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Keaton Upshaw’s return adds significant boost to Kentucky offense

The tight end who many thought could break out last year now has a chance to shine.

Keaton Upsdhaw Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

Last summer, there were a lot of whispers around the Kentucky Wildcats football program about a player on the verge of having a breakout season. With a new offensive system in place and a great set of physical tools, this player was sure to turn heads the upcoming season.

That player was Keaton Upshaw, the tight end from Lima, Ohio. Sadly, Upshaw suffered a season-ending injury before the season got underway and wasn’t able to have the breakout season many had expected.

But now, nearly a year removed from the injury, Upshaw has the chance to turn heads this upcoming season, this time with Rich Scangarello at the helm of the Kentucky offense.

Keaton Upshaw

  • Position: Tight end
  • Class: Redshirt Senior
  • Measurements: 6-foot-6, 246 lbs.
  • Hometown: Lima, Ohio
  • School: Lima Senior
  • Recruiting Rankings: Was ranked as a 3-star recruit and the No. 34 tight end in the country by 247 Sports Composite.

Upshaw has the look of an NFL tight end, standing at 6-foot-6 and 246 pounds, who can catch the ball and turn up field, creating mismatches for opposing defenses.

In his 2020 sophomore campaign, Upshaw showed glimpses of the player he could be, totaling 16 catches for 193 yards and three touchdowns.

And going into 2021 with an NFL-style offense, a lot of people liked what Upshaw could do in the new offense.

This year, that belief should remain.

With Scangarello leading the offense and coming from the 49ers, one can look at the production San Francisco had from their tight end group, which was led by All-Pro George Kittle.

Scangarello was part of a staff in San Francisco that truly valued the tight end position and moved their tight ends all around the field to create mismatches with their size and speed.

I expect Scangarello to do the same with Upshaw and Kentucky’s other tight ends this fall. Upshaw will be one of several talented tight ends on the Kentucky roster this season, which includes fellow senior Brendan Bates, Jordan Dingle, and Izayah Cummings, who moved from wide receiver to tight end last year, in part due to Upshaw’s injury.

Kentucky will use some two tight end sets this year, and expect to see Upshaw be a key part of that.

While a lot of the offseason discussion has focused on replacing the production of Wan’Dale Robinson, which is absolutely valid and will not come easy, Will Levis will certainly be glad to have a tight end like Upshaw on the roster to make his life easier.

Don’t be too surprised if Upshaw ends up as an All-SEC tight end when the season is over.

Most importantly, Upshaw has been a tremendous teammate and a great representation of UK. Upshaw has been the roommate of linebacker Chris Oats, who suffered a career-ending stroke in the summer of 2020.

To help out, Upshaw created a GoFundMe page that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help pay for Oats’ medical bills, which you can help by donating to here.