After a 10-3 season, the Kentucky Wildcats have a lot of work to do in replacing guys who made that memorable season possible.
Many of Kentucky’s biggest losses were on the defensive side of the ball, including outside linebacker Josh Allen, arguably the greatest pass-rusher in program history. No one player is going to emulate what Allen did in 2018 while winning multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards.
But it would certainly help if the Wildcats had a former top-100 recruit at his position, and it sounds like they could get just that for next season.
Earlier this week, Florida State Seminoles linebacker Xavier Peters announced he was transferring to Kentucky. The former four-star recruit was Rivals’ 75th-ranked recruit in the Class of 2018.
Normally, NCAA transfer rules would force Peters to sit out one season with his new team, meaning he wouldn’t be eligible to play until the 2020 season.
However, the NCAA has become very lenient when it comes to granting immediate eligibility to players looking for new homes, and they may do the same for Peters.
During a Friday appearance on KSR, UK recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow suggested that Paters could be eligible for the 2019 season, which would be a massive boost to the Wildcats’ defense.
“There is a very, very strong possibility that he’ll be eligible this season,” Marrow told KSR. “He’ll be a freshman.”
Marrow even went on to say Peters has the potential to be like Allen.
Ironically, Florida State was counting on Peters to help replace star pass-rusher Brian Burns, who was a first-round pick of the Panthers in the 2019 NFL Draft. Instead, he could be helping Kentucky replace ‘some’ of the production lost by Allen, who was a first-round pick of the Jaguars.
Peters will actually be a redshirt freshman in 2019 after playing in just two games last season, so he’d have a year of development under his belt.
Still, I wouldn’t get my hopes up on seeing Peters next season unless he has some kind of situation we don’t know about that would compel the NCAA to grant him a waiver, especially after seeing what’s happened with former UK recruit James Hudson at Cincinnati.