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Tuesday Headlines: Confidence in Kicking Game

Confidence wasn’t exactly what the Wildcats had last year.

NCAA Football: Youngstown State at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

There were a few parts of the Kentucky Wildcats’ 2022 season that fans would like to leave behind. One of those was Kentucky’s kicking unit. The Wildcats were okay-to-decent on their point-after attempts (25-27), but they were egregious when it came to field goal attempts. They made just a third of their kicks (16-24) and were only 50% from 30 to 39 yards.

Kentucky’s offense would play well enough to put the Wildcats in scoring range, but there were so many misses throughout the year (especially in big, momentum-changing drives) that the special teams unit was miserable to watch.

Here’s the good news: That appears to be in the rearview mirror.

Last year’s kicker, Matt Ruffolo, graduated, and the Wildcats will have a new starter for this season. In fact, UK released their first official depth chart on Monday and named Alex Raynor as their starter. The senior graduate transfer from Georgia Southern will bring a new confidence to the kicking game that Kentucky can hopefully rely on throughout the season.

With offensive coordinator Liam Coen returning to the sidelines, transfer quarterback Devin Leary heavily impressing the coaching staff throughout the summer, and several returning pieces across all of Kentucky’s skill positions, the Wildcats are poised to have a premier offense. They need a kicking game that can back them up, and they will look for Raynor to be the answer.

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