After a knee injury wiped out most of Naasir Watkins’ 2020 season, his 2021 campaign is already off to a rough start.
On Monday during his pre-Louisiana Monroe press conference, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops was asked about the status of Watkins, arguably the best offensive lineman coming off the bench for the Cats.
As it turns out, Watkins is 100% healthy but serving a four-game suspension to begin the 2021 season. Stoops did not reveal what led to the suspension.
Watkins, a redshirt senior, has been getting regular playing time along the Cats’ offensive line since he made his debut in 2018 as a redshirt freshman when he filled in for the injured Landon Young.
Initially, Watkins was expected to challenge for the starting left tackle spot this season, but that was before the team added LSU transfer Dare Rosenthal. Still, with all the attention going toward Rosenthal and Darian Kinnard at offensive tackle, having a guy like Watkins in the bullpen if either starter goes down would be a nice luxury.
Now, that won’t be possible for at least the first four weeks of the regular season.
In Watkins’ place are Deondre Buford and Jeremy Flax in terms of the backup tackles.