UK Football

Junior Denzil Ware says he plans to return to Kentucky for his senior season

Kentucky defensive end Denzil Ware (35) carried the ball for a touchdown after recovering the ball fumbled by Southern Miss Golden Eagles quarterback Kwadra Griggs (7) during their game at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. Kentucky beat Southern Miss 24-17.
Kentucky defensive end Denzil Ware (35) carried the ball for a touchdown after recovering the ball fumbled by Southern Miss Golden Eagles quarterback Kwadra Griggs (7) during their game at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. Kentucky beat Southern Miss 24-17. aslitz@herald-leader.com

Another junior defensive standout announced that he plans to return to Kentucky next season.

Denzil Ware, who was suspended for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl for an unspecified violation of team rules, posted on Twitter on Thursday that he will be playing next season.

“After long consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to return for my senior year at Kentucky,” he said. “Ya boy is back! Let’s win the East.”

Ware was making a reference to the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference, a reason that both fellow linebacker Josh Allen and safety Mike Edwards cited in their decisions to forgo the NFL Draft and return to UK for their final seasons.

Both Allen and Edwards were made available by Kentucky on Thursday for a news conference about their decisions, but not Ware, who played in 12 games with seven starts last season. He finished with 47 tackles, including nine for a loss and 6.5 quarterback sacks. The junior also had one interception, two recovered fumbles and two forced fumbles for the Cats.

“Denzil will not participate in the bowl game — violation of team rules — and I cannot elaborate anymore on that,” Coach Mark Stoops said in the days leading up to the bowl game in Nashville last month. Ware was allowed to practice with the team during bowl week and was on the sideline for the game against Northwestern.

When asked if he expected the junior linebacker to return next season or if the violation will linger into next season, Stoops said: “No further comment on that.”

In two separate interviews since then, Stoops continued to decline comment on the situation.

Ware would be one of 10 starters back on defense for Kentucky, which will return 17 full-time starters and several other players who have started a significant number of games.

Jennifer Smith: 859-231-3241, @jenheraldleader

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