SIGNING DAY: LB/ST Breakdown

Have the Wildcats addressed the needs at each respective position? In part 4 of 5 we break down the linebackers and special teams.


Linebackers
The need: critical

With the uncertainty of some of the Wildcat returnees currently rumored to be possibly looking to transfer, UK has to be careful with how they utilize their scholarships at linebacker. Several top names remain on the board and the Wildcats appear to have added some importance to the middle linebacker position in preparation for some sort of shift. The outside linebacker position was filled up nicely with two converted speedy safeties Antonio Thomas (6-3, 190, 4.5) and 2006 signee Chris Drayton (6-3, 205, 4.45). If anything else, if these two can get into the weight room with a redshirt year, the lack of speed at linebacker will be thrown out the window. Additionally, down the stretch UK added Tallahassee (Fla.) LB Ronnie Sneed (6-1, 235, 4.5) and River Ridge (La.) LB Jacob Dufrene (6-1, 208, 4.6). Dufrene could end up at Defensive End, but Sneed is already markered in at middle linebacker at the next level. Both are solid late additions for the staff.

The Future: The 'Cats needed to upgrade the speed at this position and did so quite eloquently to say the least by adding safety converts Drayton and Thomas. The future looks bright if Brandon Thurmond can break through and take the place of Wesley Woodyard in years to come. 2009 and beyond, the staff is going to have to find some headhunters.

2007 LB Depth Chart: Woodyard (SR), McGrath (Rs. JR), Jo. Williams (JR), Kelley (JR), Mabry (Rs. SO), Bates (Rs. SO), M. Johnson (SO), Maxwell (SO), Thurmond (Rs. FR)


Kicker/Punter
The need: questionable

Kentucky decided it needed a specialist and added Ryan Tydlacka (5'9, 165, K/P), a two-time All-State punter from Trinity in Louisville. Tydlacka should compete for a starting spot with Tim Masthay next year at some point, be it fall or spring 2008.

The Future: This is one area where UK's future looks the brightest. Seiber was decent, but not spectacular his freshmen year, but should be fine after another year of fine-tuning. Tydlacka will compete with Masthay for punting duties, but don't be surprised if Tydlacka is grayshirted or redshirted in preparation for Masthay's departure as a senior in a few years. Regardless when UK enrolls 'Ty' they'll be getting an excellent backup for the future.

2007 K/P Depth Chart: Seiber (SO), Masthay (JR)


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