The Kentucky Wildcats only have a couple of question marks heading into the 2020 football season—wide receiver and inside linebacker.
Just a few short months ago, the Cats looked solid at linebacker, returning almost every starter on the inside and outside. However, that changed quickly when Chris Oats was ruled out with an unknown injury/ailment.
Now, Kentucky is going to have to rely on guys with less experience and talent than Oats to take his place.
However, the good news is that DeAndre Square is back for his junior season and he’s ready to absolutely dominate.
- Position: Inside Linebacker
- Class: Junior
- Measurements: 6-1, 217 lbs.
- Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
- School: Cass Tech
- Recruit Rankings: No. 544 nationally, No. 37 S via 247 Sports Composite Rankings
- Jersey Number: Square announced this summer he was switching to No. 5 for his junior season. He was previously No. 17.
Notice how Square was listed as a safety coming out of high school. Despite the fact that he played linebacker, he weighed less than 200 pounds, so some recruiting services just assumed he would make the switch.
Well, that clearly wasn’t what Mark Stoops had planned. Square picked the Cats over offers from the Arizona Wildcats, Cincinnati Bearcats, Iowa Hawkeyes, LSU Tigers, and Michigan State Spartans, among others. So, regardless of his skinny frame, many top schools realized his potential.
Moreover, the former three-star prospect helped start the Kentucky pipeline into the state of Michigan, which has now seen the Cats land five-star Justin Rogers; four-stars Jeremy Flax and Marquan McCall; and high three-stars Deondre Buford and Earnest Sanders IV.
So, while his presence has clearly helped off the field, let’s see what he’s done on the field. His talent was clear from the start as Square played in all 13 games as a true freshman, including getting his first career start in the Citrus Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
His play earned him First Team Freshman All-Sec after totaling 35 tackles, 3.5 TFL, three quarterback hurries (QBH), one sack, one PBU, and one forced fumble.
The player Kentucky can least afford to lose in 2020 is DeAndre Square. From several conversations he seems poised to have a really big year and is going to need to play an awful lot.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) August 3, 2020
It’s obvious why everyone was high on Square going into his sophomore campaign, and rightfully so. He started in all 12 games he played in (missed UT-Martin due to injury), coming in second on the team in tackles with 69 behind only Yusuf Corker.
He also had four TFL, 1.5 sacks, three QBHs, one PBU, one interception, and one forced fumble. While totaling 11 tackles and his first career interception against the Toledo Rockets, Square became the first UK player with at least 10 tackles, a half sack, one TFL, and an interception since Josh Forrest in 2015.
What makes Square so special isn’t his size or strength, but rather it’s his speed, quickness, versatility, and ability to read the play. Plays like this show you why he’s so important.
Square has worked his way into the NFL Draft discussion, which possibly means this could be his last season in Lexington. He’s put on a lot of good weight this offseason and he’s looking more and more the part of a high-caliber SEC and potential NFL linebacker.
He is pivotal to Kentucky’s success this year as the leader in the middle. He appears poised for a monster season, as he tries to increase his production and help replace some of Oats’. Square is a special player, but he’s just getting started.