Kentucky football ranks No. 55 in returning production

Adam Luckett05/26/23


Article written by:On3 imageAdam Luckett


Kentucky Wildcat mascot
(Dr. Michael Huang | KSR)

The 2023 college football season is quickly approaching. After some strong work in the transfer portal, expectations remain high for Kentucky football.

In the latest SP+ Ranking produced by ESPN’s Bill Connelly, Kentucky again found itself inside the top 25 thanks to some particularly strong defensive projections. After a top-five finish in adjusted efficiency rankings in 2022, the computers are calling for another strong finish from Brad White‘s group this season.

SP+ projections are created by three factors — returning production, recent recruiting, and recent history. That first piece gives us a nice starting point on where every team stands after last year’s results. Kentucky is right in the middle of the pack.

Kentucky currently ranks No. 55 in returning production (64%), according to Connelly. UK’s offense ranks No. 44 (69%) and the defense ranks No. 78 (58%). If you were to rank the 12 FBS teams on Kentucky’s schedule in returning production, the Wildcats would be right in the middle of the pack.

  • 2. Missouri (82%)
  • 32. Vanderbilt (70%)
  • 34. Akron (69%)
  • 47. Mississippi State (67%)
  • 49. Tennessee (65%)
  • 55. Kentucky (64%)
  • 67. Louisville (61%)
  • 74. Georgia (59%)
  • 77. Ball State (59%)
  • 82. South Carolina (58%)
  • 118. Florida (48%)
  • 122. Alabama (46%)

Missouri will get some preseason buzz due to all the returning production that Eliah Drinkwitz is bringing back for year four. Clark Lea should have a real chance to put out another year of improvement at Vanderbilt with a ton of experience. Outside of those two SEC teams, every other power conference foe on Kentucky’s schedule has a lot to replace. Things aren’t look great at Florida as Billy Napier enters year two with a very unproven roster for a program off of consecutive losing seasons.

Football is coming.

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