The Kentucky Wildcats landed three players on the Preseason All-SEC Team, it was announced Tuesday.
Defensive tackle Deone Walker and outside linebacker J.J. Weaver were named to the Second-Team Defense, while offensive guard Eli Cox made the Third-Team Offense.
Cox, a native of Nicholasville (KY), has appeared in 30 career games with 22 starts. Last season, he moved to center and started in all 13 games, earning a spot on the Outland Trophy Watch List and the Comeback Player of the Year Award Watch List.
In 2021, he saw action in nine games before a hand injury, which required surgery, sidelined him. This season will see Cox move back to his natural position at right guard for the Big Blue Wall.
Walker, hailing from Detroit (MI), played in all 13 games with 11 starts in his true freshman season in 2022. He racked up 40 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss (third on the team), five quarterback hurries (second on the team), two pass breakups, one sack, and one forced fumble. He earned Freshman All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America, The Athletic, College Football News, on3.com, 247Sports.com, and Pro Football Focus.
Already this year, Walker is on the watch lists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, the Bronko Nagurski Award, and the Outland Trophy. He was also on the Preseason SEC Media Days Second-Team Defense.
Weaver, a native of Louisville (KY), is coming off a junior year that saw him play in 11 games (eight starts). He recorded 47 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, a team-high 3.0 sacks, three quarterback hurries, a team-high three fumble recoveries, a team-high tying two forced fumbles, and a blocked kick in 2022.
A Third-Team Defense selection on the Preseason SEC Media Days Team, Weaver is also on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award.