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UK Wildcats Football: Steve Clinkscale to return for 2018 season

Clinkscale’s contract was set to expire June 30, but UK officials have confirmed he will return in 2018.

After announcing that wide receivers coach Lamar Thomas was being let go, UK officials confirmed that defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale would be returning to the team in 2018. Jon Hale first had the report in the Courier-Journal.

Clinkscale’s contract was set to expire on June 30. While a new contract has yet to be signed, Clinkscale will return next season.

Clinkscale joined Stoops’s staff just before the beginning of the 2016 season after holding posts at Cincinnati, Illinois, Toledo, and Western Carolina. Under Clinkscale, UK’s pass defense has fallen from 28th in the country prior to his arrival to 103rd this past season in Clinkscale’s second with the team.

Clinkscale has had two seasons working with the likes of Chris Westry, Derrick Baity, Mike Edwards, and Darius West (who were the core of that 28th ranked pass defense as freshmen) and seeing Kentucky’s ranking in that category drop has brought some heavy criticism, especially this past season.

However, Clinkscale has had some major successes as a recruiter, particularly in Michigan. He landed the commitment of four-star lineman (and early signee for the 2018 class) Marquan McCall and three-star outside linebacker DeAndre Square, another 2018 early enrollee. He’s also the lead recruiter on several top Michigan prospects in the 2019 and 2020 classes.

Stoops, who has taken an active role coaching the secondary and was a defensive backs coach before taking the Kentucky job, hopes to see improvement in next year’s secondary.

In addition to bringing back Clinkscale, Stoops is expected to use the new 10th assistant position (per NCAA rule change) to hire another defensive coach, presumably to have one coach dedicated to the safeties and another for the cornerbacks.

Hopefully this coming season, we will see some improvements to Kentucky’s pass defense. But if the numbers continue trending downward, this may be a short-term extension for Clinkscale.