Kentucky Wildcats Football: 5 Impact Freshmen for 2014

Signing day is now behind us and there’s no longer any questions as to who Kentucky will add to the roster. The staff was able to target and acquire some talented young players that will be counted on to contribute early in Mark Stoops’ second year. Here are five freshman signees to watch:

1. Dorian Hendrix
If he were two inches taller, Hendrix would have been one of the top linebacker recruits in the country. A combination of speed and intelligence should put him in the mix for any of the three linebacker spots, although he is probably best suited in the middle. With Avery Williamson moving on after starting the past three years combined with Hendrix enrolling in January, don’t be surprised if he wins a starting position in spring practice.

2. Mikel Horton
At first glance, the Kentucky backfield is overcrowded. You have freshman phenom Jojo Kemp returning along with Braylon Heard and Demetrius Davis becoming eligible after their transfers and Horton being joined by Boom Williams as new additions through the 2014 class. Despite all of this, Horton is just to versatile to be kept on the sideline. His combination of size and speed is rare in any back, much less a freshman and he is a very good receiver as well. Look for him to be used as a runner, a receiver, and even a tight end as a true freshman.

3. Daryl Long
Had he enrolled early, Long would have been a total no-brainer for most likely freshman to contribute. Between his natural talents and Kentucky graduating four senior tight ends, Long is almost guaranteed to see the field this season. He will need to improve his blocking techniques and hone his route running, but don’t be surprised if he is a big part of the offense by midseason.

4. Dorian Baker
The untimely injury to Alex Montgomery served to magnify the lack of size Kentucky has at receiver. Now with Montgomery trying to come back from the torn ACL that cut his freshman season short, Baker is in prime position to step in as a physical presence on the outside. With an abundance of speedy slot-types on the roster, Baker can provide a tall yet athletic option for the quarterback and a safety blanket over the middle.

5. Matt Elam
The big guy certainly made it interesting all the way to the end, but ultimately decided to stay home and help rebuild the Kentucky program. Now with signing out of the way, Elam will have to focus on recovering from a knee injury that hampered him late in the year and getting into game shape if he hopes toSigning day is now behind us and there’s no longer any questions as to who Kentucky will add to the roster. The staff was able to target and acquire some talented young players that will be counted on to contribute early in Mark Stoops’ second year. Here are five freshman signees to watch:

1. Dorian Hendrix
If he were two inches taller, Hendrix would have been one of the top linebacker recruits in the country. A combination of speed and intelligence should put him in the mix for any of the three linebacker spots, although he is probably best suited in the middle. With Avery Williamson moving on after starting the past three years combined with Hendrix enrolling in January, don’t be surprised if he wins a starting position in spring practice.

2. Mikel Horton
At first glance, the Kentucky backfield is overcrowded. You have freshman phenom Jojo Kemp returning along with Braylon Heard and Demetrius Davis becoming eligible after their transfers and Horton being joined by Boom Williams as new additions through the 2014 class. Despite all of this, Horton is just to versatile to be kept on the sideline. His combination of size and speed is rare in any back, much less a freshman and he is a very good receiver as well. Look for him to be used as a runner, a receiver, and even a tight end as a true freshman.

3. Daryl Long
Had he enrolled early, Long would have been a total no-brainer for most likely freshman to contribute. Between his natural talents and Kentucky graduating four senior tight ends, Long is almost guaranteed to see the field this season. He will need to improve his blocking techniques and hone his route running, but don’t be surprised if he is a big part of the offense by midseason.

4. Dorian Baker
The untimely injury to Alex Montgomery served to magnify the lack of size Kentucky has at receiver. Now with Montgomery trying to come back from the torn ACL that cut his freshman season short, Baker is in prime position to step in as a physical presence on the outside. With an abundance of speedy slot-types on the roster, Baker can provide a tall yet athletic option for the quarterback and a safety blanket over the middle.

5. Matt Elam
The big guy certainly made it interesting all the way to the end, but ultimately decided to stay home and help rebuild the Kentucky program. Now with signing out of the way, Elam will have to focus on recovering from a knee injury that hampered him late in the year and getting into game shape if he hopes to be a major contributor as a freshman. With Kentucky graduating three senior defensive tackles, the opportunity to at least be a rotational player is available if Elam plays his cards right.

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