After Jason Hatcher missed Kentucky's Media Day Friday, there was speculation that thr junior defensive end might be facing a suspension.
Head coach Mark Stoops was adamant that Hatcher’s absence from Media Day was not indicative of his status with the team. On Saturday, Stoops changed his tone by announcing Hatcher will be suspended for the first two games of the season following a violation of team rules.
Stoops did not elaborate on exactly what the violation was, but mentioned that he had otherwise put himself in a position to help the team out on the field this year. After all, he is the team's best pass-rusher and arguably best overall defensive player.
The former Trinity High alum and four-star recruit has started six games and made 47 tackles, 8.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks in his first two seasons. Hatcher was previously suspended as a freshman in 2013 for another violation of team rules. He also was cited for pot possession last year
Making matters worse is Hatcher’s primary backup, redshirt freshman Kobie Walker, will also likely miss the first two or three games of the season due to injury. The former three-star recruit out of Good Counsel (MD) was expected to be a significant contributor at outside backer after the Cats lost Za'Darius Smith, Bud Dupree and TraVaughn Paschal to graduation.
With Hatcher and Walker out for the first couple of games, Stoops said that they would have to move some pieces around to make up for their losses. The Cats' first two games of the season are Louisiana-Lafayette and at South Carolina.
Jason Hatcher's suspension untimely and unfortunate. Accountability must be enforced. Next man up. Highly disappointing.— Freddie Maggard (@FredMaggard) August 8, 2015
Mark Stoops clarified in a call that he wasn’t trying to mislead about Hatcher suspension Friday, just wasn’t sure how long it would be for.— Jen Smith (@jenheraldleader) August 8, 2015
It was a university sanctioned suspension, which means Stoops had to wait for clarification to find out how many games it would be.— Jen Smith (@jenheraldleader) August 8, 2015