Phil Hoskins, a senior defensive lineman, has yet to play for the University of Kentucky this season.
Hoskins, a 6-foot-5 native of Toledo, Ohio, was expected to be a significant contributor this season. He was suspended for Kentucky’s first two games because of an academic issue but was listed behind Calvin Taylor at defensive tackle prior to the Wildcats’ matchup with Florida.
Then, during pregame warmups before the Florida game, Hoskins suffered a knee injury that required minor surgery. Now, a full two months later, head coach Mark Stoops isn’t sure if Hoskins will see the field in 2019.
“He really had some setbacks with that knee, with the surgery, and he hasn’t been 100 percent” Stoops said. “So, we will see.”
Stoops raised the possibility of Hoskins applying for a sixth year of eligibility. Hoskins played one year at Highland Community College in Kansas before redshirting in 2016. He signed with UK as part of its 2017 class and played in seven games as a sophomore in the 2017 season despite undergoing two shoulder surgeries in the spring prior.
Hoskins appeared in every game of last year’s 10-3 campaign, accumulating 21 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and threee sacks. He had a career-high four tackles in a 20-14 overtime loss at Texas A&M.
Stoops wasn’t sure how the reason for Hoskins’ first two missed games of 2019 would affect the application for a sixth year of eligibility, if it is explored. It’s still possible, too, that he could be available in the coming weeks or for the Wildcats’ bowl game, should they qualify for one.
“I don’t think there’s any guarantee on that,” Stoops said. “We’re trying to manage that right now, get as much information as we can and see how his knee responds the last four games here. But he hasn’t been cleared to this point. So, we’ll see where that goes.”
Stoops sounded giddy at the possibility of adding Hoskins next year to a roster that should be full of seniors and juniors who’ve all made big contributions as underclassmen this season, if not longer.
“If that happened, it would be pretty good for us,” Stoops said. “We spent some time in the last week, just with recruiting and looking at our roster … they’re all players. They all help, whether it’s on special teams or in the two-deep (depth chart). That kind of excites me, especially if you get the opportunity to get a guy like Phil back.”
Stoops expects senior linebacker Kash Daniel to be available this week against Tennessee. Daniel did not play in UK’s game against Missouri because of an undisclosed injury suffered during the Wildcats’ loss to Florida; it was the first game he missed in his time at Kentucky.
Daniel is fourth on the team with 36 tackles this season. He has recorded four tackles for loss and intercepted a pass. He has also broken up three passes and been credited with two quarterback hurries.