Going into this spring practice, one thing was very clear: Mark Stoops and Brad White needed to find some answers in the secondary.
With a few weeks of spring ball now under their belt, it appears two former Class of 2020 recruits have their sights set on being solid contributors to the Kentucky Wildcats’ defense this season. Those players are Andru Phillips and Joel Williams.
For Phillips, the former 3-star recruit is looking to land a starting corner position alongside Carrington Valentine, and he is impressing the coaching staff early this spring.
“I’m pleased with Dru (Phillips),” said Mark Stoops. “Dru has really stepped up and made some good plays on the football. And we didn’t have him a whole lot last year.”
Phillips missed all of spring practice and some of last season due to a reported off-campus fight.
For Williams, his role has just expanded in the coming days after an injury to Vito Tisdale has thinned out the safety room.
Vito is well known across the Big Blue Nation for his impressive hits out of the nickelback position, and Williams seems to be the leader to take over that spot this season.
“He was a guy that was taking on that, what we call the medium position, the nickel position on first, second down, and 11 personnel and spread sets,” Stoops said about Williams. “He’s doing a really good job at that position.”
Just like Phillips, Williams missed some time last season due to the off-campus fight incident.
Now, it is expected that this staff will be active in the transfer portal to help shore up the depth in the secondary, especially at the corner position. But with injuries to Tisdale while Taj Dodson is not participating in spring practice, don’t be shocked to see Stoops and White also look at potential safety options as well.
For the time being though it is looking like Phillips and Williams will both be major contributors to the defense this season, and it’s good to hear they are both impressing early this spring as they try to lock up starting spots.