Football season is officially here. With fall practice starting August 5, and the opening game of the season a little over a month away, football talk has become the buzz around the Commonwealth. Coach Brooks will field his most talented team since his arrival in Lexington in 2003. There is clearly better talent, experience, and depth across the board, as well as what seems to be a better TEAM attitude amongst the players. We all know the likes of Wesley Woodyard and Lamar Mills will be effective leaders on defense, but here is a look at five names to watch on the defensive side of the ball this fall:
5. Roger Williams SS 6'0 210 JR Rockmart, GA
The Skinny- With 22 games of experience under his belt, as well as nine starts in 2005, Williams is looking for a breakout year after being named UK's most improved player last season. Williams was third on the team with 69 tackles in 2005, including recording a career high nine tackles three separate times during the season. A perfect size for a strong safety, Williams is strong enough to assist in the run game, as well as contribute in pass coverage.
4. David Jones CB 5'10 185 SO Huddy, KY
The Skinny- Jones was thrown into action as a true freshman in 2005, and was picked on quite a bit by opposing offenses throughout the season. Consistency will be needed from Jones before he can reach his full potential, but with blazing speed and a knack for getting to the ball, Jones fits the bill of a typical South Eastern Conference CB. A strong physical corner that has no problem coming up to help in run support, Jones will battle for one of the starting corner back roles when fall practice begins.
3. Trevard Lindley CB 6'0 175 FR/RS Hiram, GA
The Skinny- After a red shirt season in 05', Lindley had arguably one of the best spring practices' of anyone on the team. Lindley is a heady play maker that constantly finds himself around the ball. Lindley was rewarded for his performance in spring and is penciled in as a starter at one of the CB positions heading into fall practice. Lack of game experience may be a factor early on, but he has all the tools to be effective as a freshman.
2. Marcus McClinton FS 6'1 210 SO Fort Campbell, KY
The Skinny- Suffered a season ending knee injury in the second game of the season against Idaho State. Marcus played in all 11 games as a freshman in 2004 tallying 27 tackles with two for loss. Arrived in spring with noticeable added muscle in upper body and looked very good although he was limited to non-contact drills while still recovering from injury. A fierce hitter and team leader, teamed with Roger Williams, Kentucky could field one of their best safety combo's in years.
1. Myron Pryor DT 6'1 300 SO Louisville, KY
The Skinny- A massive defensive tackle that can squat 700lbs, Pryor was a terror in spring for anyone who attempted to block him. After coming on strong in the end of 05', Pryor exploded during the spring and gained the top spot at defensive tackle. At 300lbs, Pryor can move extremely well and could be UK's best interior pass rusher since Dewayne Robertson was the 4th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Other names to Watch:
E.J. Adams CB 6'0 194- Highest vertical on the team at 39 inches.
Micah Johnson LB 6'2 255- Will contribute right away, but with any freshman, must adjust to speed of the game.
J.D. Craigman DE 6'4 250- Big, Athletic pass rusher who was once a basketball standout.
Shomari Moore CB 5'9 190- Appeared in all 11 games as a freshman, starting two. Moore will challenge for starting role.
Johnny Williams LB 6'3 225- Extremely athletic LB who has better understanding of game after appearing in all 11 games as a Freshman.
Five defensive names to watch in '06
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