Not long after the official announcement came, head coach Mark Stoops met with the media and gave several key updates on his team.
The first was opt-out decisions, as players across the sport are announcing they won’t play in their respective teams’ bowl games. However, Kentucky has not had a player opt-out of the bowl game, yet, according to Stoops. The Cats have practiced the last two days, so for now, it looks like everyone who is healthy will be playing in Jacksonville.
Thus far, the only Wildcat to opt-out was cornerback Kelvin Joseph, who left the team prior to their matchup with South Carolina in the regular-season finale.
Will anyone else join Joseph in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Stoops revealed that Kentucky has submitted paperwork for five juniors to the draft advisory board. He did not say who the players are, but the most important is right tackle Darian Kinnard, who could be a Day 2/3 pick if he enters the draft.
Stoops did say that Kinnard has not made up his mind on if he’ll leave for the pros or return for a senior season. One could surmise the feedback Kinnard gets from the advisory board will play a big part in his final decision.
Other notable juniors who could consider going to the NFL include running back Chris Rodriguez Jr., defensive end Joshua Paschal, linebacker Deandre Square, defensive tackle Marquan McCall, safety Yusuf Corker and linebacker Jamin Davis. Getting most, if not all of these guys back would be massive for the 2021 Cats.
As for who will be calling plays for the offense in the bowl game, Stoops said that, for now, tight ends coach Vince Marrow is calling the plays.
Stoops said Vince Marrow is "handling the offense" for right now. He has his hands "on the controllers." Mark Perry will be elevated to help with the QBs and game-planning.— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) December 20, 2020
Marrow, the heartbeat of Kentucky’s recruiting efforts under Stoops, is already a beloved figure in Lexington. If he can call an effective game plan on offense that helps Kentucky beat a top-25 NC State in the Gator Bowl, he’ll reach legendary status, if he hasn’t already.
Live Now: Coach Stoops and Players - TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Press Conference https://t.co/X6xNDArhMB— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) December 20, 2020