Five Kentucky players who are ready for big roles in 2014

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Mississippi State

Kentucky was the last SEC team to start spring practice last Friday. Spring football is in full swing, with all teams currently in the meat of their spring schedule.

RELATED: Kentucky spring football forecast

The Cats are coming off a two-win season in Mark Stoops’ debut, and things have to improve at every position. Of course, the most obvious concern is finding a quarterback and building a better offensive line, but Stoops actually has skill players and a solid defense.

Here are five players who will help Stoops take his program to the next level in 2014:

Braylon Heard, RB (JR)
2013 stats: Did not play
Buzz: The Nebraska transfer sat out due to NCAA transfer rules in 2013, but he’s ready for a massive role in 2014. He averaged seven yards per carry in two season at Nebraska, and he will be a big part of the offense, regardless of who the quarterback ends up being. The 5-11, 198-pound Ohio native could be one of the SEC’s biggest impact newcomers.

Cory Johnson, DT (JR)
2013 stats: JUCO transfer
Buzz: Cory Johnson is already on campus, and he’s ready to fill a major need. With defensive tackles Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph now gone, Johnson becomes an immediate impact player. He was a standout JUCO player, and he was the leading tackler for the No. 1 JUCO scoring defense in the country, recording 15 tackles for loss last season. Do you think he’s a leader?

Jojo Kemp, RB (SO)
2013 stats: 100 carries, 482 yards, 3 TDs
Buzz: Jojo Kemp and Braylon Heard can become one of the SEC’s best one-two running back punches. Kemp recorded the most rushing yards for the Wildcats last season, and he’s a great looking player who the offense can build around. Kemp is just tough to tackle at 5-10, 200 pounds.

Marcus McWilson, DB/LB (SO)
2013 stats: 9 tackles, 2 TFL
Buzz: McWilson was one of Mark Stoops’ biggest signees in 2013, and his role is about to become much bigger on defense. He was signed a defensive back, but it’s been long talked about that McWilson could be moved to linebacker. The team’s leading tackler Avery Williamson is now gone, and McWilson could help fill that void. Either way, he’s a great looking prospect who Stoops can build his defense around.

Ryan Timmons, WR (SO)
2013 stats: 32 catches, 338 yards, 2 TDs
Buzz: One of my favorite players in the SEC, Timmons’ role is set to become much bigger, assuming the Cats can find a quarterback who can get him the football. He’s a burner in the open field who Neal Brown can play in a Percy Harvin-like role. Just give him the football; he needs more touches.

Photo Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

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