2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 49 Kentucky Wildcats
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Kentucky Wildcats
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No. 49: Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky Wildcats Prespring Status
Finally, Kentucky came up with the season everyone’s been waiting for out of Mark Stoops. It took three years, and then he not only produced a winning record, but the Wildcats were really and truly still in the hunt for the SEC title in November. The loss to Georgia Tech to end the season took some of the fizzle out of the fun, but with seven wins, a victory at Louisville, and a bowl game, it was a big step forward. Now UK and Stoops have to not only do it again, but do it even better.
The dynamic offense that was so dangerous on the ground might have to replace the flash at running back, but eight starters are back. The defense that was good enough to get by last season should be even stronger, with nine starters back including almost all of the key backups.
Kentucky Wildcats Biggest Issue
Just how much will the loss of Boom Williams matter? The team’s leading rusher came up with 1,170 yards and seven scores, averaging almost seven yards per pop for the season with a few massive performances early on. The bigger loss, though, is in the middle, where C Jon Toth was an all-star who led the strong year from the line. However …
Kentucky Wildcats Biggest Positive
The offense isn’t going to miss Williams, and four starters are back on the line. Jojo Kemp is gone, too, but Benjamin Snell turned into the main man for long stretches last year – running for 13 touchdowns – and QB Stephen Johnson was fantastic in several shootouts. With every wide receiver and tight end returning – other than Ryan Timmons and his 23 catches – the offense should explode.
Really, Why Are The Kentucky Wildcats Ranked Here?
It’s not just the offense that should be even better; the defense returns loaded, too. The Cats get back the top four tacklers and seven of the top nine, including top pass rushers Josh Allen from the linebacking corps and Denzil Ware from the line. Experience-wise, few teams in the country get back as many starters – now the expectations will be there to be an even more dangerous fighter in the SEC chase.