With the increase in the quality of Mark Stoops and his staff’s recruiting over the last few years, we’re starting to see the results shine through.
This season has been a great one for the true freshman. Being able to come in and make an immediate impact is impressive, especially with all of the talent the Cats had heading into the season.
247 just dropped their Midseason True Freshman All-American Team, and three Cats were on it; Dane Key, Barion Brown, and Deone Walker.
Each of these players has had their own special moment this season and deserves to be on this list now and hopefully at the end of the year.
The deep threat has been vital to UK’s success on offense this year, and Dane Key is the reason.
“One of two first-year standouts at receiver for Kentucky this year, Dane Key has quickly made a name as a big-play threat. He’s had catches of at least 19 yards in half of Kentucky’s games this year, and he leads all Wildcat starters with 16.1 yards per catch. Key has caught 20 passes for 322 yards and 3 touchdowns.”
It’s going to be fun watching Barion Brown over the next few seasons, considering teams are already scared to kick him the ball.
“The other standout true freshman receiver for Kentucky, Brown, has flashed brightly with 24 catches for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Wildcats want to get the ball in Brown’s hands, and they’ve manufactured a lot of plays to do so. There’s a reason for that: He’s electric in the open field. We’ve seen that as a kickoff returner. Brown has averaged 43.29 yards per attempt as a kick returner and returned one for a touchdown.”
Deone Walker has shown he was ready to battle with the big boys in the trenches despite just being 18 years old.
“A hulking figure at 6-foot-6, 330 pounds, Walker has shown to be rather deft for his size. He’s been a consistent force with 14 pressures this season, which ranks third among all interior defenders in the SEC. Overall, Walker has 17 tackles and a 75.4 PFF College grade.”
This team’s young talent has really come a long way, and there’s still half a season to show more.