Jen Smith on UK Football

Who’s back for Kentucky football next season? A position-by-position breakdown

Kentucky kicks off the 2018 season on Sept. 1 at home against Central Michigan.
Kentucky kicks off the 2018 season on Sept. 1 at home against Central Michigan.

It’s still a few weeks before the start of spring football, but now that both the early and the regular signing day festivities are completed, it’s never too early to start thinking about what the 2018 Kentucky football roster will look like.

Here’s a breakdown of the Cats at each position group, including the 24 new players that signed in this most recent class, which Coach Mark Stoops called “a really complete class.

“Very excited about this class with these four guys right here, it puts a really solid class together with 24 players in total,” Stoops said on Wednesday after the signing of newcomers wide receiver Allen Dailey, offensive tackle Nick Lewis, linebacker Chris Oats and running back Kavosiey Smoke.

“That’s a perfect number for us so I felt like we hit the number right on the spot. We signed 13 offensive players, which we needed, nine defensive players and two specialists. So really complete class. I feel very good about it. It worked out really well.”

Two new assistant coaches will join the class as well in wide receivers coach Michael Smith, a former Arkansas assistant, as well as outside linebackers coach Brad White, a former Indianapolis Colts assistant. White’s hire, a newly allowed 10th assistant coach by the NCAA, will shift Dean Hood over to help in the secondary while also continuing to run the special teams units.

The Cats will return 17 starters next season, 10 on defense and seven on offense, the most in school history since UK started keeping that statistic in 1986.

Kentucky’s Blue-White Spring Game will be played on Friday, April 13 at Kroger Field.

(Listings are alphabetical and include only scholarship players; returning starters in bold; r-players who were redshirted in 2017; n-newcomers)

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks — Danny Clark (r), Gunnar Hoak, Terry Wilson (n), Walker Wood (r)

Running backs — Sihiem King, A.J. Rose, Benny Snell, Chris Rodriguez (n), Kavosiey Smoke (n)

Wide receivers — Marvin Alexander (n), Josh Ali, Dorian Baker (started in 2016), Lynn Bowden, Allen Dailey (n), Isaiah Epps, Akeem Hayes (n), Bryce Oliver (n), Tavin Richardson, Clevan Thomas

Tight ends — Brenden Bates (n), C.J. Conrad, Justin Rigg, Keaton Upshaw (n)

Linemen — George Asafo-Adjei, Luke Fortner, Sebastien Dolcine (r), Austin Dotson (r), Kenneth Horsey (n), Drake Jackson, Darian Kinnard (n), Nick Lewis (n), E.J. Price, Bunchy Stallings, Logan Stenberg, Naasir Watkins (r), Quintin Wilson (n), Landon Young

DEFENSE

Linemen — Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald (r), Quinton Bohanna, T.J. Carter, Kengera Daniel, Tymere Dubose, Davoan Hawkins (n), Phil Hoskins, Kordell Looney, Jerquavion Mahone (n), Marquan McCall (n), Adrian Middleton, Denzil Ware, Chris Whittaker (r)

Linebackers — Josh Allen, Jaylin Bannerman, Kash Daniel, Jamin Davis (r), Jordan Jones, Alex King (r), Chris Oats (n), Josh Paschal, Ashtan Pierre (n), DeAndre Square (n), Jamar “Boogie” Watson, Jordan Wright (r)

Defensive backs — Tyrell Ajian (r), Derrick Baitym, Jamari Brown (n), Yusuf Corker (r), Cedrick Dort, Mike Edwards, Stanley Garner (n), Tobias Gilliam, Jordan Griffin, Zy’Aire Hughes, Lonnie Johnson, Michael Nesbitt (r), Davonte Robinson, Marcus Walker, Darius West, Chris Westry, Domonique Williams (n)

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punters — Max Duffy (n), Grant McKinniss

Place-kickers — Chance Poore (n)

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