Kentucky played 14 true freshmen last season, two of those being walk-ons. Given the depth of the 2006 recruiting class, several of those youngsters will get a chance to get on the football field.
For the first time in three years, the numbers in terms of the scholarship limitations will be close to the full eighty-five allowed.
The UK coaches have been in the business of selling playing time to potential recruits and are attributable to the recruiting successes. But at some point and time they will have to bite the bullet and start red shirting more in order to build experience and mature depth. It will be interesting to see how many of these quality freshmen get on the field and how the coaches fight the temptation to play those that perhaps, they shouldn't! So let's fast forward over into August and espouse our projections.
At tight end: Hargrave Military Prep School donates T.C. Drake who will be in spring practice. Quarterback: Either Will Fidler or Mike Hartline will play and since Fidler's out of high school early and will be participating in spring practice, we have to give him the edge. Running back: Here, there is an interesting contingent of talent coming in and a lot is going to depend on who's academically qualified. The burner LaRay Foote is a candidate but could be switched to cornerback; Moncell Allen or Demetrius Goode depending on who's qualified. If it's Allen, you get a bonus because he could play tailback and fullback. Fullback: Maurice Grinter, who's 6-foot-3, 250-pounds is a definite. Wide receiver: Graduation has left this position thin. Lonnell Dewalt can't be counted on until he's actually back on campus and eligible. We think Steve Johnson, who's a juco and Darrell Stevens are the likely newcomers to play. Defensive end: Though there are seven defensive ends presently on the squad, we see juco J. D. Craigman and Josh Minton get early playing time. Defensive tackle: We project Corey Peters and Ricky Lumpkin will see the field early. Linebacker: The way Micah Johnson handled himself during the Army All-Star week in San Antonio, Texas recently, he a sure shot to play at the mike-linebacker spot. After having sat out last season, Jamaal Jackson is a likely candidate to play in August. Cornerback: Grey shirt E. J. Adams will have a spring practice his belt. Strong safety: One could get as excited about another Corey as they the stir Corey Peter caused on signing day. Hargrave Military Prep School returned Corey Goodson to the UK fold. He is big at 6-foot-2, 212 and had a good campaign in prep school. True freshman Chris Drayton could be a possibility in the fall.
Southern Cal has played 40 true freshmen over the last three years. That shows you the quality they've been recruiting. So if they are that good, let them play Kentucky. Excluding the junior college transfers, we project a number of 10 true freshmen we could see playing right away.