The Construction of Kentucky’s 2018 Depth Chart
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The Construction of Kentucky’s 2018 Depth Chart

Article written by:Freddie MaggardFreddie Maggard
If 2017 taught me anything, it’s that January’s projected depth chart can take on a whole new look come September. Unexpected attrition played a tremendous role in last season’s win/loss category. But what if Kentucky had a game this week? Who would be in your starting lineup? The following list would be my best guess regarding the starting lineup if the Cats had a fictitious game on January 27.

OFFENSE 

Position Name Recruiting Class
Quarterback Gunnar Hoak 2016
Running Back Benny Snell Jr. 2016
Tight End CJ Conrad 2015
Receiver Lynn Bowden 2017
Receiver Tavin Richardson 2015
Receiver Dorian Baker 2014
Right Tackle George Asafo-Adjei 2015
Right Guard Bunchy Stallings 2014
Center Drake Jackson 2016
Left Guard Logan Stenberg 2015
Left Tackle Landon Young 2016
*Bold=Returning Starter

DEFENSE

Position Name Recruiting Class
Linebacker Denzil Ware 2014
Linebacker Josh Allen 2015
Linebacker Kash Daniel 2016
Linebacker Jordan Jones 2015
Nose Tackle Quinton Bohanna 2017
Defensive Tackle Adrian Middleton 2014
Defensive End TJ Carter 2016
Cornerback Derrick Baity 2015
Cornerback Lonnie Johnson 2017
Safety Mike Edwards 2014
Safety Darius West 2014
*Bold=Returning Starter

SPECIAL TEAMS

Position Name Recruiting Class
Punter Max Duffy 2018
Kicker Chance Poore 2018
Punt Returner Lynn Bowden 2017
Kick Returner Lynn Bowden 2017
*Bold=Returning Starter According to this list, the Class of 2015 would have produced the most starters with seven. It’s followed by 2014 with six, 2016 six, 2017 five, and 2018 two. What does this tell us?

2014: Six Starters

-- The offense is down to two 2014 signees: Bunchy Stallings and Dorian Baker. Stallings redshirted and Baker was forced to sit out this past season due to an injury. Both have produced at a high level and will be sorely missed after this upcoming season. -- The defense has the highest number of 14 members with four: OLB Denzil Ware, DT Adrian Middleton, and safeties Mike Edwards/Darius West. Edwards and Ware are All-SEC performers. This class will produce NFL players from the aforementioned defenders.

2015: Seven Starters

-- I’m on record as saying that the Class of 2015 was Mark Stoops’ best during his stay in Lexington. I’m going to stay true to that claim. Currently, four offensive starters inked in '15: Logan Stenberg, George Asafo-Adjei, Tavin Richardson, and CJ Conrad. -- Defense is more difficult to project as '15 member Chris Westry started the majority of early games but Lonnie Johnson started the final four. All-SEC Linebackers Jordan Jones and Josh Allen are joined by Derrick Baity as first teamers. The Class of 2015 will produce NFL players in next year’s Draft.

2016: Six Starters

-- 2015 is my top class; 2016 is a close second. Again, this depth chart is constructed on the premise that UK has a game this week. So, based on experience and working knowledge of Eddie Gran’s offense, QB Gunnar Hoak gets my nod under center. Hoak is joined by All-SEC RB Benny Snell and two offensive linemen: Landon Young and Drake Jackson. UK’s offensive line began to play at a higher level when Jackson solidified the center position. Snell is the most celebrated player on the team and is entering his junior season in Lexington. 2018 may or may not be his last year at UK. He should be considered for All-American status as well as being on a plethora of postseason award watch lists. -- Defense: LB Kash Daniel is penciled as Courtney Love’s predecessor. Defensive end TJ Carter started every game in 2017.

2017: Five Starters

-- Receiver Lynn Bowden is the lone offensive starter. Bowden also takes up two spots on special teams by projecting as both the kick and punt returner. His status at three positions skews this class’s numbers. -- NT Quinton Bohanna was a tremendous find and sign. The sky is the limit for the Tennessee native. Cornerback Lonnie Johnson showed strides late in 2017. But, cornerback on both sides of the field has to increase.

2018: Two Starters

-- All special teams. Punter Max Duffy and Kicker Chance Poore are early odds starters in Dean Hood’s kicking game.

What does all this mean?

Our guess work in relation to the 2018 depth chart shows a nice variation of class mixtures; however, Kentucky will lose several impactful players to the NFL and graduation following the upcoming season. Continued recruiting and developing depth behind long-time starters will be critical during this offseason. The good news is that the Cats will be veteran laden and sport experience at all positions other than quarterback, kicker, punter, and inside linebacker. All four new starter positions are critically important and will influence the 2018 Win/Loss column. Successful development during spring practice and summer workouts are fundamental. Football Never Ends. [mobile_ad]

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