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UK Football: Spring depth chart update


By Kyle

There will be several starters from 2009 returning and several new jobs opening up this spring. No job is ever “locked up” completely. One bad performance can be the difference between a player being a starter or being benched, so there is some speculation involved here. I’ve changed the categories from “returning starters”, “probable starters”, and “wide open,” to new categories now that practice is under way. Now we have “Probable Starters”, “Slight Edge”, and “Wide Open.” The categories should be self-explanatory. This is how I see UK’s football roster and depth chart breaking down at this point.
(Note: all positions are assuming UK is in a Pro-I offense, and a base 4-3 defense)

Probable Starters

Right Guard – Stuart Hines – JR
Coming off of a good redshirt sophomore season, he looks to retain his job barring injury.

Left Guard – Larry Warford – SO
Shared time with starter Christian Johnson. He has absolutely dominated thus far, and I cannot see anyone displacing him at this point.

Right Tackle – Brad Durham – SR
Shared time with starter Justin Jeffries last year. Should step in and win job quickly. Looks to have locked up the Right Tackle job already.

Wide Receiver – Randall Cobb – JR
The man that can do it all returns and is considered a WR, although ATH might be a better description of his talent. No one is taking his job(s).

Wide Receiver – Chris Matthews – SR
JUCO transfer returns for his senior year hoping to see the kind of production former UK WR Stevie Johnson brought. LaRod King and Brian Adams may make a push, but Matthews’ talent is immense.

Running Back – Derrick Locke – SR
Returning starter should expand his game and show off his abilities to NFL scouts. Youngsters Jonathan George and Donald Russell will help provide depth, but shouldn’t challenge Locke for the starting job.


Defensive Tackle – Ricky Lumpkin – SR
Hoping to step in and fill the role Corey Peters held last year.

Weak-side Defensive End – DeQuin Evans – SR
Athletic DE should have a better grasp on the defense during his second year.

Weak-side Linebacker – Danny Trevathan – JR
Extremely fast Linebacker should have a better year after his arm is healed.

Free Safety – Winston Guy – JR
Needs to wrap up better, but his talent is immense. Sure-fire NFL talent if he can put it all together.

Slight Edge

Quarterback – Mike Hartline – SR
Lots of options here, and the most interesting competition to watch. Hartline has to be considered the favorite to win, but by a razor thin margin. Consistency and accuracy will decide this race, and Newton and Mossakowski have a little ground to make up. It looks as though Hartline’s leadership, abilities, and experience are helping him distance his grasp on the starting job.

Left Tackle – Billy Joe Murphy – JR
Murphy is an experienced option who has backed up Gary Williams and Zipp Duncan. Look out for Chandler Burden to make a late push though.

Fullback – Moncell Allen – SR
Coaches would not have taken him out of the RB rotation if they didn’t think he’d be the guy. Meisner is impressing lately though, so no cakewalk.

Tight End – Nick Melillo – JR
It looks like experience is weighing in heavier than athletic ability. Melillo has reportedly moved to the starter role for the time being, but don’t count out Kendrick or Wallace, because the opening kickoff for 2010 is a long way off.


Strong-side Defensive End – Taylor Wyndham – SO
Added weight and strength this offseason should help him lock down the job, but there’s a lot of competition.

Middle Linebacker – Qua Huzzie – FR
Huzzie has played great so far and looks to have the edge at this point. Don’t count Sneed out yet though.

Cornerback – Paul Warford – SR
He’ll have to fight off spring standout Cartier Rice and the athletic sophomore Martavius Neloms, but his experience, understanding of coverages, and athletic tools should make him the favorite.

Cornerback – Randall Burden – JR
Got burnt a little more often than most would like, but should improve for his junior year. He’s moved out of “Probable starters due to the excellent performances of Rice and Neloms so far, not because of his lack of performance though.

Wide Open

Center – M. Smith(SO)/ S. Simpson(FR)
Probably a two horse race here. Smith has a year of experience, but Simpson was the higher rated talent as a prep player. Smith gets a tiny advantage.


Defensive Tackle – S.McCord(SR)/ M. Crawford(JR)/ M. Cobble(FR)
Crawford is a very slight favorite here because of consistency. McCord has the experience, and Cobble has the raw talent, and if everything clicks for him, the position is his to lose.

Strong-side Linebacker – J. Dufrene(SR)/ R. Wilson(SO)/ W. Johnson (SO)
Dufrene is undersized but experienced, Wilson and Johnson are young but supremely athletic. Lentz might have been the favorite before hanging it up due to injuries.

Strong Safety – Josh Gibbs(JR)/ Greg Wilson(JR)/ T. Smith(JR)/ J. Walker(FR)
Wilson is the big hitter, Smith has the superior cover skills, Gibbs is the balanced player, and Walker is the budding star who might not be ready just yet. Someone needs to step up, and the safest bet is it will be Gibbs. Don’t count out Walker to surprise everyone though, as he’s having a spectacular camp.

You may notice that the “Wide Open” group is thinning out as Spring progresses. Expect this to be gone followin the Blue/White Game, but keep in mind that the jobs will open back up for the Fall Camp when the freshmen arrive.

Check back throughout Spring Practice and the offseason for depth chart updates

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