Cats "lucky" to have senior linebacker

LEXINGTON — Kentucky defensive coordinator Rick Minter says he's been around plenty of talented linebackers during his long coaching career. However, he feels lucky to have senior Danny Trevathan playing linebacker for the Wildcats this season.

LEXINGTON — Kentucky defensive coordinator Rick Minter says he's been around plenty of talented linebackers during his long coaching career. However, he feels lucky to have senior Danny Trevathan playing linebacker for the Wildcats this season.

"Not many play harder or better than him.?He's really as fine a linebacker as I?have been around. He is a hard player, a hard playing guy, said Minter. "He runs relentlessly. He's a good tackler when he gets there. He has a great feel evidenced by the interception before the half (against Mississippi State). That was a tremendous play he made. He is as good as they come."

The Southeastern Conference statistics support that. Trevathan, who had 17 tackles along with that interception and a forced fumble last week, has 94 tackles to lead the league at 11.5 tackles per game. He has 6.5 tackles for loss along with three forced fumbles and three interceptions.

"One way you can tell that he is probably better than last year is he is getting the same kind of results and everybody knows who he is," Kentucky linebacker coach Chuck Smith said. "Last year he could have maybe come in under the radar, but everybody now knows he is an all-SEC player and on their scouting report the opposing team knows where No. 22 is and he is still making plays and having a great year. He's flying around, leading the defense. That is the mark of a great player."

Another mark might be the way he agonizes after losses. "Winning and losing matters to him. He is a team leader on defense. He is kind of our beacon. Our guys go as he goes mostly. I could not be more proud of what he has done for us this season," Minter said.

"After losses you just have to tell him to stay the course and keep doing what he has been doing," Smith said. "When we get a few wrinkles ironed out, the victories will come." Smith says Trevathan's competitive nature rubs off on others.

"He brings out the best in everybody because they see how much it means to him," Smith said. "He is a senior and they see how bad he wants it. Nobody wants to lose a game for him. There is always that belief it is the seniors' team and when a senior stands up and leads like that and bleeds like that after a loss, the younger guys don't want to let him down.

"He has done a great job of being an example of a leader. The young guys are watching him and seeing how hard he prepares, how hard he practices and what the losses mean to him. He's been a great mentor and hopefully they will learn from it and follow it for years to come." Smith has coached Wesley Woodyard, Braxton Kelley, Micah Johnson, Sam Maxwell and others at Kentucky. He quickly says Trevathan has to rank "way up there" on UK's linebacking list.

"We have been fortunate to have some pretty good ones here, but he's right up there in the top. The thing that kind of separates him from a lot of people is his natural instinct in the box. He is very comfortable in the box and knows where the opening is and is really quick at pulling the trigger and making plays," Smith said.

He's also extremely durable and seldom misses a play.

"He's just tough. He is a tough Cat. He will come out of the game banged up some, but you will never know it. He won't ever tell you and is ready to play next week," Smith said. "He only knows one speed and that is full speed, so you can't even let him relax in practice." Trevathan debated putting his name into the NFL draft after last season like Randall Cobb did. Instead, he came back and is making even more plays for the Cats.

Smith says it's "hard to judge" what lies ahead for his star linebacker.

"Obviously I?am biased and going to say yes he will be in the NFL, but I?am not part of their evaluation. If I?had a NFL team and wanted a linebacker, I certainly would take him," Smith said.


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