Lindley, Jarmon, Johnson to test NFL stock

Herald-Leader Staff WriterDecember 7, 2008 

University of Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks said that juniors Trevard Lindley, Jeremy Jarmon and Micah Johnson have all requested paperwork to get their draft status evaluated by the NFL Draft Advisory Board.

Lindley is a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation's best defensive back and is second in the SEC in pass breakups with 15 to go along with four interceptions.

Jarmon ranks in the top five at UK in career sacks, and Johnson ranks second in the SEC in tackles per game despite being bothered by a high-ankle sprain for much of the year.

Jarmon talked about the NFL process following Kentucky's practice on Saturday.

"For the most part, I'm really not interested in leaving this year, but if the opportunity arises, I'll have to take some time and evaluate the situation," Jarmon said. "I want to come back next year, but whether I will or not, I don't know. It's about business, but it's also about what makes me happy. I love it here at UK and there are other things I can do here education-wise that can help me for the rest of my life."

Brooks won't apologize for bowl eligibility

There have been many discussions on the merit of Kentucky's third straight bowl appearance after a lackluster loss at Tennessee last weekend left the Cats with a 6-6 record.

But Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks is making no apologies for his team, which is expected to accept a bid to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Sunday.

UK practiced Saturday morning and will have another practice on Sunday after taking the week off while the coaches were on the road recruiting.

"I'm not happy that we didn't win more games, but are we bowl-eligible? Yes, we are," Brooks said. "Are we glad we're going? Yes we are. And will it help us continue to get better? Yes we will."

Brooks noted that the nation's No. 1 team, Alabama, went to back-to-back Independence Bowls with 6-6 records before breaking through in 2008.

"Did they deserve to go (bowling)?" Brooks said. "I think they probably did, and they benefited from that and are now in the SEC championship game."

Injury update

Jarmon, who missed the Tennessee game after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, practiced on Saturday and said he felt 100 percent.

Free safety Marcus McClinton, who sat out the UT game with a leg laceration, also practiced.

Also, defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin (high ankle sprain) did some running on Saturday and should return to the practice field next weekend.

Brooks said it will be at least another two weeks before it's determined whether quarterback Randall Cobb (knee) will get in any practice time before the bowl. Cobb is listed as doubtful for the game.

UK won't practice during the week to prepare for final exams Dec. 15-19 and to allow the coaches to go back on the road before the dead period starts just before Christmas.

Newton starts hoops, preps for UK career

The high school football career of UK recruit Morgan Newton came to an end last week as his Carmel squad lost a 36-33 heartbreaker to Center Grove in the Indiana Class 5A state championship game. Newton finished the season with 1,938 passing yards and 22 touchdowns, and he rushed for 1,664 yards and 26 TDs in leading the Greyhounds to a 13-2 record.

Newton, an Associated Press first team All-State selection, was named Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year on Thursday and hopes to win Indiana's Mr. Football award, which should be announced sometime next week.

Newton played in his first basketball game on Friday night, scoring a team-high 11 points in Carmel's 42-40 loss to crosstown rival Noblesville.

But Newton is already looking ahead to next fall when he's expected to compete for the starting quarterback job at UK.

Newton's father, Dr. John Newton, said UK offensive coordinator Joker Phillips and quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders visited Newton last Sunday after the Cats' loss at Tennessee.

Newton will be in Lexington next weekend to attend football practice and take in the Kentucky-Indiana basketball game.

Newton will start learning the UK offense next weekend so he'll be ready to go when he reports to campus in June, his father said.

Newton is also planning to make several visits to Kentucky's spring practice. "He's ready to get going and get to work," Newton said. "He's going to be sitting in on meetings, and Joker told him to bring a notebook."

Paris not cleared to play by UK doctors, may transfer

Former UK defensive end Jamil Paris will have to look elsewhere to resume his playing career. Paris was advised to give up football because of a heart condition in March. He underwent a successful procedure to address the condition in the fall, but UK doctors did not clear him to return to the field.

Paris is visiting Florida A&M this weekend, which is where former UK quarterback Curtis Pulley relocated after being dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules.

Brooks said the school would release Paris if another school will let him play.

"We want him to lead a healthy, normal life," Brooks said. "But if another school will clear him medically, we'll obviously release him and let him try and do that."

Ex-Cat Hackett to be featured on HBO

Former UK football player Wilbur Hackett Jr. will be featured on the HBO documentary, Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football, which chronicles the heyday of football programs at historically black colleges and universities and explores the effect of the Civil Rights movement on intercollegiate athletics.

The story culminates with the Sept. 1970 game between Southern Cal, which featured African-American running back Sam "Bam" Cunningham, and Alabama, coached by the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant.

The documentary debuts on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 10 p.m.

Hackett, who lettered at UK from 1968-70, was the first black football team captain in SEC history, according to Kentucky's media guide. In 1970, he shared the Wildcats' Most Valuable Player award with fellow linebacker Joe Federspiel. Hackett is currently an official for the Southeastern Conference.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service