football Edit

Offensive Depth Chart Projection

With several new assistant coaches, the first full slate of spring football in nearly two years, and more roster shakeups possible there's a lot that can change in the weeks ahead.

But we do know quite a bit about Kentucky's roster, so here's an early attempt at a 2021 spring depth chart for the Wildcats.

Quarterback

1a. Joey Gatewood

1b. Beau Allen

3. Nik Scalzo

Will Levis will not join the program until the summer so the safe play is to assume Gatewood and Allen will be in the "OR" spots at the top of the depth chart with Nik Scalzo, who is fully back from an injury, getting a fresh slate with a new OC.

Running Back

1. Chris Rodriguez

2. Kavosiey Smoke

3a. JuTahn McClain

3b. Travis Tisdale

Rodriguez is the clear No. 1 and if Smoke stays healthy then he should be the No. 2 option. There are some real complementary pieces here with very different players on the depth chart. It will be interesting to see who the new running backs coach might be.

Wide Receiver (X)

1a. Allen Dailey

1b. Izayah Cummings

This could turn out to be a battle. Cummings was an interesting player for the Wildcats before getting derailed in the preseason last year. He's a big body with a versatile skill set and could push the very experienced Dailey.

Wide Receiver (Y)

1. Wan'Dale Robinson

2. Michael Drennen II

Robinson is a no-brainer to start and getting him 10-15 touches per game will be a priority.

Wide Receiver (F)

1. Josh Ali

2. Michael Drennen II

Ali is locked into this role and will play the lion's share of snaps.

Wide Receiver (Z)

1a. Isaiah Epps

1b. DeMarcus Harris

Epps had a long return back from an injury but he started to show some positive signs last year and eventually took back a spot at the top of the depth chart. Both he and Harris should play a lot so this could be more of a platoon.

Tight End

1a. Keaton Upshaw

1b. Justin Rigg

3. Brenden Bates

It will not be a surprise if Rigg is a starter yet again, but if you are looking for a bold prediction here is a good place for one. For Kentucky to take its passing game to heights unseen in a long time, getting Upshaw on the field as early as often is key. He showed excellent mismatch potential last year and has as much ability in the passing game as any Kentucky tight end since Jacob Tamme.

Left Tackle

1. Darian Kinnard

2. Naasir Watkins

Kinnard moves to left tackle because of his ability, the importance of the position, and the opportunity to bolster his stock with one more season. Watkins has extensive experience here so this position appears strong.

Right Tackle

1a. Jeremy Flax

1b. Naasir Watkins

Flax was in a position to play a lot last year if Kentucky hadn't been fortunate enough to have Kinnard and Landon Young as its bookend tackles. The former JUCO transfer is a bit of a specimen and is a player to watch this offseason. But there could be a fierce battle with Watkins, who is capable of playing on either side of the line.

Left Guard

1a. Kenneth Horsey

1b. Austin Dotson

3. Eli Cox

These two players basically split time at guard during the 2021 season and though they are very different in terms of strengths and limitations, they both bring something to the table. One could eventually win the battle for PT but for now they're in a similar position. Eli Cox is a dark horse to watch who could rise up the depth chart before next year.

Right Guard

1. Luke Fortner

2. Austin Dotson

Fortner will eventually go down as one of the most experienced players in UK football history given his decision to return. He is capable of playing on either side of the line as he started at left guard the final couple of games last year.

Center

1. Quintin Wilson

2. Eli Cox

Wilson is the heir apparent at center. He's been prepared for this role for a long time and has learned behind arguably the best center in program history in Drake Jackson. Eric Wolford will have to continue the work of cross-training players at center behind him to ensure there's adequate depth.