Game week is here, but we still don’t have an official ruling on the status of Kentucky Wildcats running back Chris Rodriguez.
As you may know, Rodriguez is expected to be suspended 3-4 games for an unknown issue, Also, word of a one-game suspension for outside linebacker Jordan Wright came just last week via KSR.
Today, Kentucky released its first depth chart of the 2022 season, which did not include Rodriguez or Wright, a pretty clear sign they won’t play this week.
However, head coach Mark Stoops did not have an official announcement on player suspensions during his season-opening press conference. All Stoops said was that Kentucky expects to have a few players suspended for multiple games, and he should have more details next week ahead of the showdown with Florida.
Stoops cited player privacy as part of why he’s not ready to make an announcement.
“I just have to say that these players have some rights as well, and I have to be very conscientious of that,” Stoops said of the pending suspensions. “I expect a few of them will have multiple game suspensions, but I don’t know. I’ll address it next week. I expect maybe one of them will be back next week. We’ll see how that goes.”
The one player Stoops expects back next week could be Wright since KSR reported he’s facing just a one-game suspension.
While not ideal, Kentucky football is on a level we’ve rarely, if ever seen. In addition to stars like Rodriguez and Wright, Kentucky also has high-level backups that can be solid SEC starters.
In the case of Rodriguez, Kentucky has Ramon Jefferson, Kavosiey Smoke, La’Vell Wright and JuThan McClain ready to step up.
As for Wright, look for J.J. Weaver to get more snaps, while blue-chip recruit Keaten Wade should also see significant snaps. Wade is second on the depth chart behind Weaver and had a good fall camp, so it will be interesting to see what he’s capable of this week vs. Miami (OH).
Last week, Stoops spoke with BBN Tonight about what C-Rod means to the program, which you can see below.
"I will be extremely loyal to Chris forever because nobody's perfect and people make mistakes here and there. I think everybody's human, but we all appreciate what Chris has done for this university."— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) August 27, 2022
⬇️Watch Coach @UKCoachStoops' full statement on Chris Rodriguez, Jr. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/nHG4rcrfQp
As mentioned above, Kentucky’s first depth chart is out. Among the most notable things to know include:
- Smoke starting at running back in place of Rodriguez.
- Weaver starting at outside linebacker in place of Wright.
- The starting wide receivers are Barion Brown, Dane Key and Tayvion Robinson.
- Keidron Smith, Andru Phillips and Carrington Valentine starting at cornerback.
- David Wohlabaugh starting at left tackle with Kiyaunta Goodwin as his backup.
- Jager Burton starting at left guard ahead of Kenneth Horsey (Stoops said Horsey has been injured which helped allow Burton to earn the starting nod).
- Deondre Buford being a backup right tackle behind Jeremy Flax.
- Tre’Von Rybka starting at defensive end.
- Brothers Jordan Dingle and Justice Dingle are co-starters at the tight end/fullback spot.
- The other starting tight end spot is Brenden Bates or Keaton Upshaw.
- Deuce Hogan is the backup QB.
Here is the full Week 1 depth chart.
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