Kentucky Wildcats College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense was fine. It had problems with Alabama, Ole Miss and Florida, but so did everyone else. Those three games blew out the curve for the overall numbers, but the pass rush was a problem throughout the season. On the plus side, no one in the SEC did a better job of taking the ball away, and the D held six teams to 21 points or fewer. But …
– There are a whole lot of massive losses, starting with a linebacking corps that has to replace first round draft pick Jamin Davis and hybrid pass rusher Boogie Watson.
DeAndre Square is a good one – he finished third on the team with 60 stops – Jordan Wright made 45 tackles on the outside, Ole Miss transfer Jacquez Jones is an SEC veteran who knows how to thump, and there’s plenty of size ready to rotate in.
The D line loses massive Quinton Bohanna at tackle, but Marquan McCall is a 6-3, 379-pound true anchor for the position. The pass rush has to show up from somewhere, and 6-3, 278-pound Josh Paschal has to be more of a factor behind the line.
– The secondary lost Kelvin Joseph to the Dallas Cowboys and Brandin Echols to the New York Jets, but Yusef Corker is one of the best all-around safeties in the SEC, Tyrell Aijan is a good tackler, and there’s a little experience at corner, starting with Cedrick Dort. Now this group needs help from a pass rush that wasn’t there in 2020.