One of the biggest post-spring question marks for the University of Kentucky defense is who will line up at defensive end opposite senior All-Southeastern Conference candidate Jeremy Jarmon.
A potential answer will arrive on campus June 22, when junior-college transfer DeQuin Evans enrolls for summer school. UK could also get immediate help from another member of its signing class, Donte Rumph.
Rumph signed with UK in 2008 but spent the year at Fork Union Military Academy before re-signing in February.
Rumph said this week that he is set to graduate from Fork Union in June and is now awaiting the results from his most recent SAT. If he gets the necessary score, he would arrive in Lexington on June 21 and enroll in classes. Rumph said that if he comes up short, he'd be able to re-take the test in June.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"It's stressful, but I really feel good about the last test," Rumph said. "I'm just in waiting mode, but I signed up to take both the SAT and ACT again next month just in case."
Rumph, originally from St. Matthews, S.C., was recruited by head coach for offense Joker Phillips. After not enrolling at UK in 2008, he once again became open game for other schools while he was at Fork Union, and Rumph said he visited Tennessee and Clemson before choosing the Wildcats.
"I really wanted to get away from home and still have a family atmosphere," Rumph said. "And Coach Phillips has stuck with me the whole way."
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Rumph is capable of playing tackle or end but said the UK coaching staff has told him that he'd start out at end. He would join Evans, sophomore Chandler Burden and redshirt freshmen Taylor Wyndham and Collins Ukwu as candidates for the right defensive end position.
"I really think I could help out right away," Rumph said. "The weight program (at Fork Union) was really tough, and I feel more ready to play now than I would have been if I had been at Kentucky last year."
It's been a good week for UK running back Moncell Allen. He found out that he did well enough in the spring semester to be academically eligible in the fall, and Allen recently launched his own blog at moncell.blogspot.com.
Allen missed the Liberty Bowl for academic reasons, but his return gives the Cats another solid option at running back along with fellow senior Alfonso Smith. The 5-foot-7, 225-pound Allen rushed for 202 yards in 12 games.
UK is also hoping that junior Derrick Locke will return to full speed after suffering a serious knee injury against South Carolina last fall. Locke is expected to be cleared to participate full-throttle in team activities in June.
Bogue, Durham earn 4.0s
Brooks announced this week that senior tight end Ross Bogue and junior offensive lineman Brad Durham got 4.0 grade-point averages in the spring semester. Bogue ended spring practice as the starter at tight end, and Durham got most of the first-team snaps at right tackle in place of the injured Justin Jeffries.
UK No. 8 in Low's SEC power rankings
Kentucky was ranked as the eighth-best team in the SEC by ESPN.com blogger Chris Low this week. Low has Florida as the No. 1 team, followed by Mississippi. UK is placed ahead of Auburn, Tennesee, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Wrote Low about Kentucky: "The Wildcats lost some good defensive players from last year's team, but the guys who jumped into those spots this spring didn't miss a beat.
"This is the most talent and most depth the Wildcats have had on defense under Rich Brooks. Cornerback Trevard Lindley, linebacker Micah Johnson and end Jeremy Jarmon are all SEC-caliber players. If Mike Hartline comes around at quarterback, eight wins isn't out of the question."
Brooks ranked fifth-best coach in SEC by CFN
Collegefootballnews.com blogger Barrett Sallee recently ranked the coaches in the Southeastern Conference, and Kentucky's Rich Brooks placed fifth out of 12. Brooks was listed ahead of South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and Louisiana State's Les Miles, who have both won national championships.
Sallee on Brooks: "Brooks flies very, VERY far under the radar. But, the veteran coach has led the Wildcats out of probation, and back to respectability in the SEC East. In January, Brooks became the first Kentucky coach ever to win three straight bowl games, and currently holds the nations second-longest out-of-conference winning streak at 14. In years past, Kentucky was mentioned in the same breath as Vanderbilt. Not anymore. The Cats are no longer a pushover and, if the rest of the league doesn't watch out, could be serious contenders for a division title in the very near future."