Published February 3, 2012 - 1:34pm
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Biggest Needs: For a team that went 5-7 there are more needs than just the players leaving, but those players are the ones I will focus on. The Wildcats lose three starters on the offensive line, and a total of five on the two-deep depth chart. Matt Roark is the only other senior on offense, but his 300+ receiving yards won’t be missed too much. Only losing four starters on offense doesn’t sound that bad, but for a team that had terrible offensive production, they need help. The Wildcats did not have a RB to rush for more than 500yds, and they didn’t have a QB to throw for more than 1,000yds. The only way that can be corrected is through recruiting.
Defensively Kentucky loses 5 starters on defense, and they lose three senior defensive backs. The Wildcats lose all three of their top tacklers in LB Danny Trevathan, LB Ronnie Sneed, and Safety Winston Guy. Kentucky only loses a couple of guys up front, but they are further down the depth chart. Just like the offense, Kentucky’s defense ranked last in the SEC. So, even though they are returning some players, they aren’t a huge help.
Needs Met: For Kentucky this is just another average year in recruiting, but average recruiting years at Kentucky have kept the Wildcats as a doormat to the SEC. Thankfully the Wildcats managed to keep the best player in-state when they inked QB Patrick Towles. Towles is a guy that could get thrown into the mix quickly because Kentucky needs QB help. The Wildcats signed two RBs, and Justin Taylor could be quite a steal. Taylor had originally committed to Alabama, but he switched his commitment when Alabama asked him to gray-shirt. They also added two wide receivers, and DeMarcus Sweat could give them a significant deep threat down the field. Offensive lineman was the biggest position of need on that side of the ball, and the Wildcats went out and inked five guys. Jordan Watson and Zach Myers look to be ready to come in and add instant depth.
Defensively the Wildcats made news by signing 9 defensive backs. Many of these players will contribute next year, but Jonathan Reed has the speed to make a difference, not only on special teams, but in special situations on defense. However, don’t be surprised if JUCO DB Kory Brown comes in and makes a difference next year. Kentucky also signed two linebackers, and most people really like Khalid Henderson as a quality OLB. Up front the Wildcats snagged two DTs and one DE. However, I would be really surprised to see any of these step in immediately.
Biggest Get: Patrick Towles. Keeping a top ranked QB in-state is huge for the Wildcats, and he fills a huge position of need.
Biggest Miss: 39 Misses. Kentucky offered 40 guys that, according to Rivals.com, were either 4 or 5 star recruits. However, they only landed one of those players. If Kentucky ever wants to be a player in the SEC, that has to change.
Final Evaluation: Kentucky brought in 26 players in this class, and they will be looking for some like Jalen Whitlow or Justin Taylor to be major sleepers. This class fills needs, but not with high-impact recruits.
Final Grade: C