Looking ahead to the 2018 Kentucky Football depth chart

(Photo courtesy of Lexington Herald-Leader)

With all of the excitement surrounding recruiting the last few days, I thought I would give a look at what next year’s projected opening day depth chart might look like. I will factor in redshirts, possible transfers (both into and out of the program) and early draft entrants. Returning starters will obviously be given an edge, but I will also look at talent too. The depth chart for the Louisville game, which was the last regular season game, looked like this:

OFFENSE

LT: Landon Young (6-7, 305, So.) OR Kyle Meadows (6-5, 300, Sr.)

LG: Logan Stenberg (6-6, 318, So.); Luke Fortner (6-6, 305, Fr.-RS)

C: Drake Jackson (6-2, 290, Fr.-RS); Nick Haynes (6-3, 300, Sr.)

RG: Bunchy Stallings (6-3, 315, Jr.); Mason Wolfe (6-6, 310, So.)

RT: Kyle Meadows (6-5, 300, Sr.) OR George Asafo-Adjei (6-5, 315, Jr.)

TE: C.J. Conrad (6-5, 245, Jr.); Greg Hart (6-5, 245, Sr.)

WR: Kayaune Ross (6-6, 225, Sr.); Blake Bone (6-5, 213, Sr.)

WR: Charles Walker (5-11, 203, Sr.); Clevan Thomas (5-11, 205, Fr.)

WR: Garrett Johnson (5-11, 175, Sr.); Lynn Bowden (6-1, 190, Fr.)

WR: Tavin Richardson (6-3, 214, So.); Isaiah Epps (6-2, 185, Fr.) OR Josh Ali (6-0, 180, Fr.)

QB: Stephen Johnson (6-2, 185, Sr.); Drew Barker (6-3, 225, Jr.)

RB: Benny Snell (5-11, 223, So.); Sihiem King (5-9, 172, Jr.)

DEFENSE

LB: Josh Allen (6-5, 224, Jr.); Jamar “Boogie” Watson (6-3, 240, Fr.-RS)

DT: Adrian Middleton (6-3, 303, Jr.); Kordell Looney (6-3, 293, Fr.-RS)

NG: Quinton Bohanna (6-4, 320, Fr.); Naquez Pringle (6-3, 320, Sr.); Matt Elam (6-7, 360, Sr.)

DE: T.J. Carter (6-4, 280, So.); Kengera Daniel (6-5, 260, Jr.)

DE/OLB: Denzil Ware (6-2, 245, Jr.); Josh Paschal (6-3, 270, Fr.)

NB: Kendall Randolph (6-0, 183, Sr.) OR Mike Edwards (6-0, 200, Jr.)

MLB: Courtney Love (6-2, 242, Sr.); Kash Daniel (6-1, 235, So.)

WLB: Jordan Jones (6-2, 221, Jr.); Eli Brown (6-2, 208, So.)

CB: Derrick Baity (6-3, 182, Jr.); Jordan Griffin (6-0, 186, So.)

CB: Lonnie Johnson (6-3, 203, Jr.-JC) OR Chris Westry (6-4, 195, Jr..)

SS: Mike Edwards (6-0, 200, Jr.); Kendall Randolph (6-0, 184, Sr.)

FS: Darius West (6-0, 210, Jr.); Davonte Robinson (6-2, 187, Fr.-RS)

SPECIALISTS

K: Austin MacGinnis (5-10, 185, Sr.); Miles Butler (5-9, 171, Jr.)

P: Matt Panton (6-4, 230, Sr.); Grant McKinniss (6-1, 210, So.)

LS: Tristan Yeomans (6-2, 190, Jr.); Blake Best (6-1, 246, So.)

The current class of commitments looks like this:

Stanley Garner, 6’3″ 180 CB, Dillard HS (Fort Lauderdale, FL) 3*

DeAndre Square, 6’1″ 200 S, Cass Technical HS (Detroit, MI) 3*

Quinton Wilson, 6’3″ 290 OC, Turpin HS (Cincinnati, OH) 3*

Marvin Alexander, 6’3″ 175 WR, Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Hollywood, FL) 3*

Jamari Brown, 6’3″ 180 CB, Blanch Ely HS (Pompano Beach, FL) 3*

Akeem Hayes, 5’10” 175 ATH, Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Hollywood, FL) 3*

Dominique Williams, 5’10” 190 CB, Highland (KS) C.C. 3* – early enrollee

Chance Poore, 6’3″ 200 K, Westside HS (Anderson, AC) 3*

Max Duffy, 6’0″ 185 P, Freemantle AFL – early enrollee

Brendan Bates, 6’5″ 230 TE, Archbishop Moeller HS (Cincinnati, OH) 3*

Davoan Hawkins, 6’4″ 270 SDE, Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Hollywood, FL) 3*

Marquan McCall, 6’4″ 320 OG, Oak Park HS (Oak Park, MI) 4*

Xavier Peters, 6’4″ 225 OLB, Lakota West HS (Cincinnati, OH) 4*

Darian Kinnard, 6’7″ 336 OT, St. Ignatius HS (Cleveland, OH) 4*

Meechi Harris, 6’2″ 188 WR, Xenia HS (Xenia, OH) 3*

Keaton Upshaw, 6’7″ 225 TE, Lima HS (Lima, OH) 3*

Christopher Rodriguez, 5’11.5″ 200 RB, Ola HS (McDonough, GA) 3*

Ashtan Pierre, 6’2″ 191 ATH, Deerfield Beach HS (Deerfield Beach, FL) 3*

With that being said, the only incoming transfer will be offensive tackle E.J. Price, a former 4 star Southern California lineman. Outgoing transfers might be a different subject. I have heard from reliable sources that Drew Barker is looking for a graduate transfer destination, with WKU and Cincinnati the likely destinations. Also, the addition of Terry Wilson will put the transfer option on the table for one or more of Gunnar Hoak, Danny Clark and Walker Wood. Another transfer candidate could be A.J. Rose, whose father has not been pleased with how A.J. has been used and his playing time. So, for argument’s sake, let’s assume that Barker, Hoak and Rose all transfer. Along the line of early entrants, the only concern here is Josh Allen. He was thought to be a potential first round pick earlier this year, but his production dropped off in the second half of the season. I think he stays and gets the first round guarantee after his senior year. This makes the depth chart on opening day look something like this:

OFFENSE (Returning starters: 10)

LT: Landon Young (6-7, 305, Jr.); E.J. Price (So.-RS)

LG: Logan Stenberg (6-6, 318, Jr.); Luke Fortner (6-6, 305, So.-RS)

C: Drake Jackson (6-2, 290, So.-RS); Bunchy Stallings (6-3, 315, Sr.)

RG: Bunchy Stallings (6-3, 315, Sr.); Mason Wolfe (6-6, 310, Jr.)

RT: George Asafo-Adjei (6-5, 315, Jr.); Sebastian Dolcine (6-4, 300, Fr.-RS)

TE: C.J. Conrad (6-5, 245, Sr.); Justin Rigg (6-6, 246, Jr.)

WR: Dorian Baker (6-3, 211, RS-Sr.); Javonte Richardson (6-4, 230, RS-Fr.)

WR: Clevan Thomas (5-11, 205, So.); Akeem Hayes (5-10, 175, Fr.)

WR: Lynn Bowden (6-1, 190, So.); Josh Ali (6-0, 180, So.)

WR: Tavin Richardson (6-3, 214, Jr.); Isaiah Epps (6-2, 185, So.)

QB: Terry Wilson (6-3, 200, So.); Danny Clark (6-2, 230, RS-Fr.)

RB: Benny Snell (5-11, 223, Jr.); Sihiem King (5-9, 172, Sr.)

DEFENSE(Returning starters: 10)

LB: Josh Allen (6-5, 224, Sr.); Jamar “Boogie” Watson (6-3, 240, So.-RS)

DT: Adrian Middleton (6-3, 303, Sr.); Kordell Looney (6-3, 293, So.-RS)

NG: Quinton Bohanna (6-4, 320, So.); Ja’Quize Cross (6-3, 302, RS-So.)

DE: T.J. Carter (6-4, 280, Jr.); Kengera Daniel (6-5, 260, Sr.)

DE/OLB: Denzil Ware (6-2, 245, Sr.); Josh Paschal (6-3, 270, So.)

NB: Davonte Robinson (6-2, 187, RS-So.); Mike Edwards (6-0, 200, Sr.)

MLB: Eli Brown (6-2, 208, Jr.); Kash Daniel (6-1, 235, Jr.)

WLB: Jordan Jones (6-2, 221, Sr.); Jamin Davis (6-4, 220, RS-Fr.)

CB: Derrick Baity (6-3, 182, Sr.); Jordan Griffin (6-0, 186, Jr.)

CB: Lonnie Johnson (6-3, 203, Sr.-JC); Chris Westry (6-4, 195, Sr.)

SS: Mike Edwards (6-0, 200, Sr.); DeAndre Square (6-0, 184, Fr.)

FS: Darius West (6-0, 210, Sr.); Davonte Robinson (6-2, 187, So.-RS)

SPECIALISTS (Returning starters: 0)

K: Chance Poore (6-3, 200, Fr.); Tyler Pack (6-4, 275, RS-So.)

P: Max Duffy (6-0, 185, So.); Grant McKinniss (6-1, 210, So.)

LS: Tristan Yeomans (6-2, 190, Sr.); Blake Best (6-1, 246, Jr.)

So, as you can see the offense returns 10 starters (9 if you only go with three wide receivers) and the defense also returns 10 starters. The losses are starting quarterback Stephen Johnson and middle linebacker Courtney Love. Both are leaders on their side of the ball, but the Wildcats will have an abundance of experience and leadership on both sides of the ball. The only place that is one for concern is the specialists group. At kicker, Chance Poore seems the likeliest to win the job, but Tyler Pack can not be counted out. At punter, Max Duffy will be a 24 year old sophomore, which means he should not have the jitters that an 18 year old might, plus the rugby style will hide a lot of early deficiencies. Backing him up will be Grant McKinniss, who Coach Stoops chose to redshirt last year.

Overall, I believe the 2018 Kentucky Wildcats football team may be the most talented and deep team we have seen in decades. The schedule is tougher than this year’s slate, but I believe that the Wildcats can win 8 or more games. That’s the great thing about next season: hope always springs eternal!

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