Mark Stoops has added another vital piece to his secondary ahead of the 2022 season. Defensive back Zion Childress announced he will transfer to Kentucky. He chose the Wildcats over Washington and TCU shortly after taking an official visit to Lexington.
Childress, a native of Houston, started his career playing in the Sun Belt at Texas State. A starter in eight of 12 games at safety last fall, he finished third on the team in tackles with 74, including 1.5 for loss. He also had five pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Entering his third college football season this fall, Childress received immediate playing time as a true freshman. He started in six games at nickel, tying for fifth on the team in tackles with 61. Childress played defense right away, even though he was a three-star wide receiver recruit that was a high school quarterback. He rushed for 2,901 yards and 21 touchdown passes as a senior and threw for 3,305 yards throughout his prep career.
One might simply describe Childress as a “ball player.” He will be able to do a little bit of everything for Kentucky’s defense, and that’s exactly what the Wildcats need. Vito Tisdale was UK’s projected starting nickel until he suffered a season-ending injury during spring practice. Childress may not bring that same pop as Vito, but he can line up at multiple spots to provide quality depth in the secondary.
Childress has four years to play three seasons of college football. He is the third transfer Kentucky has added to its secondary this offseason. Jordan Robinson made the jump from DII Livingstone College to UK shortly after cornerback Keidron Smith transferred from Ole Miss. If they want, the Cats still have room to add more players from the transfer portal.