Luke Fortner is a super-senior that provides a veteran presence and stability for the Big Blue Wall. Fortner has played in 42 career games with 23 consecutive starts at right guard. Jager Burton is the future at guard. Burton earned Mr. Football honors and is one of the most celebrated offensive linemen in Kentucky history. But, a pair of offensive linemen that are not discussed enough are Austin Dotson and Kenneth Horsey.
Austin Dotson was an instate prospect that stayed home to play for the Wildcats. The Belfry Pirate was rated as a 3-star prospect on a high school team that won four consecutive state championships by heavily leaning on the running game. Dotson was also a pitcher and first baseman on the Belfry baseball team.
Dotson is a tough-guy, physical run blocker who has developed his pass blocking skills under John Schlarman and Eric Wolford. He’s played behind longtime starters Logan Stenberg, Bunchy Stallings, and Luke Fortner at guard. The senior has participated in 18 games during his stay in Lexington. The 6’6, 313-pounder started four contests a year ago and projects to compete with Kenneth Horsey to play alongside Fortner in 2021.
Kenneth Horsey is a 6’3, 300-pound junior from Sanford, Florida. Rated as the 3-star prospect, the guard chose UK over Mississippi State. He’s played in 12 games with 8 starts. Horsey was diagnosed with endocarditis, a dangerous infection on a heart valve, the spring before his freshman season and had to undergo open-heart surgery. Now fully recovered and a starter on Kentucky’s Big Blue Wall, Horsey is teaming up with the American Heart Association to teach Hands-Only CPR. He was one of three winners of the 2020 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award.
What Does All This Mean?
Preseason All SEC guard Luke Fortner decided to return for an additional season in Lexington. This personnel move was a significant gain for the Big Blue Wall. He graded out at 82.9 percent last season after recording 26 knockdowns and 146 blocks at the point of attack. Fortner’s off the field work equals his on-field play. The Ohio native earned a spot on the SEC Community Service Team and was a Semifinalist for the Campbell and Wuerffel Trophy.
True freshman guard Jager Burton was an enormous recruiting win for Vince Marrow. Burton is one of the most celebrated offensive linemen in the history of Kentucky high school football after winning the Paul Hornung Award and being named Co-Mr. Football. The 4-star All American chose UK over Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Oregon. An early enrollee, Burton was praised for his acclimation to the college game and has an extremely bright future as a Wildcat.
However, there are two guards that are flying under the radar that will play significant roles in the 2021’s version of the Big Blue Wall. Austin Dotson and Kenneth Horsey are both veterans and provide UK with starter-level production at guard. Dotson is a heavy-punched mauler. Horsey is athletic. Combined, the duo constructs a formidable combination on the inside of the line of scrimmage.
Kentucky’s current offensive line recruiting is gaining national attention. The Big Blue Wall brand is strong. UK is now an offensive line destination program. Securing 4-star talent is a common occurrence. But, a pair of 3-star veteran guards (Dotson and Horsey) will anchor the inside. Both are capable of maintaining the program’s high standards.