Even during the program's toughest times, the Kentucky Wildcats have annually had some studs at the linebacker position.
Wesley Woodyard, Micah Johnson, Sam Maxwell, Avery Williamson, Danny Trevathan, Bud Dupree and most recently Josh Forrest have all starred at UK. The latter of which just graduated along with several other talented backers, so Mark Stoops and co. were quick to ensure this position was bolstered via the 2016 class.
That came in the form of early commitments from Jamar 'Boogie' Watson and Roland Walder. Watson committed to UK back in August, while Walder gave his pledge way back in October of 2014. Those two will give UK some much-needed depth while also competing for playing time as true freshman.
Here are their UK profiles and high school highlights:
Jamar Boogie Watson, Linebacker, 6-3, 225, Fr.-HS, Forestville, Md. (Bishop McNamara) A three-star recruit who ranks as a top 100 outside linebacker by Scout despite not playing football until his junior year of high school ... Dual sport athlete in basketball and football ... Came on the recruiting scene after a great junior season which saw him chart 74 tackles and a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown ... As a senior, he helped lead the Mustangs to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference playoff berth for the first time in five years with 59 tackles, including five sacks and two interceptions, one he returned 68 yards for a touchdown ... Coached by Keith Goganious ... As standout basketball player, he also received several college scholarship offers after averaging 11.4 points during his junior year ... Earned back-to-back MVP honors at Bishop McNamara in basketball ... Chose UK after receiving football offers from Old Dominion, Miami (Ohio), Boston College, Hampton, Virginia and Rutgers.
Roland Walder, Linebacker, 6-3, 215, Fr.-HS, Dayton, Ohio (Trotwood-Madison) Ranked the No. 29 inside linebacker nationally and the No. 32 prospect overall in Ohio, according to the 247Sports ... Rated the No. 40 middle backer nationally by Rivals ... An all-around athlete, playing wide receiver as well ... Named Southwest Ohio Division III Defensive Player of the Year and was a first-team all-state selection after an impressive senior season that saw him record 62 tackles, including seven sacks ... Offensively, he had 16 receptions for 280 yards and three touchdowns ... Had a great junior season with 92 tackles and three forced fumbles ... Helped Trotwood-Madison advance to at least the state semifinals all four years of his prep career ... Three-year starter for Coach Jeff Graham ... Reunites with high school teammate Kei Beckham ... Chose UK over offers from Nebraska, Purdue, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Bowling Green, Pittsburgh and Toledo.