Kentucky has struggled to find an answer at tight end after losing Jacob Tamme to graduation two seasons ago. There is experience at the position, however. The staff hopes that that experience will lead to consistency this season.
At this point in camp, it appears that Ross Bogue is the starter. Both Maurice Grinter and T.C. Drake have battled nagging injuries and it has led to Bogue getting more reps.
Grinter is the best receiver of the three players and is possibly the most versatile, as he has the ability to play both full-back and tight end. When healthy and focused, Grinter is capable of being a dependable player.
T.C. Drake is a bit of an enigma. His size and speed make him appear to be a dynamite tight end, especially stretching the field and in the red-zone. However Drake has never been able to make those plays consistently.
Ross Bogue is likely the starter at tight end for the Miami of Ohio game. But expect each player to get several snaps and any given Saturday any of these guys could start and contribute to the Wildcat offense.
Chris Matthews 6-5 210 Jr.
Randall Cobb 5-11 190 Soph.
Gene McCaskill 6-0 185 Soph.
Kyrus Lanxter 6-2 200 Jr.
E.J. Fields 6-1 200 RS-Fr.
LaRod King 6-6 195 Fr.
Eric Adeyemi 5-10 170 Soph.
Aaron Boyd 6-4 210 Soph.
Matt Roark 6-6 215 Soph.
Last season Kentucky struggled with a young receiving corps and a first year starter at quarterback. This year, the receivers are playing at a higher level and it's mostly due to them understanding the offense and developing a chemistry with quarterback Michael Hartline. Now with a couple of good newcomers and better depth, the young Wildcat receivers are all battling for playing time.
Kentucky will often start three wide receivers, two on the outside and one in the slot. Barring any unforseen circumstance, Randall Cobb will line up in the slot.
While only playing part time last season at receiver, Cobb was Kentucky's most explosive player with the ball in his hands and was capable of scoring whenever he touched the ball.
JuCo transfer Chris Matthews has made quite the impression on Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips. Matthews combination of size, speed and hands is something that the Wildcats may have never had before. Matthews has picked up the offense well and understands the blocking schemes at this point. He appears poised to hold down one of the outside receiver spots.
After Matthews and Cobb, things are a little more jumbled.
Gene McCaskill had an outstanding bowl game last year and showed good hands all season long. His work in the weight room and his route running have put him in position to gain a starting spot.
Right behind McCaskill is Junior Kyrus Lanxter. Kentucky's most experienced receiver, Lanxter also had a solid performance in the Liberty Bowl last season. Many believe that Lanxter should be Kentucky's number one option at receiver, however his inconsistencies have held him back during his time at Kentucky.
E.J. Fields is an explosive athlete who could just as easily be on defense, but with the ball in his hands, there aren't many better players on UK's roster. Fields sat out last season with recurring problems with his hamstrings. The Wildcat offense will benefit from his presence.
Aaron Boyd, Eric Adeyemi and Matt Roark all played last season as true freshmen, but any of them could wind up redshirting this season because they haven't been able to keep up with the players in front of them. A redshirt year shouldn't be looked upon as a bad thing, because most freshmen need to redshirt and this trio didn't get that opportunity.
As for the lone freshman in the group, Kentucky coaches have been pleasantly surprised with LaRod King's physical nature at the receiver spot. He may or may not play this season, but he is one player to look out for in the future.
You can write in permanent ink the names Chris Matthews and Randall Cobb at wide receiver and currently you can pencil in Gene McCaskill. But don't be surprised if Kyrus Lanxter and E.J. Fields get a start or two during the season.
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