As expected, the offensive line consists of left tackle Landon Young, right guard Luke Fortner and right tackle Darian Kinnard. Young missed all of last season with a knee injury, which led to Kinnard spending much of his freshman season there. Now that Young is healthy, he’s back to his old spot while Kinnard moves over to the right side.
As for Fortner, he replaces the departed Bunchie Stallings at right guard. Fortner has had extensive playing time over the last two years off the bench, so he should be ready to make this a seamless transition.
At wide receiver, Kentucky is going with a four-man lineup of Josh Ali, Allen Dailey, Lynn Bowden and Bryce Oliver. Ali and Bowden are the most tenured of the group as juniors, while Dailey and Oliver are second-year players.
As running back, AJ Role leads the way with Kavosiey Smoke and Chris Rodriguez battling for the No. 2 spot. Expect to see a good amount of both guys in Week 1 as one of them looks to separate as the clear-cut No. 2 back behind Rose.
At linebacker DeAndre Square is the starting weakside backer with Chris Oats as his backup. Both players shined as true freshmen in 2018, and I’d expect them each to play a significant amount of snaps this year. looks for Oats to get snaps on the weaksider and in the middle when Kash Daniel needs a breather.
After a long battle in spring football and training camp, Joshua Paschal has won the starting defensive end/outside linebacker spot over Jordan Wright, Paschal has been working his way back to 100% while undergoing treatment for the melanoma on his foot. He recently had his final treatment.
Kentucky is still waiting on a ruling from the NCAA on Xavier Peters, which is why he’s currently not listed on the two-deep depth chart.
The secondary will consist of redshirt freshman Jamari Brown and sophomore Cedrick Dort as the starting boundary corners with sophomore Tyrell Ajian at the nickel. Junior college transfer Brandin Echols will be Dort’s backup for the time being, but I’d expect Echols to eventually have a significant role in this secondary. An injury in training camp prevented him from making a serious push for a starting job.
Senior Jordan Griffin and sophomore Yusuf Corker are the starting safeties. Though Griffin is a senior, he’s spent most of his career coming off the bench, so this will be his first chance to show what he’s made of as a full-time starter.
As for Corker, the former four-star recruit has a lot of potential, but he’s one of the most inexperienced players in a very inexperienced secondary, as is the case with Brown, who had a strong showing in training camp to win his starting role.
Finally, Chance Poore is the starting kicker after rarely seeing the field as a true freshman in 2018. He ended up playing in three games and was able to redshirt. Kicking was a major weakness at times last year, mostly with Grant McKinnis, so hopefully Poore will bring more consistency this year.