Defensive trio unsure on NFL

ccosby@herald-leader.comJanuary 3, 2009 

The three University of Kentucky juniors who requested paperwork from the NFL Draft Advisory Board regarding their draft status said after UK's 25-19 Liberty Bowl win over East Carolina that they still haven't made a decision on their futures.

The three players: cornerback Trevard Lindley, linebacker Micah Johnson and defensive end Jeremy Jarmon said that they should get back their paperwork in a week or so and will then sit down with their families and UK Coach Rich Brooks before making a decision.

Lindley suffered a hyperextended elbow in the second quarter and sat out the second half. Lindley said the injury is not serious and will have no bearing on his decision.

Jarmon joked about how he'll come to his decision.

"I'm going to go out to Beale Street and listen to what the fans tell me," he said. "I'll have a steno pad and check off the people who say I should stay and check off the people who say I should go. At the end of the night hopefully I'll have my answer."e_SClBAwards

UK senior defensive end Ventrell Jenkins was named the game's Most Valuable Player for his game-winning 56-yard fumble return. Quarterback Mike Hartline (19-for-34, 201 yards, one TD) was named the Outstanding Offensive Player for Kentucky, and Braxton Kelley (eight tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack) was name Outstanding Defensive Player.

Darryl Freeney (five catches, 112 yards, 80-yard TD reception) was named the Outstanding Offensive Player for East Carolina. Freeney didn't play in the second half because of a concussion. Nick Johnson (13 tackles) was the Outstanding Defensive Player for the Pirates.

Big plays

UK senior cornerback David Jones set a Liberty Bowl record with his 99-yard kickoff return touchdown to start the second half. Patrick Pinkney's 80-yard TD pass to Freeney was the third-longest pass completion in Liberty Bowl history, while ECU punter Matt Dodge's 68-yard punt in the second quarter was the second-longest ever in the Liberty Bowl.

Cat fans come out

There had been concerns over the lack of tickets bought by UK fans in the days leading up to the Liberty Bowl, but when all was said and done, the turnout was better than expected. The crowd was announced at 56,251, and there appeared to be 20,000 to 25,000 Wildcats fans on hand. Last week school officials said that only about 10,000 tickets had been sold.

Barnhart defends 6-6 bowl teams

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart took exception with ESPN basketball commentator Dick Vitale, who has been vocal in his opinion that 6-6 teams don't deserve to go to a bowl. Barnhart pointed to UK's win over East Carolina and Vanderbilt's win over Boston College in the Music City Bowl to try to refute Vitale's claim.

"I was sick of hearing that," Barnhart said. "There are a bunch of 15-15 teams that make the NCAA Tournament. These kids work hard and deserve it. He should stick to basketball."

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