football Edit

Defensive Depth Chart Projection

UK Athletics
UK Athletics

Earlier in the week Cats Illustrated publisher Justin Rowland offered a prediction on what a spring depth chart might look like for Kentucky's offense.

Here's an effort to predict what the spring defensive depth chart could look like.

Defensive End

1. Josh Paschal

2a. Isaiah Gibson

2b. Octavious Oxendine

Paschal is going to play the lion's share of the snaps at defensive end but there are some quality younger options who have been promising to the staff.

Nose Guard

1. Marquan McCall

2a. Justin Rogers

2b. Josaih Hayes

Player for player this may be the position with the most raw talent on the roster when you are talking about recruiting pedigree. Kentucky will hope McCall becomes of the SEC's top interior linemen this fall, and both Rogers and Hayes are working here as well.

Defensive Tackle

1. Qua Mahone

2. Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald

Phil Hoskins and Kordell Looney played a lot here and there's going to be substantial turnover although Mahone has a good amount of game experience.

Strongside Linebacker

1. KD McDaniel

2a. Vito Tisdale

2b. Trevin Wallace

This position is really a mystery as to how it shakes out. The 'Cats should be green here, regardless of who the snaps go to. Tisdale was in this backup role a couple of times last year and his versatility/physicality could be an answer although he is undersized.

Linebacker/Defensive End

1. Jordan Wright

2. Justice Dingle

Wright needs to become one of the most consistent players on the defense, while UK can already count on big plays from him.

Middle Linebacker

1a. D'Eryk Jackson

1b. Jared Casey

1c. Trevin Wallace

This position battle may be more up in the air than any other on the entire roster. If Jamin Davis had returned then we wouldn't even have to say anything about the MIKE position. His absence leaves a glaring hole, at least on paper.

Weakside Linebacker

1. DeAndre Square

2. Jared Casey

This is what the WILL spot looked like on the depth chart for the Gator Bowl against NC State and so that's the best guess one could offer at this point. Casey could get a look at another linebacker spot but Square is the unquestioned starter here and one of the team's leaders.

Nickelback

1a. Davonte Robinson

1b. Vito Tisdale

This is one of the more interesting positions on the defensive roster because we're talking about two very different players. How much will Robinson benefit from a full offseason of shaking more rust off following his long time away from football? He's one of the more experienced players on the team. How much of a step forward will Kentucky see from Vito Tisdale, who has a lot of people around the program excited? Either way, there are a couple of intriguing options for this very important and difficult position.

Corner

1. Cedrick Dort

2a. Andru Phillips

2b. Carrington Valentine

2c. Quandre Mosely

2d. Jamari Brown

What we say here, we can say about both cornerback positions. They are up in the air. Brad White recently told CI the position battle at cornerback is going to be fierce with a number of guys, including perhaps Maxwell Hairston who is in for the spring, involved.

Corner

1a. Carrington Valentine

1b. Quandre Mosely

1c. Jamari Brown

1d. Andru Phillips

Strong Safety

1. Ty Ajian

2a. Quandre Mosely

2b. Joel Williams

Ajian had his best season yet for Kentucky in 2020 so has earned a lot of playing time. Mosely could play corner or safety where he has more experience.

Free Safety

1. Yusuf Corker

2a. Jalen Geiger

2b. Taj Dodson

Corker is expected to be one of the better players on the team and Kentucky could lean on a couple of players who have now been in the program for two years after him.