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Nine Kentucky Wildcats Earn Preseason Honors from Phil Steele

Nick Roushby:Nick Roush06/18/24


Happy Phil Steele SZN to all who celebrate. The most trusted college football preseason publication is back on newsstands ahead of the 2024 season and the Kentucky Wildcats are getting a little shine from the industry veteran.

Phil Steele is not your typical talking head. For more than 25 years he’s been pumping out content that is different from what you’ll see elsewhere.

First and foremost, my man Phil is as thorough as they come. He’s created his own shorthand to pack as much information onto the pages of his magazine as possible. Sometimes grammar falls by the wayside, but there’s nothing wrong with that. As we learned during the Free Money Podcast days, he’s also one heck of a self-promoter, even if the plays aren’t exactly winners.

He’s a character unlike any other doing work very few will do. In the transfer portal era, roster movement makes the job as difficult as it’s ever been, but he’s still providing as much information as possible.

Most preseason all-conference teams will give you a two-deep. Phil Steele has four all-conference teams for every single FBS league, giving plenty of players a moment in the spotlight. As for the Wildcats, there are nine Kentucky football players receiving preseason all-conference honors.

Defensive lineman Deone Walker is a second team All-American and Barion Brown is a second team All-American selection as a kick returner. Brown returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in 2023 and Walker is well on his way to hearing his name called in the first round of the 2025 NFL Draft.

Phil Steele’s All-SEC Selections

Five defensive starters for the Wildcats earned All-SEC honors from Phil Steele. There are three representatives on Bush Hamdan’s offense, including a couple of players on the Big Blue Wall.

DL Deone Walker, First Team (Defense)
KR Barion Brown, First Team (Special Teams)
DB Maxwell Hairston, First Team (Defense)
WR Dane Key, Second Team (Offense)
LB Jamon “Pop” Dumas-Johnson, Second Team (Defense)
OL Eli Cox, Third Team (Offense)
LB D’Eryk Jackson, Third Team (Defense)
OL Marques Cox, Fourth Team (Offense)
DE JJ Weaver, Fourth Team (Defense)

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SEC Predicted Order of Finish

When scouring through the Athlon preseason college football magazine, I was startled by one change arriving this fall. Instead of predicting where Kentucky will finish in the SEC East, the Wildcats are now jumbled in with all 16 teams. It’s forcing us to retrain our brains and I’m still not quite adjusted to it.

Here’s how Phil Steele believes the league will shake out with Texas and Oklahoma in the fold. If you’re looking for some hot takes, you won’t find them with ties all over the board, including Kentucky with two others at 11th.

1. Georgia
1. Texas
3. Alabama
4. Ole Miss
5. LSU
5. Missouri
5. Oklahoma
5. Tennessee
9. Texas A&M
10. Florida
11. South Carolina
11. Kentucky
11. Auburn
14. Arkansas
15. Mississippi State
15. Vanderbilt

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