2020 Roster Outlook: Edge
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2020 Roster Outlook: Edge

Adam Luckettalmost 2 years

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Article written by:Adam LuckettAdam Luckett

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Kentucky is quickly becoming one of college football's best producers of linebacker talent and most recently the staff has had two hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end prospects selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Both Josh Allen and Bud Dupree have proven to be, at bare minimum, quality starters in the NFL while Za'Darius Smith is fresh off a big contract and a career year with the Green Bay Packers. This position has been renamed to Edge in the draft community and it is most certainly a position that the NFL values at a very high level. On the college level, it is much of the same and we've seen UK build its defense around getting some very high production from the spot. Since Brad White arrived, this position has produced 35 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in the last two seasons. This is a role that is on the field to cause havoc and Kentucky should have the personnel in place to create plenty of damage to opposing offenses this fall.

Returning

Boogie Watson is now in his redshirt senior season and the DMV native has played in 38 games with 23 starts in his career. The Sam linebacker has recorded 13.5 sacks in his previous three playing seasons and has a great chance to reach the top five of UK's career sacks chart. He will be one of the leaders on the football team and is a guy UK must have play at a high level in 2020. Over at Jack, it was announced earlier this week that Joshua Paschal would be moving to the defensive line full-time and that means it's Jordan Wright's time to shine at the position that produced Josh Allen's historic season in 2018. The former high three-star recruit out of South Florida played in all 13 games last season recording 27 tackles and three sacks. The former basketball star in Fort Lauderdale checks in at 6-foot-5 and 242 pounds proving he has all the required measurements to play the position. The redshirt junior has All-SEC potential. After platooning with Paschal last season, Wright will be sharing the spot with a different former blue-chip recruit. J.J. Weaver was able to play four games and redshirt last season, but there is no denying the skill he brings to the position. At 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds, the Louisville Moore alum who was born in South Florida recorded six tackles and two pass break-ups in limited playing time in 2019. He is someone Mark Stoops is really high on. "J.J. Weaver is a guy we’re very excited about. He has the frame you’re looking for. He is a big guy, has the length you’re looking for, putting on good weight, one of those guys that does everything you ask him to do, he’s getting better and better." Xavier Peters is a football player that most every fan knows about thanks to him being a high profiled transfer from Florida State and a former top-175 recruit in the class of 2018. However, he's had some issues adjusting to how things are done within the Kentucky football program and he'll enter a very important spring at third on the depth chart behind both Wright and Weaver. He also has the potential to slide over to Sam. K.D. McDaniel was another player who redshirted in Brad White's position room last season and the former high-three star prospect from Georgia appears to enter the spring as Boogie Watson's primary backup. With it looking like Jared Casey is moving to inside linebacker, the chance for solid reps with the twos should be there for the South Georgia native.

Newcomers

Last year, UK reeled in signatures from four edge prospects with junior college product Marquez Bembry eventually sliding to inside linebacker. Due to this, the position was not a spot of need in the class of 2020 and that showed up in the final tally. The Wildcats only landed one edge prospect, but it was a guy with a very high ceiling. https://youtu.be/Eh19H9M5Kds Samuel Anaele is a Nigerian native who moved to the states to originally pursue basketball before eventually turning into a football player who would become a four-star prospect. Anaele has great size (6-foot-4, 246 pounds) and appears to be a very good fit for the Jack position. A redshirt year is very likely, but there is no denying that he has the tools to succeed at this level.

Immediate Future

Brad White is now in his third season on the staff and this may be the best place this position has been in. Kentucky has one senior who has proven to be a very good piece and he'll be starting opposite a redshirt junior who is coming off a very promising season. You add in a couple of redshirt freshman that the staff seems very high on and it's a good spot to be in. Oh, there's also that marquee transfer who can be a big factor if he is able to put it all together. Kentucky is in a really good spot. Things are so good that the staff is even willing to move some pieces around to get them on the field more quickly. After what was a reset year last season, the Edge should be one of the better positions on the defense in 2020. This is a spot that you have to get havoc from. Kentucky needs these hybrid athletes to produce sacks, pressures, non-sack tackles for loss and forced fumbles. Get those from this position and the defense could be really scary this fall. 2020 Roster Outlook: QuarterbacksRunning BacksWide ReceiversTight EndsOffensive Line, Defensive Line

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2022-01-28