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Kentucky recruited Arkansas’ Rocket Sanders before focusing on Chip Trayanum

Sounds like Kentucky was in the mix for Rocket Sanders, who now may land at South Carolina.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Arkansas Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Update: It doesn’t appear either of these backs will be landing at Kentucky, especially after the commitment of Chip Trayanum, but one of them was on the Cats’ radar.

On Mario Anderson, he recently cut his list to Memphis, Oklahoma, and USC, with the Sooners seen as the favorites.

As for Rocket Sanders, On3’s Pete Nakos reports that Kentucky was in on the Arkansas back when he initially entered the transfer portal. However, Kentucky opted to focus on Trayanum, and for now, South Carolina is the favorite for Sanders.

With the Kentucky Wildcats set to lose at least three running backs to either the NFL Draft, graduating, or transferring, the team will need some depth in that position this upcoming year.

Obviously, the biggest loss is Ray Davis, who will be entering the 2024 NFL Draft. In his lone season at Kentucky, he had 1,066 rushing yards, 317 receiving yards, 13 rushing touchdowns, and seven receiving touchdowns.

With Kentucky losing their star running back this upcoming year, they will need a replacement through the transfer portal, and what better way is to get another proven SEC talent like they did last year with Davis.

The biggest name to hit the portal so far is Raheim “Rocket” Sanders, who plans to transfer from Arkansas, according to On3. He will have one more year left of eligibility wherever he goes.

A 6-foot-2, 238-pound running back, Sanders did not play a lot in 2023, logging just six games while battling injuries. But in 2022, he balled out with 1,443 rushing yards, 271 receiving yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, and two receiving touchdowns.

Another big-name SEC running back is set to go portaling, as South Carolina’s Mario Anderson Jr. will reportedly transfer, according to On3’s Pete Nakos.

This past season, Anderson had 143 carries for 707 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 153 yards and a score. He’s a former Division II All-American at Newberry College in South Carolina who transferred to the Gamecocks this year. The class of 2019 recruit will have one season of eligibility remaining at his next school.

Prior to Kentucky’s game vs. South Carolina this year, head coach Mark Stoops was very complimentary of Anderson.

“Very impressed with Mario Anderson, their running back. Playing very, very good football. Very physical,” said Stoops.

Assuming Kentucky takes at least one running back from the portal, these will be two names to watch for.