August 22, 2014

UK expecting to play nine true freshmen in 2014

Kentucky plans to use its full complement of freshman wide receivers this season, but it'll be without a sophomore at the start.

Sophomore wide receiver Jeff Badet will miss at least the first two games of the season with an eye injury, head coach Mark Stoops said Friday.

"I hope (he's back) right after that, yeah," Stoops said. "It is getting better. It's not as bad as it could have been, and it's getting better. From what I understand, these injuries take some time, and we have to be very careful with that, that that type of injury."

Badet and Alex Montgomery -- who's still recovering from surgery for an ACL injury that ended his 2013 season -- are the only Wildcats expected to miss the opener due to injury, Stoops said.

But Kentucky will have options at wide receiver.

Stoops said that UK intends to play rather than redshirt all of its freshman wide receivers. The Cats have five scholarship freshman wideouts -- Dorian Baker, Blake Bone, Garrett Johnson, Thaddeus Snodgrass and T.V. Williams, and offensive coordinator Neal Brown has said he expects freshman walk-on Charles Walker to play.

"Obviously, we've had some wideouts that are beat up a little bit and we recruited those guys to play," Brown said Friday. "That was a position of need, so we are. A couple of them may be in a position to start, we'll see."

Wide receiver isn't the only spot where Kentucky will count on freshman contributions.

Stoops said on Friday that freshman running backs Mikel Horton and Stanley Williams both will play this season rather than redshirt.

On defense, tackle Matt Elam and nickel back Kendall Randolph will play this season, Stoops said.

"With (Lloyd) Tubman and some of the other guys, right now they won't play," Stoops said. "We'll redshirt them if we can. We'll see how they progress. He had a little injury and missed about three, four, five days right in the middle of camp there. Didn't help his situation."

Among the freshmen Stoops intends to redshirt is quarterback Drew Barker, whom Brown said won't play "in a perfect world" with redshirt sophomore Patrick Towles wining the starting job.

"I think that would be in his best interest and our best interest," Stoops said. "We'll see how that goes. He will prepare to play in a backup role, and if we can save him through the season that's what we'd like to do." is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
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