Breakdown UK Signees: Defense

Justin Henderson

KSR takes a look at each defensive signee and their role early on in the program.

Donte Rumph - Rumph has signed with Kentucky three times now due to grades. Age wise, he's a junior, but football wise, he's going to be a freshman. So he will still go through a learning phase and growing pains. However, Rumph has the size and ability to become an instant contributor and possible starter along the defensive front. The 6-foot-3, 280 pounder should contribute early at defensive tackle. If he's eligible, Rumph will be a major cog in this class.

Timothy Patterson - Patterson was the subject of a recruiting war between Kentucky and his hometown Louisville Cardinals and with good reason. Patterson is one of the more talented prospects to come out of the state in a while. The question is his intensity and currently his health. Patterson could develop into a big fast defensive end prospect, but he could also become a middle linebacker. Patterson attacks the ball carrier aggressively and also has the quickness to play coverage at times. When Patterson gets to campus, he will bolster Kentucky's defense. Patterson will likely redshirt his freshman year at UK.

Jerrell Priester - Priester could play on both sides of the ball. He's set for cornerback currently, but he'll get some carries on offense. In Priester, the cornerback position will get a player with great quickness and outstanding straight ahead speed. He also packs a lot of power into his 5-foot-8 frame. Jerrell benches 315 pounds and has a 34 inch verticle to go with his sub 4.4 speed. Once he's in UK's conditioning program, he will be a dynamic prospect for Joker Phillips's Wildcats. Priester may redshirt next season, but if the staff believes he's able to play early, that may not be necessary due to his play making abilities.

Farrington Huguenin - Possibly the most underrated prospect in this Wildcat class, Huguenin has the body, speed and mindset to be an outstanding defensive player. He could line up at linebacker or at defensive end early in his career. There's a possibility that he could eventually become a defensive tackle as well. Huguenin has excellent straight line speed, and good instincts for the ball. He uses his tremendous size to weigh down smaller players and uses his quickness to get around bigger players. Huguenin is almost certainly going to redshirt as a freshman.

Michael Evans-Douglas - Evans-Douglas played at a high level of football in Florida and with added weight, he could be one of Kentucky's best pass rushers in recent memory. He already has good height and length, but he needs to add strength so he can take on the larger tackles and tight ends he'll face weekly. Still, Evans-Douglas could wind up playing early on as he's one of the best defensive ends in the class and Kentucky is looking for immediate help at the position. He is likely a redshirt, but if he shows he can impact early, he will get a chance to play.

Brice Laughlin - Like Rumph, Laughlin is a South Carolina native. Also like his counterpart, Laughlin is a big kid who could play early for the Cats. Brice stands 6-foot-3, 285 pounds and had the power and quickness on the line that Kentucky is looking for from their young prospects. Laughlin should get an opportunity early to earn playing time and add depth to Kentucky's defensive front. Laughlin could redshirt, but will likely get playing time early due to his skill and Kentucky's need for players at the position.

Dale Trimble - One of Kentucky's best signees, Dale Trimble could play early for Kentucky at cornerback. Kentucky is looking to replace one of the best corners to play at for UK in Trevard Lindley, and Trimble will have a chance to earn playing time early on. Trimble is naturally talented at coverage and does a good job breaking on the ball while it's in the air. He still needs to improve on run stopping, but Trimble could see early playing time as a nickel back or earn a starting role later in the season.

Nermin Delic - It's still unknown whether he'll be on the inside or the outside, but Nermin Delic, much like Justin Henderson, is a relentless prospect. Delic already has great size at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds. He played defensive end and tight end in high school and could contribute at either spot at Kentucky. But it appears he's headed for defense and with added weight, Delic could be a very good defensive tackle for the Wildcats. Delic may be one of the most physically ready players in the class and could play early on if he can add more strength during the off season.

Avery Williamson - Williamson could come in immediately and get playing time at middle linebacker. With the loss of Micah Johnson, there is quite a bit of uncertainty at the spot. Williamson has good size at 6-foot, 225 pounds and has great instincts for a linebacker. Williamson aggressively meets the ball carrier in the hole and uses great technique to bring down the carrier. Williamson is also a natural leader at the position, which is something that is necessary as a middle linebacker prospect. If Williamson can show that he can play important snaps as a freshman, he will likely get a chance to contribute, but a redshirt year wouldn't hurt him at all.

Jabari Johnson - Jabari Johnson is another prospect with a great combination of size (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) and speed (4.6 forty). Johnson can play any of the three linebacker positions for Kentucky. He excells at taking on the blocker and then exploding to the ball carrier to make a tackle. With significant losses at linebacker in Micah Johnson and Sam Maxwell, Johnson will have an early opportunity to play for the Wildcats. Much like Williamson, Johnson could benefit from a redshirt year, but he is already physically able to help the team. He will likely play early on special teams and situationally on defense.

Alvin Davis - Davis is another kid with great upside. His frame can easily carry more weight and with added strength Davis could be a pass rusher and a run stopper from the defensive end spot. Davis has a nose for the ball and is able to shed blockers and get to the ball carrier. He also aggressively brings down the ball carrier with solid tackling techniques. But still at 225 and with the level of competition he played in high school, Davis will likely be a redshirt as a freshman and will see more playing time as a redshirt sophomore.

Eric Simmons - Simmons is one of the best overall athletes in the class. And due to his speed (4.45) and his size (6-foot-1) he could play any number of positions in the defensive backfield. Eric is a late-comer to football as he just started playing after his sophmore year. Until now he's used his superior speed to make big plays on the defensive side of the ball, but he's learning the game at a high rate and has a very high ceiling. Simmons could play either corner, free safety or strong safety at the next level. He's likely going to be a redshirt as a freshman.

Tyler Robinson - Robinson is a kid with great size coming in as a freshman, weighing 255 pounds. But he has the frame to add even more strength. Robinson is a versatile prospect who excelled at tight end at the high school level and was solid as a defensive end. But he could also wind up playing guard on offense or defensive tackle on defense. Where ever Robinson lands, he'll be a contributor. He has good football IQ and his coaches say he never backs down from challenges. He'll redshirt as a freshman and get a look at several positions before settling in where the staff sees him as the best fit.

Malcolm McDuffen - McDuffen played defensive end quite a bit in high school and will now have to prepare to play outside linebacker at the college level. McDuffen like many prospects in the class, has a nose for the ball. He is able to use his leverage and his quickness to shed blockers and attack the ball carrier. Already 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, McDuffen could be a 240 pound outside linebacker by his junior season. He will redshirt as a freshman and play special teams early in his career before challenging for playing time on defense.

Joshua Gibbs - Gibbs has already made it to campus as he enrolled in January. Josh will make his presence known mostly on special teams, but with the loss of Ashton Cobb and Calvin Harrison at safety, Gibbs will have an opportunity to earn playing time at safety. Gibbs's strength is playing the run with his aggressive style. But he has the speed to cover running backs and slot receivers over the middle. Going through spring practice will give him a leg up on the incoming prospects and could show that he can play early for Kentucky.

Tim McAdoo - While Joker Phillips has stated that McAdoo is set to lineup on the offensive line, he was an excellent player at defensive tackle during his high school days. McAdoo could impact the defensive line early on with his explosiveness off the snap. McAdoo puts his whole body into tackles and once he gets the ball carrier in his grasp, he usually makes the tackle. McAdoo will get looks on both offense and defense before settling in anywhere. He is a likely redshirt as a freshman if he winds up on offense, but if he's on defense he may get an opportunity to play early.

Justin Henderson - After enrolling at UK in January, Justin Henderson will get a chance to participate in spring practice. That will give him an edge early on and he could be an early contributor at defensive end. He does need to gain strength, but already being on campus and working out, Henderson is ahead of the game in conditioning for a freshman. Henderson is a high energy kid with a streak of relentlessness. He should push for playing time this fall.

Mychal Bailey - Mychal Bailey is another versatile prospect that Kentucky has signed. He played linebacker for his junior college and defensive back in high school. He also returned kicks in JUCO as well. Bailey is going to get a look at strong safety for the Wildcats this fall and will play early. Bailey plays fast and he plays aggressively all the time. Even if Bailey doesn't crack the two deep rotation on defense, he will get an opportunity on special teams where he could be a difference maker in kick coverage, replacing Alfonso Smith's role.


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