The need: essential
The most important position of need in the 2007 recruiting class was addressed quickly with the enrollment of junior college OL Jess Beets (6'3, 305, C) and Josh Winchell (6'5, 325, OG) in January, but the class needed to add some projects for the future and did so nicely with the additions of in-state big boys Billy Joe Murphy (6'7, 265, OT) Stuart Hines (6'5, 275, OT) and Brad Durham (6'5, 300, OG). Hines is the diamond of the group, but many speculate the verbal of Jake Lanefski could be most significant when we look back three years from now. Michael Cross and Phillip Hibbard may add depth in the future, as well, making this the largest offensive lineman haul in Brooks' short tenure. Cross has not signed another letter of intent with UK, although he did initially out of high school, and his status is not completely known.
The Future: In a year they needed to add some future help, they did so very nicely. Lanefski's a star in the making and his build and upside is tremendous. Cross would be able to add some depth and balance out the class. Hines is the best of the group and should make an impact the earliest. The JC guys are fillers, but Beets could end up garnering the starting spot left vacated by Matt McCutcheon. The expectation is that his arrival will move Josh Winchell to guard, a spot he's more familiar with and also a spot UK needed some bodies. Depending on what happens with the junior class and whether or not UK wants to utilize some of the available redshirts in the junior class is a worthy debate, especially if Micah Jones gets back to 100%.
2007 OL Depth Chart: UK 2007: Leger (SR), E. Scott (Rs. SR), G. Williams (JR), M. Jones (Rs. JR), C. Johnson (JR), Alexander (JR), *Josh Winchell (JR), *Jess Beets (JR), Gonzalez (Rs. SO), Hennis (Rs. SO), Blaylock (Rs. SO), Jeffries (SO)
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-stars Greg Meisner (6-2, 228, 4.9) and Charles Mustafaa, two sons of former NFL veterans. Meisner's going to have to rely on his work ethic to get him through and earn respect and playing time.
Analysis: Really think UK missed the boat in letting Matthew Broha go. The 6-foot-4, 235 pounder was really starting to hit his stride. Meisner's arguably the guy coming in with the least amount of fan-fare and Glenn will be learning a new position. In reality, this position didn't help itself for anytime in the next two years. With Stafford's eligibility question marks, it really disappointed, and will need the 2006 class to go to another level this off-season.
2007 DE Depth Chart: Day (Rs. SR), D. Lewis (Rs. SR), Craigman (SR), Oninku (Rs. JR), Jarmon (Rs. SO), Paris (SO), Minton (Rs. FR)
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 left the 'Cats 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.
The Future: 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)