Grading The Wildcats Class of 08 D-Line

While fans love offense I've always found a solid defense helps make an offense more explosive and one capable of winning any game. That's why I feel recruiting in the trenches has so much importance that a poor class can set a program back a few years. Let's take a closer look at how Rich Brooks and his staff did when signing players for the defensive line.

Players Signed By UK

DE: Taylor Wyndham: I've listed Wyndham as an end knowing he could be a special type of player the staff looks at moving around to get the most out of his athletic ability. Because of his height he's a legit end but because of his linebacker background he could be used to drop off the line into coverage or line up as an hybrid backer and bring the rush using his speed. Wyndham will need to add weight and get in the 230-240 range. Does a great job of using leverage and because of his linebacker ability can create match-up problems for offensive tackles. Grade: A

DE: Collins Ukwu: One of the reasons I feel Donte Rumph will be better suited for the inside is the skill level shown by Ukwu as a defensive end. Ukwu will need to get his weight up to around the 235-240 range without losing much quickness and with his body style he should have no problem doing so. Love the way he comes off the edge and his willingness to chase down ball carriers. Injuries his senior season may have some questioning his durability but if healthy Ukwu could post some nice TFL numbers during his career. Grade: A

DT: Donte Rumph: Rumph is a player I really liked on film as he comes out of his stance quick and explodes into the offensive linemen. At this time he could play defensive end or tackle but long range he could put on some more bulk and become a major force from the tackle spot. Explosive from the hips with the ability to use his hands sets him apart. Will need to work on keeping his feet moving as he at times stops his leg drive during a play. Grade: A+

DT: Matt Smith: Coming from one of the top prep programs in Kentucky will help Smith make the adjustment to the next level. I've listed Matt as a defensive lineman knowing he may well make the move over to the O-Line at some point but I've seen him play as a DT and can see him staying there in college as a defensive tackle. What I like about Smith is the flex in his body and the bounce he plays with for a big-man. At times he does what a lot of young linemen do in getting high but that will be corrected very fast in the college game. At this time he's got nice upper body strength but will need to build a more solid base under him. Tough and willing I would expect Smith to be a factor in the next couple of years for the Wildcats. Grade: B

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