Breaking Down the Depth Chart Pt 4

Lindley returns to lead Wildcat defense.

Kentucky may have one of the best defensive backfields in the SEC this year, lead by senior all-everything corner Trevard Lindley. However it doesn't stop with Lindley. There are several experienced pieces to that puzzle.

Kentucky may have one of the best defensive backfields in the SEC this year, lead by senior all-everything corner Trevard Lindley. However it doesn't stop with Lindley. There are several experienced pieces to that puzzle.

Strong Safety
The Candidates
Matt Lentz 6-3 225 So.
Ashton Cobb 6-0 215 Sr.
Greg Wilson 6-1 210 So.

Kentucky has managed to keep it's top players at safety intact for the last few years and the unit has become one of the strong points on the team. Lentz and Cobb have all seen significant action on the field in their time at Kentucky.

One of the biggest surprises coming out of last year's fall camp was Matt Lentz, a former quarterback, turned safety. Lentz is a strong safety who's not afraid to get his hands dirty. A big hitter, Lentz made some of the more memorable tackles from last season. Lentz will see a lot of snaps and very well may be the starter at strong safety when the season begins.

Possibly the most talented of the strong safeties is Ashton Cobb. Cobb is known for big hits and strong play against the run, but his off the field struggles have given him a lot of ground to make up. May Kentucky teams of the past would have Cobb written in stone as a starter at strong safety. That shows how far the Wildcats have come.

Another contender for the strong safety spot is sophomore Greg Wilson. Wilson has the build and the speed to attack the run as well as defend the pass. Wilson played well in the spring, culminating with a seven tackle effort in the Blue-White game. While he'll likely remain a backup to Lentz and Cobb, he will get time on special teams or if there are injuries.

Final Analysis
Strong safety is one of the deepest positions on the roster with experienced and talented players. Any of the three players listed could find themselves on the field during crunch time and there would be no drop-off. Expect Lentz to start, but both Cobb and Wilson will play.

Free Safety
The Candidates
Winston Guy 6-3 220 So.
Calvin Harrison 6-1 210 Sr.
Taiedo Smith 6-0 190 So.

The loss of Marcus McClinton's experience could sting a little, however one of the most talented players on the roster, Winston Guy, will step into his shoes. Additionally there are solid players with experience behind Guy as well.

Winston Guy is among the fastest players on the roster and is a big hitter and a big time athlete overall. You can likely pencil him in as the starting free-safety and with his abilities, he'll be a factor against the opposing offenses running and passing game. Guy will also return kicks, a skill that he showed last season.

Quietly becoming one of the most consistent players on the defense, Calvin Harrison enters his senior season in a familiar role. Harrison has played both safety positions and is likely to do so this year as well. While it is likely that Guy will be the starter, Harrison playing significant snaps wouldn't be surprising.

Taiedo Smith played at corner last season, but moved to free safety this spring. With his speed and ability to make up ground, Smith should be a quality backup this year.

Final Analysis
Winston Guy has likely cemented his place as the starter at free-safety. Overall there is speed and experience available there and Kentucky will benefit from both of those qualities in their safeties.

Cornerback
The Candidates
Trevard Lindley 6-0 190 Sr.
Randall Burden 6-0 180 So.
Paul Warford 5-10 200 Jr.
Martavious Neloms 6-1 180 Fr.
Cartier Rice 5-10 185 R-Fr.

Yet another strong point for this roster is the corner position. There is experience, speed, and young talent playing corner this season. Led by one of the best corners in the country, Trevard Lindley, this unit may be the best group on the team.

Lindley is a lock-down corner who's willing to make plays in the running game as well. At times he's has been so good in practice that he gets bored. He's a scoring threat anytime he gets his hands on the ball, and that's a possibility whenever the opposing quarterback tests him.

In the same mold as Lindley is Randall Burden. Burden plays a very similarly smooth game at corner, but will get his hands dirty on the tackle. He's played well enough to be the corner opposite of Lindley when Kentucky takes the field against Miami. After his performance in the bowl game last season and his efforts in the Blue-White game he's carved out a place in the lineup.

Former starter Paul Warford has also made his presence known this season. Warford started opposite Lindley before sitting out last season. While not as long as Lindley, Warford is a strong and aggressive corner who makes plays against the run, but also can cover a second receiver with no problems. He's battling Randall Burden for the second receiver spot.

Surprisingly, one of the younger, less heralded players has made a name for himself in fall camp. Martavious Neloms has made been a pleasant surprise. His aggressive nature and his speed has given him the opportunity to play early and not redshirt. If he continues to improve, a starting role won't be far behind.

After redshirting last season, Cartier Rice appears ready to play this season. A pure cover corner, he will have to work on his strength and tackling. Expected to be solid contributor early on he will likely be a player on the special teams unit.

Final Analysis
Most quarterbacks won't have a lot of success against Lindley and company unless they get too much time to throw. Either way, this is one of the best groups of corners in the SEC, which is surprising considering none of them were highly touted from high school. Expect Lindley and Burden to be starters and Warford to be the nickel back.


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