left on that side of the ball and much of the success or failure of the offense rests on Drew Barker.  Today, let’s look at the defensive side of the ball, which will experience a little more turnover than the offense but still has several key pieces returning.  A breakdown of who we might see back on the field in 2016:

DEFENSIVE TACKLE (8)
Returning
Courtney Miggins (RS Senior): 12 tackles
Reggie Meant (RS Junior): 4 starts, 49 tackles, 3 sacks
Matt Elam (Junior): 4 starts, 33 tackles
Jacob Hyde (RS Junior): 1 tackle
Adrian Middleton (RS Sophomore): 8 tackles
Tymere Dubose (RS Sophomore): 1 tackle

Incoming
Kordell Looney (3-star, 46th ranked DT)
Ja’Quize Cross (2-star)

Outlook: No more Cory Johnson or Melvin Lewis means it’s time for Matt Elam to step up or UK will have some serious problems at the middle of the line.  Reggie Meant started 4 games last season with some success, so expect those 2 to get the chance early on.  While defensive tackles are not generally your sack guys, these guys have very few tackles for loss either.  Here’s to hoping we see a little penetration from this position next season.
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DEFENSIVE END (5)
Returning
Jason Hatcher (Senior): 11 starts, 86 tackles, 5.5 sacks
Alvonte Bell (RS Junior): JUCO transfer, redshirted in 2015
Denzil Ware (RS Sophomore): 11 starts, 39 tackles, 1 sack
Kenegra Daniel (Sophomore): 1 tackle

Incoming
Jaylen Bannerman (3-star)

Outlook: Denzil Ware and Jason Hatcher seem to be the most logical candidates for the starting spots at DE.  Both have been effective at times, although Hatcher has never really starred like many thought he might coming into UK.  Alvonte Bell has waited a long time for his shot, so it will be interesting to see what kind of impact he might have as well.  UK never really got much pressure on the QB in 2015, so improvement is much needed.
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LINEBACKER (11)
Returning
Nico Firios (RS Sophomore): 1 tackle
Kobie Walker (RS Sophomore): no stats recorded
Jordan Jones (Sophomore): 10 tackles
Josh Allen (Sophomore): 4 tackles, .5 sacks
Eli Brown (RS Freshman)

Incoming
Courtney Love (Junior, transfer from Nebraska)
De’Niro Laster (Sophomore, transfer from Minnesota)
Jordan Bonner (Sophomore, JUCO transfer, 3-star, 37th ranked JUCO player)
Kash Daniel (3-star, 15th ranked LB)
Roland Walder (3-star, 42nd ranked LB)
Jamar Watson (2-star)

Outlook: Josh Forrest, gone.  Khalid Henderson, gone.  Ryan Flannigan, gone.  Those are 3 of UK’s top 6 tacklers last season and the 3 guys who occupied every starting assignment in 2015.  UK got just a little taste from it’s group of freshman and redshirt freshman in Firios, Walker, Jones, and Allen.  Obviously, Courtney Love and Deniro Laster come in to Lexington with high expectations and should see playing time immediately.  And Kash Daniel comes in with more fan expectation than maybe any other UK player.  So the pieces are there to find 2-3 guys to consistently be a force, but which of these guys will do it?
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CORNERBACK (12)
Returning
Blake McClain (Senior): 25 starts, 118 tackles, 0 INT
JD Harmon (RS Senior): 3 starts, 81 tackles, 5 INT
Kendall Randolph (Junior): 27 tackles, 0 INT
Jared Tucker (RS Sophomore): no stats recorded
Chris Westry (Sophomore): 12 starts, 36 tackles, 2 INT
Derrick Baity (Sophomore): 4 starts, 19 tackles, 0 INT
Kei Beckham (RS Freshman)
Will Jackson (RS Freshman)
Marcus Walker (RS Freshman)

Incoming
Jordan Griffin (4-star, 14th ranked DB)
Tobias Gilliam (3-star, 42nd ranked DB)

Davonte Robinson (3-star, 62nd ranked DB)

Outlook: Chris Westry likely has the #1 DB spot locked down for the next 2 years.  He’s a star.  The question is who else.  Derrick Baity started the final 4 games of the year with mixed results.  Blake McClain has played the nickle spot for a few years now and will certainly be on the field a bunch.  JD Harmon has the most INT’s coming back.  You have 3 guys who redshirted who we haven’t seen yet, plus 3 incoming freshman with some good rankings attached to them.  With Westry on one side, you have to think UK could find a capable couple of guys to play the other side.  But year after year, it seems UK struggles in pass coverage.  It’s improved but can the Cats make that next step?
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SAFETY (4)
Marcus McWilson (Senior): 11 starts, 74 tackles, 3 INT
Zack Blaylock (RS Senior): 3 starts, 15 tackles, 0 INT
Mike Edwards (RS Sophomore): 5 starts, 39 tackles, 1 INT
Darius West (RS Sophomore): 17 tackles

Outlook: Marcus McWilson is a lock for a starting spot.  I would think Mike Edwards would be next in line with the departure of AJ Stamps.  But Darius West saw the field in 10 games last year so maybe he slips in there.  Nonetheless, UK didn’t recruit any new safeties so clearly they are confident these 4 guys can get the job done.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

15 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: 2016 Defensive Roster



  1. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    8:13 am January 5, 2016 Permalink

    Why do we have 8 tackles but only 5 defensive ends? Since we play the 3-4, I thought you’d want those numbers reversed. Do we even play 4-3 much since Za’Darius and Dupree left?



    • fatbrat
      8:34 am January 5, 2016 Permalink

      Speaking of DTs I am sick of reading about how Kobie Smith has Kentucky in his top two. He was committed to UK for ever and now he wants to play for that psycho Muschamp. Smith is slow and he is overrated. Stoops should tell him not to show in Lex on the 10th or whatever. We need the kids that want to be here…no others. We can go with the DTs we have.



    • kyle heavy
      9:14 am January 5, 2016 Permalink

      JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy,

      This is not really listed accurately. It should be listed more like this in our 3-4 scheme:

      DE/LB Hybrid:
      Denzil Ware
      Kengera Daniel

      DE:
      Courtney Miggins
      Alvonte Bell

      Guards:
      Matt Elam
      Adrian Middleton
      Jacob Hyde

      Tackles:
      Regie Meant
      Tymere Dubose

      Strong-side Linebacker:
      Jason Hatcher
      Josh Allen

      I didn’t include the incoming players because I wasn’t sure where they fit in this scheme. As you can see, we don’t have as many “tackles” as it appears.



    • sasha
      9:26 am January 5, 2016 Permalink

      Elam was, is and will always be a DT. I don’t quite see how you think he is a guard. Semantically speaking he could be a nose guard, but under Stoops scheme he is considered a tackle.



    • kyle heavy
      10:22 am January 5, 2016 Permalink

      sasha,

      I will agree to disagree. He is the nose guard.



    • kyle heavy
      10:25 am January 5, 2016 Permalink

      sasha,

      In 3-4 scheme:

      You have the nose GUARD (Matt Elam) with a defensive tackle and defensive end lined up on each side of him. Then you have a strong-side linebacker and LB/DE on the ends. In the middle you have a middle line backer and weakside linebacker. Did you ever play football? Just curious.



    • @BallBlog_Chad
      3:16 pm January 5, 2016 Permalink

      different coaches use different terminology … I’ve always heard the actual defensive line in a 3-4 scheme is made up of DE/NT/DE or DE/DT/DE, I’m not really sure I can recall anybody ever using the term “nose guard” and you have 3 guys listed as guards

      again, I’m sure nose tackle and nose guard are the same, just different terminology depending on who you’re talking to … FWIW, ukathletics.com lists those 3 guys as DT

      if you were really talking about their position for a certain play call, you would mention their technique which tells you where they line up according to the offensive linemen … you’re both right, until you tell the other person they’re wrong … clear as mud?



  2. pithuahua
    8:55 am January 5, 2016 Permalink

    Yes I agree. I am sick of seeing his fat ugly head on facebook and twitter. Let him go to SC with all the big fat pesky mosquitoes and ugly cheerleaders. Sick of kids going back on commitments.



  3. Sentient Third Eye
    9:03 am January 5, 2016 Permalink

    UK loses some very productive people, but the overall talent on defense is still moving upwards. This should be a pretty solid unit, but like last year, it needs a complementary offense that will not put it in bad positions often or keep getting 3-and-outs so the defense can’t catch their breaths.



  4. @BallBlog_Chad
    10:09 am January 5, 2016 Permalink

    It’s hard to know where these guys will ultimately play when they haven’t been in yet, but I thought Walker was a safety. Hoping we find a good JUCO defensive lineman to add.



  5. dean winchester
    11:40 am January 5, 2016 Permalink

    My question is this…Smith signs aid paperwork. We can then talk to him as much as we want. Other teams cannot unless its within an approved time frame/recruiting period. The kid decommits soon after signing paperwork. Again, in a period that i believe no one is allowed to be recruiting him/in contact with him. So how does he wind up at SC without them having recruited him in a dead period? He signs with us…gets ready to.move to Lex, and all of a sudden changes course and rolls to SC. With no real explanation? Honestly, if the kid doesnt want to be here forget him, but something fishy went on there unless we pulled the offer or something.



    • UKSanders
      2:23 pm January 5, 2016 Permalink

      From reading from the free forums on other sites, Kobe Smith had an injury of some type. Upon learning this, the coaching didn’t think it was beneficial for him to enroll early. Rumor is when they suggested the new plan to Smith, he decided to look elsewhere.

      If the above is accurate, I don’t necessarily lump him in with other guys who just decommit b/c they think they see a better offer down the street.



    • dean winchester
      9:45 am January 6, 2016 Permalink

      Yeah….hopefully they can get him back. His film looked really good.



  6. ReverendBlue
    1:49 pm January 5, 2016 Permalink

    Why would the Smith kid decommit from UK to go to the one school we have passed the last two years in the SEC?



  7. johnsmith
    3:51 pm January 5, 2016 Permalink

    Does Eddie Gran ever go under center or is it mainly pistol and shotgun?