Once a position of depth for the University of Kentucky, linebacker has become more and more thin in recent weeks. Here is where things stand as of Monday afternoon:
■ Likely starting outside linebacker junior Jason Hatcher will miss UK’s first two games for a violation of university policies.
■ Hatcher’s listed backup on the depth chart, redshirt freshman Kobie Walker, is expected to miss the first couple of games while recovering from ankle surgery in the offseason.
■ Starting weakside linebacker Ryan Flannigan has been out for a few days nursing a shoulder injury that has him in a sling. Flannigan’s backup, Jordan Jones, is “going to be out a couple weeks with an illness, with a sickness that sets us back a little bit,” head coach Mark Stoops said.
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■ There’s still no word on the eligibility status of Nebraska transfer Courtney Love, who has been getting reps at the middle linebacker spot with Nico Firios.
■ Redshirt freshman Dorian Hendrix, who was repping with the second team at middle linebacker behind senior Josh Forrest has decided to transfer.
One name expected to fill a gap is senior Khalid Henderson (36 games with 15 starts and 130 career tackles) at the weakside linebacker spot that Flannigan had.
As for the outside linebackers, position coach Andy Buh said the starters for the moment are senior Jabari Johnson and redshirt freshman Denzil Ware, who have both had good fall camps.
Behind them for now are true freshmen Kengera Daniel (who was at UK for spring practice) and Josh Allen. Junior-college transfer Alvonte Bell is slowly working his way into that mix as well.