3B: Big Blue Board - DEFENSE

The Wildcats are hoping to close out the 2007 recruiting class in style with some additional firepower to its already stellar class. Get the latest breakdown on recruits currently being pursued by the coaching staff in the latest Big Blue Board.

Defensive End
The need: decently critical

Kentucky loses senior Durrell White at defensive end, after the 6-foot-4 graduate played out of his mind the past month, capping off his finest season as a Wildcat with a dominating Music City Bowl. His departure will be hard-felt in the leadership department, as very few at his position have had the impact that he has in leadership skills. Four-star LaGrange (Ga.) native D.J. Stafford (6-4, 251, 4.6) headlines the current foursome of commitments, but the real diamond in the rough could be Antwane Glenn (6-4, 245, 4.7). With academic question marks surrounding Stafford, the staff considers Glenn one of its marquee pickups to date and thinks he's the real deal off the edge. Rounding out the current group is two-star Greg Meisner (6-2, 228, 4.9), the son of a former NFL veteran, and Matthew Broha (6-4, 210, 4.7), who is also the son of a former NFL player. Both Meisner and Broha will contribute in the future, but will more than likely take some time to develop.

Remaining Prospects: Kyle Wilber (FL); Sacoby Carter (GA); Fred Jones (GA)

Analysis: With the possibility any of the four current commitments could grow into defensive tackles after a redshirt year and some time in the weight room, the question remains whether UK will take a commitment from Wilber or Carter down the stretch. After adding Broha, the belief is UK is done, but another add shouldn't come as a surprise.

2007 DE Depth Chart: Day (Rs. SR), D. Lewis (Rs. SR), Craigman (SR), Oninku (Rs. JR), Jarmon (Rs. SO), Paris (SO), Minton (Rs. FR)


Defensive Tackle
The need: not critical

With the departure of Ricky Abren and sporting a relatively small core of defensive tackles for 2007, the belief was UK would land at least one or two defensive tackles. After receiving the verbal commitments from Jeff Boyd and Shane McCord (6-1, 275, 5.0) this summer, many assumed Uk was well on its way, but a de-commitment from Boyd and several missed targets later have the Wildcats scratching their heads. If anything, UK's redshirt freshmen and McCord better be ready to play come the fall. The Hart Co. native is still recovering from an in-season injury, but should be 100% this fall.

Remaining Prospects: Jeff Boyd (IN)

Analysis: Despite the departure of Ricky Abren, the defensive line was addressed so abruptly in the 2006 class that the need to add additional prospects at the spot isn't a necessity in 2007. Still it's hard to believe a defense that has been criticized so abruptly for not generating a pass rush the past few years, is not going to add much in the recruiting pool this year at defensive tackle. All question marks could be quieted if Ricky Lumpkin delivers as expected.

2007 DT Depth Chart: Pryor (JR), Jenkins (JR), Peters (SO), Lumpkin (Rs. FR)


Linebackers
The need: critical

With the uncertainty of some of the Wildcat returnees currently rumored to be possibly looking to transfer, UK has to be careful with how they utilize their scholarships at linebacker. Several top names remain on the board and the Wildcats appear to have added some importance to the middle linebacker position in preparation for some sort of shift. The outside linebacker position was filled up nicely with two converted speedy safeties Antonio Thomas (6-3, 190, 4.5) and 2006 signee Chris Drayton (6-3, 205, 4.45). If anything else, if these two can get into the weight room with a redshirt year, the lack of speed at linebacker will be thrown out the window.

Remaining Prospects: Jacob Dufrene (LA), Jonathan Frink (MS), Jamie Jones (AR), Greg Lloyd, Jr. (FL), Zeke Rozier (GA)

Analysis: UK probably desires adding one down the stretch. Rumors have abounded that commitment is most likely going to be Dufrene, but a verbal from any of the others would be more of an upgrade at the linebacker spot than Dufrene and would give the fanbase something to be excited about. Jones received his qualifying score and would be a helluva pick up for the Wildcats.

2007 LB Depth Chart: Woodyard (SR), McGrath (Rs. JR), Jo. Williams (JR), Kelley (JR), Mabry (Rs. SO), Bates (Rs. SO), M. Johnson (SO), Maxwell (SO), Thurmond (Rs. FR)


Safeties
The need: mild

Those that believe a recruiting class in college football doesn't pay immediate dividends, didn't watch the University of Kentucky secondary this year, as the safety spot was a significant upgrade in comparison to years past. Freshmen Ashton Cobb and Calvin Harrison had immediate impacts to the secondary. 2007 could see similar strides, as UK will have its pick from a talented and speedy crop. Headhunter Mychal Bailey (6-0, 195, 4.4), often times lost in the shuffle because of his flexibility, is a human tackling machine and should generate some play early. Depending on the strides he makes, Greg Wilson (6-1, 180, 4.4) could move over from his original projection at cornerback. Both Bailey and Wilson, oddly enough, have been told by the staff they will play cornerback.

Remaining Prospects:

Analysis: Kentucky decided against adding Coleman and instead cancelled his official visit for this past weekend. The 'Cats appear ready to evaluate cornerback verbal commitments Bailey and Wilson and go from there.

2007 S Depth Chart: Ro. Williams (Rs. SR), McClinton (Rs. JR), Cobb (SO), Schwindel (Rs. SO), Harrison (SO)


Cornerbacks:
The need: essential

The Kentucky secondary made strides in 2006, but the staff much add more depth to the defensive back position that desperately needs playmakers. Kentucky has already added five verbal commitments to the spot, but several have academic question marks surrounding them. Randall Burden (6-1, 165, 4.4), Ameer Salahudin (5-11, 180, 4.4) and Duran Jefferson (6-1, 180, 4.4) will be 'game-time' decisions as far as qualifying is concerned and will most likely go down the wire. Verbals Greg Wilson (6-2, 180, 4.4), Mychal Bailey (6-1, 197, 4.37) and Taiedo Smith (6-0, 175, 4.4) should be okay though and will add some talent to the secondary next season, for sure.

Remaining Prospects: Dequan Bembry (GA), Henry Minor (La.)

Analysis: Count me among those that are baffled that the Wildcats ended up not taking Marquis Coleman, a 6-foot-1, 185 pound cornerback, but that's why I don't get paid the big-bucks. Bembry's visit is still in jeopardy headed down the stretch.

2007 CB Depth Chart: Grigsby (Rs. JR), Je. Williams (Rs. JR), Moore (Rs. JR), Warford (SO), Lindlay (Rs. SO), Adams (SO), Nevels (Rs. SO)


Kicker/Punter
The need: questionable

Kentucky decided it needed a specialist and added Ryan Tydlacka (5'9, 165, K/P), a two-time All-State punter from Trinity in Louisville. Tydlacka should compete for a starting spot with Tim Masthay next year at some point, be it fall or spring 2008.

2007 K/P Depth Chart: Seiber (SO), Masthay (JR)



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