Not only will the Kentucky Wildcats be getting two key members of their offense back in 2021 in Justin Rigg and Josh Ali, but three of their top defenders also announced they’ll return to Lexington in 2021.
Inside linebacker DeAndre Square, defensive back Davonte Robinson and defensive end Josh Paschal all took to Twitter to pledge their return to Kentucky for 2021 shortly after defeating North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl Saturday.
Davonte Robinson back! Another big return for UK as the Lexington native returns pic.twitter.com/8Vnwe9v8R3— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) January 2, 2021
Square returns for his senior season at UK after recording 60 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, forcing a fumble and defending a pass as a junior in 2020.
Robinson will be a sixth-year senior in 2021 after missing the entire 2019 season with a quad injury. He made 27 total tackles this past season, with two coming for a loss.
Paschal will be a fifth-year senior after being held to three games in 2018 after a battle with melanoma. In 2020, he returned to his natural defensive end position after playing outside linebacker in 2019. He recorded 32 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, one sack and grabbed an interception that he returned 76 yards.
While Square Robinson and Paschal will all return, it does not appear Jamar “Boogie Watson” will be back in 2021. He took to Twitter to thank the Big Blue Nation for a “helluva ride.”
From watching us lose the Taxslayer bowl in 2016 as a redshirt to winning the Taxslayer bowl in the final game of my UK career. Been a helluva ride BBN. Thank you. -31 pic.twitter.com/ZWsTZTYVUn— BOOGIE (@JamarW31) January 2, 2021
If Watson’s time at UK is indeed over, he will finish his college career with 18.5 sacks, 28.5 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception. He finished 2020 ranked fourth in the SEC in tackles for loss (10).
Mark Stoops has already said fixing UK’s pass rush is a big focus this offseason, and that will be even more challenging with Watson heading out.
UK will now await word on NFL Draft decisions from several key juniors, including All-American offensive tackle Darian Kinnard, 2020 leading rusher Chris Rodriguez Jr., and inside linebacker Jamin Davis, who led the team in tackles.