For the time being, Wildcat fans will have to wait for warm-ups in Athens to see who exactly will be available at wide receiver, but Kentucky being without its two leading receivers may very well happen in Athens.
Let’s look at which pass-catchers will need to step up in Brown and Robinson’s place.
Now, Key has not been bad through UK’s first four games going into Saturday’s matchup with Georgia. However, he has not been nearly as explosive as expected for what has been an inconsistent Kentucky pass attack.
Zero catches, zero receiving yards, and a dropped pass on a catchable ball against Florida simply wasn’t good enough from the Lexington native, but he did have four catches for 58 yards and a score against Vanderbilt with 13 catches for 196 yards and two scores this season.
Key will need to step up as potentially the Cats’ No. 1 receiver on Saturday, with both Robinson and Brown’s status still in the air if Kentucky wishes to beat Georgia for the first time since 2009.
Besides the trio of Brown, Key, and Robinson, the only other true wide receiver with a catch so far this year is freshman Brown-Stephens with two for 12 yards.
With both Brown and Robinson potentially out, this means that the highly touted four-star out of Ohio will have an opportunity to mature and see some pretty meaningful snaps against a top-ranked opponent.
Will this be the game that Brown-Stephens not only breaks out for Kentucky but also a national audience? For the time being, all factors point to at least the opportunity of that potentially happening.
The Wildcats have a deep tight end room that includes Josh Kattus, Jordan Dingle, Izayah Cummings, and Brendan Bates, which will be crucial to this Kentucky team as they will help the offensive line block and be a safety blanket for Devin Leary.
Three weeks into the season, the player in the tight end room who missed all of spring and fall camp recovering from injury is emerging as one of Leary’s favorite targets.
That player would be redshirt sophomore Jordan Dingle who led all Wildcat tight ends in 2022 in receptions with 20, receiving yards with 220, and touchdowns finding the end zone three times and is on pace to do so again in 2023
Through five games this season, Dingle leads the tight end room with five grabs for 105 yards ranking fifth most receiving yards on the team.
After being held quiet to both Vanderbilt and Florida, the Bowling Green native will need to make a few splash plays for Liam Coen’s offense against Georgia.
Another tight end who looks to make a difference is Kattus, who hauled in seven receptions as a true freshman in 2022 for 125 yards, including a 70-yard reception against Louisville in the Wildcat’s 26-13 win.
The Cincinnati native this year has yet to truly have his breakout game but did have a solid outing against Akron, grabbing two catches for 24 yards and scoring once in the 35-3 Kentucky victory over the Zips.
Other options at tight end for Kentucky include veteran Bates who has two catches for 46 yards on the season thus far, and Cummings, who has yet to make an impact for the Cats this season after playing in all 13 games in 2022 with one starting assignment vs. Miami (Ohio).
Having played with Leary for two years at North Carolina State before making the decision to transfer to Lexington this offseason, running back Sumo-Karngbaye played in 14 games during his two years for the Wolfpack, showing to be a capable threat in the passing game as he caught 12 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown.
With the lack of options potentially being an issue ahead of Saturday’s game, Sumo-Karngbaye could serve as an option for Leary, as he is also a player that he knows very well.