(top left image courtesy of @ChristopherOats/top right and bottom photo courtesy of 247Sports)
There is always a handful of true freshmen that come in and make an impact immediately. In 2017, guys like Lynn Bowden and Josh Paschal pop up in my mind when talking about this topic. There are plenty of candidates that can help the Cats out from game number one. With this said, here’s my three guys to watch out for this season.
1. Chris Oats (LB)
One of the main reasons Oats came to Lexington is he was promised an opportunity to impact early. The four-star OLB from Cincinnati is a little underweight but his talent is hard to overlook. Vince Marrow has recruited Oats since his freshman year and we all know “The Big Dog” has a great eye for talent. The transfer of Eli Brown also plays a big part in why I think Oats plays early. Oats’ versatility means he can move around and play at multiple spots. I don’t think he’ll start anywhere, but he will certainly make an early impact.
2. Kavosiey Smoke (RB)
Benny Snell is obviously running back number one and nobody will change that. After Snell, depth at running back becomes a little bleak. Sahiem King and AJ Rose have shown flashes of being formidable backups to Snell but haven’t been consistent enough to lock up their spots on the depth chart. The bowl game highlighted the inconsistency as the running game was almost nonexistent. Kavosiey Smoke could be the guy to bring consistency the running back corps desperately needs. If his play is anything like his name, he can make an impact early.
3. Marquan McCall (DT)
McCall was one of three Kentucky Wildcats who were rated a four-star prospect. While this ranking came mostly from his play at guard, McCall has the size and intangibles to play at defensive tackle which is where he’ll play at Kentucky. Other than Quinton Bohanna, there isn’t a defensive tackle who’s locked up their spot for 2018. This is why McCall could come in and play early in the blue and white.
Don’t forget to follow @ukfansallday on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat for the latest in UK sports news! Go Cats!