Kentucky football: transfer portal opens and 9 Wildcats have entered so far

Kentucky Wildcats running back Kavosiey Smoke ( Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats running back Kavosiey Smoke ( Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /

When the college football regular season came to a close that meant the transfer portal was officially open for business and so far 9 Kentucky football players have opted to walk through that door.

Granted sometimes that changes and a few rare ones remove their names like Colin Goodfellow last year, but that is a rarity. For the others, you can’t really blame them. Coaches leave or are fired, frustrations surrounding playing time and their roles bubble up and most just want to see more playing time on the field.

When the NCAA changed the transfer rule of going to another school and sitting out a year to a wide-open door to explore greener pastures without having to sit out the game changed completely and rosters even more rapidly.

The 9 Kentucky football players leaving will have more opportunities to find more time on the field. Fans should always remember they did their part to push those starting ahead of them while trying to step foot on Kroger Field and other SEC venues.

Thus far the following are moving on and we wish them well. That list consists of eight players on the offensive side and one cornerback on the defense.

Despite Kentucky’s woeful offensive season that led to the firing of running back coach and offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello they were loaded with talent on this side of the ball so finding the field was tough, especially at wide receiver where three are opting to transfer.

Wide receiver:

Chauncey Magwood was a three-star player from Leesburg, Ga, and saw action in all 12 of Kentucky’s games this season but caught just seven passes for 104 yards and one touchdown. Against Florida, he had two catches for 47 yards and another two against South Carolina for 37 yards. His lone touchdown was in Kentucky’s opener against Miami of Ohio. He didn’t have a catch in the Cat’s final five games. As a freshman last season he caught one pass for 17 yards.

DeMarcus Harris came to Kentucky in 2019 as a three-star out of Vero Beach, Florida, and saw more action in previous years than he did this season.

In his first year, he appeared in one game but didn’t have a catch, but followed that up his sophomore year with 14 catches for 87 yards in seven games. In 2021 it was the same number of games with 12 catches for 150 yards and one touchdown against Mississippi State.

This year it was just four receptions for 90 yards, including one catch for 58 yards vs. Youngstown State.

Chris Lewis is a redshirt freshman from Pleasant Grove, Al, and came to Lexington as a 3 and 4-star player and Alabama high school two-sport superstar. Unfortunately, he also needed time to physically adapt to the college game.

Last year he didn’t have a catch and this season was in a very crowded wide receiver room injuries limited him to seeing action in eight games. He only was able to grab two catches for 11 total yards although one was for a touchdown against Youngstown State.

Tae Tae Crumes came to Lexington from Butler Traditional High School in Louisville in the 2019 recruiting class but like many in that class, their time in Lexington was short-lived as only five of the 21 remain with UK.

Crumes only saw action in a single game in 2019 and didn’t see any action on the field in 2020. which allows him to preserve his red shirt. In 2020 he didn’t see any game action and then in 2021 did play in four games where he made his only catch as a Wildcat against Louisianna Monroe for 10 yards. Like the other transferring receivers the crowded position didn’t allow Crumes to see any game action in 2022.

Running back:

Kavosiey Smoke would be the biggest name on the roster to transfer, but you can’t really blame him as the redshirt senior has always been Chris Rodriguez’s relief, backup, “the other back”, etc.

Smoke got his biggest opportunity at the beginning of this season when Rodriguez was suspended for the first four games allowing Smoke to carry it 51 times for 263 yards and a touchdown against Youngstown State. But when C-Rod returned Smoke only carried the ball seven times for 14 yards.

This is a crowded position as well and with Ramon Jefferson hopefully being granted a medical waiver to play after suffering a season-ending injury in the opener and the emerging JuTahn McClain and La’Vell Wright the chances for Smoke dwindled.

In his five years playing Kentucky football, Smoke carried it 291 times for 1,583 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns and leaves as the No. 21 all-time rushing leader.

Michael “Donut” Drennen surprised many when the four-star player from Dublin, Ohio picked Kentucky over USC on signing day in 2020. The highly touted pass catcher snagged three passes for 26 yards.

Kentucky assistant coach John Settle moved him to runningback the following year and that didn’t work out well handing the ball to him just seven times in six games for 17 yards and a touchdown against ULM. He didn’t see any action on the field this season.

Tight End:

Keaton Upshaw has played for the Wildcats for four years but didn’t have a lot of big stats to show for his efforts finishing with 27 receptions for 326 yards and four touchdowns.

The 2020 season was his best with 16 catches for 198 yards including touchdown receptions against Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, and Florida. He missed the 2021 year with a torn pectoral muscle and battled back this year to get four catches for 50 yards.

Offensive Line

John Young came to Lexington from Christian Academy in Louisville as a four-star player standing 6-foot-6, 305-pounds but three years in Lexington saw him redshirt his first year and play every game on special teams the following year. This past season he was the backup to Tayshawn Manning.

Corner Back

Adrian Huey hails from Hillsboro High in Nashville, Tennessee redshirted his first year at Kentucky back in 2021, and did not record playing any snaps in 2022.