The defense could look a lot different next season for UK football

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 16: Defensive back Mike Edwards
COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 16: Defensive back Mike Edwards /

The suspension of linebacker Denzil Ware will have the UK football team employing a different look in Friday’s Music City Bowl. The Cats may feel Ware’s absence well beyond battle with Northwestern in Nashville.

UK football coach Mark Stoops announced Tuesday that junior linebacker Denzil Ware will not participate in the Music City Bowl because of a violation of team rules. Freshman Josh Paschal will replace Ware in the lineup. Ware is a fourth-year junior and according to the Courier Journal’s Jon Hale, when asked about Ware’s future with the team beyond the Music City Bowl Stoops had no comment.

There are a lot of questions surrounding this Kentucky defense going into next season. Safety Mike Edwards and linebacker Josh Allen are candidates to throw their names into the NFL Draft. Jordan Jones had a tumultuous end to the season. Many pundits and UK fans are calling for Stoops to dismiss the junior linebacker due to his disruptive conduct. Linebacker Courtney Love and defensive lineman Matt Elam will not be part of next year’s team as they are graduating seniors.

So while the front seven of the UK football team is most likely to see the most turnover, the secondary may be the deepest it’s ever been. Lonnie Johnson, Derrick Baitey and Chris Westry are all expected to return. There’s also the possibility that Edwards may decide that he’s not ready to make the jump to the NFL yet. The buzz around Edwards is not as noisy of that surrounding Josh Allen. Some scouts consider Allen be a first-round talent.

Stoops has had some solid recruiting classes over the past few years. Kentucky has landed a top 35 recruiting class each of the last three years according to Players like linebacker Kash Daniel, cornerback Tyrell Aijan and the freshman Paschal will receive ample opportunities in 2018.