Kentucky football: D’Eryk Jackson injury leaves massive void, little answers

D'Eryk Jackson of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
D'Eryk Jackson of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Kentucky football wrapped up a positive spring practice stretch but it was disheartening news that D’Eryk Jackson suffered a severe injury that will keep him sidelined next season in another blow at its linebacker position.

Coach Mark Stoops made the announcement Saturday that it happened to the sophomore during warm-ups earlier in the week and according to Kentucky Sports Radio he had surgery to repair a KSR  a torn Achilles tendon earlier this week.

When Jamin Davis announced that he was leaving for the NFL it left a huge question mark at the middle linebacker spot. Davis was solid for the Wildcats stepping up when Chris Oats when down and navigated his way up the NFL draft boards. But losing both means there are no proven players to step into that role.

D’Eryk Jackson  loss leaves Wildcats massive void at middle linebacker

Jackson was expected to be the likely candidate to be the next man up to recruit and develop under Stoops and defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Brad White and Jon Sumrall.

So where do we go from here?

That is anyone guess and opens to door for anyone looking to quickly learn and step in or Wildcat coaches need to quickly start scouring the transfer portal.

Jared Casey the sophomore out of Louisville Trinity and Ballard high school signed as a Rivals 4-star player and ranked No. 15 nationally is likely the next man up. As a senior, he totaled 70 tackles with 15.5 for losses, recorded three sacks, and one forced fumble.

In 2020 at Kentucky as a redshirt freshman, he played in all 11 games, finishing with 20 tackles.

He played baseball, wrestling, and basketball growing up so he is a true athlete and has been working with Sumrall on his further development and leadership. That may have to be accelerated.

On signing day they picked up Michigan State transfer Luke Fulton who will need to learn the new Wildcat defensive schemes along with another 4-star steal out of Georgia in Trevin Wallace. Wallace would most likely be the likely option based on natural talent and IQ to be thrust into and welcome the challenge.

However, since he hasn’t even stepped foot in Lexington coaches haven’t been able to see him up close in person. That will have to wait till summer. But he is a versatile athlete that coaches seemed to want to wait to fill a need where they deemed most needed.

They may have just found out where that need is.

Expecting a transfer to swoop in and hit the field to fill the void will be daunting yet just a bandaid for a position that lacks depth and experience.

While there are certainly other players on the roster just finishing spring practice working them into other positions and moving them around come fall won’t be the solution.

Obviously, this has to be topic No. 1 in coaches’ meetings moving forward.

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