The Kentucky Wildcats are without one of their top defenders as fall camp draws closer.
On Wednesday, head coach Mark Stoops revealed that Joshua Paschal is recovering from a recent procedure on his foot. There’s no timetable for a return, but the hope is he’ll be back before the regular-season opener against Central Michigan.
Even so, missing most, if not all of fall camp would be a big setback for Paschal, who was primed for a big sophomore season. He was the gem of Kentucky’s 2017 recruiting class and had a promising rookie campaign.
Hailing from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Maryland, Paschal picked Kentucky over the likes of Oklahoma and Notre Dame. He was the best player Stoops landed in the 2017 class, as 247 Sports ranked him 191st overall in addition to being the eighth-best defensive end prospect in 2017.
As a true freshman last season, Paschal recorded 16 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. His impact was even great than that thanks to his ability to put pressure on opposing passers at a high rate. He was expected to have a major role in the defense this season, but this surgery may lessen his impact to start the season.
Kentucky is already without Denzil Ware, who transferred this offseason to Jacksonville State. Linebacker Eli Brown also left to transfer to Western Kentucky, so that’s three key front-seven guys that Kentucky is without as fall camp begins.
Thankfully, Kentucky still has a talented front seven that includes Josh Allen, Jordan Jones, Quinton Bohanna and Adrian Middleton, but they need Pascal to help reach their full potential.