At linebacker it's obviously a changing of the guard, where one of Kentucky's best linebackers ever is no longer manning the weakside. Stepping into his place at the position is Malcolm McDuffen, a redshirt freshman. McDuffen has athleticism and tenacity, but he's still learning the position. He can't replace Trevathan, but he can be a solid placeholder until he gets his feet under him.
Two star quality players who may take the place of much of Trevathan's production are Avery Williamson and Alvin Dupree. Both players played well last season with Williamson accounting for 49 tackles. Williamson is expected to be a leader for the defense and to be a steady force at middle linebacker Dupree is a freakish athlete, who has pro-potential on the strong side. His speed, strength and length are unmatched on the Wildcat roster.
At defensive line, the Wildcats look mostly the same, except for the unexpected loss of Ridge Wilson at the hybrid defensive end, linebacker spot. Farrington Huguenin has made his presence known at defensive end, getting to the passer and causing major disruption for the offense. While he'll be a redshirt-freshman, Huguenin has a chance to be one of Kentucky's most valuable players.
Collins Ukwu, Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph all return on the line for the Wildcats. The concern is developing depth for the players on hand. Mike Douglas, Christian Coleman, Taylor Wyndham and Tristian Johnson will all provide depth, but it's uncertain what kind of impact they can make in a backup role.
At defensive back, Kentucky is replacing Anthony Mosely and Randall Burden. But the young players faired well this spring and appear to be close to ironing out roles.
Martavius Neloms is a versatile defender who returns at free-safety. Cartier Rice also returns as the most experienced corner on the roster. But Eric Dixon and Marcus Caffey appear to be the ones to watch. Both Dixon and Caffey have the look and athleticism of a starter, they just need more snaps. It appears that both of them have a great chance to start with Rice holding down the nickel back spot.
While Neloms has been a strong contributor for the team in his career, Ashely Lowery (strong safety), Glenn Faulkner (free-safety) and Miles Simpson (safety-linebacker hybrid) are all good looking defensive prospects who could see ample playing time this year. The trio all showed big improvements this spring and will compete for starting roles.
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