Four Things To Know About Kentucky’s 2018 Off-season

Kentucky's Greatest Football Win, Spring practice

Four Things To Know About Kentucky’s 2018 Off-season

As Mark Stoops heads into his sixth year at Kentucky he returns 18 starters from 2017. Fresh off a second straight 7-6 season and bowl bid the staff hopes to continue the momentum in 2018. It has been a very busy few months since the Music City Bowl loss. If you haven’t been following we have you covered with Four Things To Know About Kentucky’s 2018 Offseason.

The Quarterback Battle May Last Until September

When the Cats kick off the season on September 1st against Central Michigan they will do so with a quarterback who has never thrown a pass in a game. As it stands now there is a three way battle to replace the departed Stephen Johnson.

Redshirt freshman Terry Wilson signed with Kentucky in December after starring for Garden City Community College in Kansas. Throwing for over 2,600 yards and rushing for another 500 Wilson is a true dual threat option the Cats haven’t had in years.

Competing against Wilson is Gunnar Hoak, a sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio. While Hoak has never thrown a pass in a live game he was a star of last year’s spring contest. As it stands now Hoak is probably a little ahead of Wilson because of his familiarity with the system.

Danny Clark, a redshirt freshman and former Ohio State commit is pushing Hoak and Wilson for reps. The coaching staff has been pleased with the lefty but may be just behind the other two.

The upcoming spring game on April 13th may shed more light on the quarterback battle but more than likely this will go into fall camp.

The Band Is Back Together On Defense

When 2017 ended the consensus was most of Kentucky’s top defensive players would declare for the NFL Draft. However in a surprising move, Josh Allen, Mike Edwards, Jordan Jones and Denzil Ware all decided to return to Lexington.

With 10 starters returning from 2017 Stoops and defensive coordinator Matt House hope this is the year the defense takes a huge leap forward.

Two New Names On The Coaching Staff

Jones and Allen have a new coach working with them for 2018. Brad White, who spent six seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, was named outside linebackers coach on February 1st. White graduated from Wake Forest where he played under current Kentucky coach Dean Hood.

White’s hire allows Hood to move from coaching the outside linebackers to move to the secondary to assist Steve Clinkscale. Hood has coached defensive backs most of his career.

In addition to White, Stoops hired Michael Smith to replace Lamar Thomas as wide receivers coach. A former record setting receiver at Kansas State, Smith concluded his playing career second in receptions and third in receiving yards. He worked under Bret Bielema at Arkansas the last five years.

Last Word covered the two hires in more detail which you can read here.

Garrett Johnson And Others Put On A Show At NFL Day

As we continue with Four Things To Know About Kentucky’s 2018 Offseason the last concerns former Cats.

At the recently completed Kentucky Football Pro Day three former players stood out. However none more than wide receiver Garrett Johnson. The school’s 4th all-time leading receiver had a 41 inch vertical jump. That would have been the best at the NFL Combine a half inch more than Louisiana State’s D.J. Chark.

In addition to the impressive vertical Johnson ran a 4.39 and 4.42 40 yard dash which would have put him in the top five at his position. This adds to the narrative “Juice” should have gotten an invite.

Two other Cats with strong performances were kicker Austin Macginnis and linebacker Courtney Love. The school’s all-time leader scorer made every kick under 60 yards for the NFL scouts.

Love did 24 reps on the bench press which would have been fourth for his inside linebacker position. He also had a 35 inch vertical, three inches better than he had done in training.

Thanks for checking out Four Things To Know About Kentucky’s 2018 Offseason here at Last Word On College Football. The spring game is set for April 13th and Last Word will have complete coverage.