Jen Smith on UK Football

Two Kentucky defensive players announce their plans to transfer

Kentucky quarterback Danny Clark (8) passed the ball over linebacker Jaylin Bannerman (45) during the Blue-White Spring Game Friday at Kroger Field. Bannerman had two tackles in the final scrimmage of the spring. He announced his plans to transfer on Monday.
Kentucky quarterback Danny Clark (8) passed the ball over linebacker Jaylin Bannerman (45) during the Blue-White Spring Game Friday at Kroger Field. Bannerman had two tackles in the final scrimmage of the spring. He announced his plans to transfer on Monday. aslitz@herald-leader.com

Two University of Kentucky football players announced their plans to transfer on Monday.

Saying he wants to “start over somewhere new,” Kentucky sophomore safety Tobias Gilliam announced his plan via Twitter first. Less than two hours later, linebacker Jaylin Bannerman tweeted out something similar.

Gilliam, a 5-foot-11 sophomore from Dayton, Ohio, thanked Kentucky fans, coaches, staff and his teammates for supporting him.

“I’m happy I got to be a part of the Big Blue Nation,” Gilliam said in a note posted on Twitter.

Specifically, he said to his UK teammates: “Thank y’all for taking me in and becoming family. I will never forget my memories with y’all boys.”

Gilliam, a three-star defensive back was redshirted his freshman season. In 2017, he played in the final six games of the season while battling a stress fracture. He finished with three tackles last year.

Gilliam, who had four tackles in the Blue-White Spring Game on Friday, was a name that popped up several times during spring football as a player who was performing well.

But the sophomore was in a crowded secondary for UK that included returning starters at every position.

There also has been a lot of talk about the redshirt freshman group including Michael Nesbitt, Tyrell Aijan and Yusuf Corker as players who could make an immediate impact in the secondary this season.

Bannerman also thanked his coaches, UK’s support staff and his teammates before tweeting out: “After careful consideration and sitting down with my family, I have come to the decision that I will be leaving the University of Kentucky.”

He noted that his years at UK “have been a great experience” and that they have “molded me into a better man.”

Bannerman, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from Pickerington, Ohio, bounced around several positions, starting his UK career at linebacker only to move to tight end last season and then back to linebacker this spring.

Tight ends coach Vince Marrow confirmed the position change to the Herald-Leader last month.

“Back on defense,” the tight ends coach said of Bannerman, a three-star prospect out of Pickerington Central. “He’s looking pretty good on defense. That was comfortable for him.”

Bannerman recorded two tackles in Friday’s spring game.

Both Bannerman and Gilliam were part of the Cats’ 2016 recruiting class rated No. 34 nationally. Other notable players from that class who have opted to play elsewhere include Tate Leavitt, Ja’Quize Cross, Dakota Holtzclaw and Roland Walder.

Jennifer Smith: 859-231-3241, @jenheraldleader

  Comments