It is time to finally start previewing the 2009 Kentucky Defense, which is better known as the WHOMP! Squad! We start with the beasts up front, the Defensive Line.
Biggest question mark on the team is probably the defensive ends. Three names you will hear a lot on Saturday’s will be Dequin Evans, Chandler Burden and Collins Ukwu. Only Burden has any game experience.
They will look for depth behind those three with Taylor Wyndham, who will primarily be a third down pass rusher. Look for Micah Johnson or Sam Maxwell to provide the WHOMP! sometimes and move down to end on some passing downs, ala Johnny Williams last year.
DeQuin Evans (JR:JC, 6’3″, 260)
Evans is a Juco transfer from Los Angeles Harbor College, which is the same school that brought the ‘Cats WR Chris Matthews. He has great size and is known for having a great motor.
He has been hampered by a strained hamstring during fall camp but Brooks has raved about his play when completely healthy. In 15 games in junior college, he recorded 19.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
DeQuin Evans will definitely be one of the starters when Kentucky travels to Cincy to take on Miami (OH) on September 5th.
Chandler Burden (SO, 6’4″, 296)
Big CB is one of the strongest players on the team and would probably be playing tackle if the depth at defensive end was better. He played sparingly in six games as a freshman a year ago.
Because Burden is such a beast he should be stout against the run, but the question for him is, can he create pressure in passing situations?
Collins Ukwu (FR:RS, 6’5″, 251)
As a redshirt freshman, Okwu, came to UK at only 206 pounds. He spent that redshirt year eating Big Mac’s and Whoppers and put on 50 to 60 pounds of WHOMP! strength.
He is known for his speed and agility, but is the opposite of Burden. He will be able to rush the passer, but can he stand up against the run? His added poundage should help him in that area.
Look for him and Burden to rotate at one end.
Taylor Wyndham (FR:RS, 6’4″, 230)
Wyndham is another redshirt freshman who has put on some pounds since his arrival. He put on about 20-pounds of WHOMP! strength during his redshirt year.
He is still relatively slender for his position, but he may be another year in the weight-room away from being an every down player. In the meantime, he should help on passing downs in spot duty.
At defensive tackle, Kentucky is kind of in the same situation as they are with the ends. There are three players who should be fine as starters, but looking for depth beyond those three is the question.
Corey Peters (SR, 6’3″, 295)
Corey Peters will be the senior leader on defense for the ‘Cats. He was voted permanent team captain, our President of the WHOMP! Squad as the Pinkie likes to call it, along with OL Zipp Duncan.
He is a steady performer who begins his third year as a starter, playing in 37 of 40 games in those three years.
Last season, he set career highs in tackles for loss (10) and sacks (4).
Ricky Lumpkin (JR, 6’4″, 294)
This junior could be ready for a breakout season, but the question remains, can he stay healthy? He was limited to just six games as a freshman by a recurring hip injury suffered initially during high school. He then missed two games last season and was limited all year by an ankle sprain.
Lumpkin has shown athletic ability and explosiveness as a reserve the last two seasons.
Mark Crawford (SO, 6’1″, 297)
Crawford is another Juco transfer. He comes to Lexington from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, and has three years of eligibility.
He is known for his high motor and ability to get off the ball. He had 8.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in eight games last season at Coffeyville
Shane McCord (JR, 6’2″, 282)
McCord has appeared in 16 games during first two seasons, but will he be able to step up with his expected extended playing time?
Also, look for walk-on Luke McDermott and Antwane Glenn to get a few snaps when needed.