2018 Kentucky Wildcats football team

The 2018 Kentucky Wildcats football team represented the University of Kentucky in the 2018 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Wildcats played their home games at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky and competed in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They were led by sixth-year head coach Mark Stoops.

2018 Kentucky Wildcats football
Kentucky Wildcats logo.svg
Citrus Bowl champion
Citrus Bowl, W 27–24 vs. Penn State
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
DivisionEastern Division
Ranking
CoachesNo. 11
APNo. 12
2018 record10–3 (5–3 SEC)
Head coachMark Stoops (6th season)
Offensive coordinatorEddie Gran (3rd season)
Co-offensive coordinatorDarin Hinshaw (3rd season)
Defensive coordinatorMatt House (2nd as DC; 3rd overall season)
Home stadiumKroger Field
(Capacity: 61,000)
Seasons
← 2017
2019 →
2018 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No.Georgia x   7 1         11 3  
No. 12 Kentucky   5 3         10 3  
No.Florida   5 3         10 3  
South Carolina   4 4         7 6  
Missouri   4 4         8 5  
Vanderbilt   3 5         6 7  
Tennessee   2 6         5 7  
West Division
No. 2 Alabama x$^   8 0         14 1  
No. 16 Texas A&M   5 3         9 4  
No. 6 LSU   5 3         10 3  
Mississippi State   4 4         8 5  
Auburn   3 5         8 5  
Ole Miss   1 7         5 7  
Arkansas   0 8         2 10  
Championship: Alabama 35, Georgia 28
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

The season was one of the most successful in Kentucky's history. In Kentucky's second game of the season, the team ended the then-longest current losing streak in an uninterrupted series in FBS when they defeated Florida for the first time since 1986, and the first time in Gainesville since 1979, ending a losing streak of 31 games.[1] Two weeks later, the Wildcats upset No. 14 Mississippi State, and entered the AP Poll for the first time since 2007. Kentucky ended the regular season tied for second in the SEC East Division with a conference record of 5–3. They were invited to the Citrus Bowl, where they defeated No. 13 Penn State, their first bowl win since 2008. Kentucky ended the season with a record of 10–3 and were ranked 12th in the final AP Poll, the most wins and highest poll finish for the program since 1977.

The team's highly touted defense was anchored by unanimous All-American linebacker Josh Allen, who was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and led the conference in sacks and tackles for loss.[2] Allen won several national awards for defensive excellence, including the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, and the Lott Trophy; he became the first Kentucky player to receive any of these awards. On offense, the team was led by first-team All-SEC running back Benny Snell, who finished second in the conference in rushing with 1,449 yards and 16 touchdowns.[2] Offensive lineman Bunchy Stallings was also named first-team all-conference. Quarterback Terry Wilson led the team in passing, finishing with 1,889 yards and 11 touchdowns. Head coach Mark Stoops was named SEC Coach of the Year.

Previous seasonEdit

The Wildcats finished the 2017 season 7–6, 4–4 in SEC play to finish in a tie for third place in the Eastern Division. They were invited to the Music City Bowl where they lost to Northwestern.

OffseasonEdit

Spring gameEdit

The spring game took place on April 13 at Kroger Field.

Date Time Spring Game Site TV Result Attendance
April 13 6:30 p.m. Blue vs. White Kroger FieldLexington, KY SECN Blue 45, White 32
36,090

DeparturesEdit

Name Number Pos. Height Weight Year Hometown Notes
Drew Barker #7 QB 6'3" 222 Junior Orlando, FL Retired
Stephen Johnson #15 QB 6'2" 195 Senior Rancho Cucamonga, California Graduated
Blake Bone #6 WR 6'5" 213 Senior Woodruff, South Carolina Graduated
Garrett Johnson #9 WR 5'11" 175 Senior Winter Park, Florida Graduated
Kayaune Ross #19 WR 6'6" 225 Senior West Chester, Ohio Graduated
Charles Walker #88 WR 5'11" 203 Senior Louisville, Kentucky Graduated
Greg Hart #85 TE 6'5" 245 Senior Dayton, Ohio Graduated
Kyle Meadows #73 OT 6'5" 300 Senior West Chester, Ohio Graduated
Nick Haynes #68 OG 6'3" 300 Senior Niceville, Florida Graduated
Matt Elam #69 DT 6'7" 360 Senior Elizabethtown, Kentucky Graduated
Jacob Hyde #36 DT 6'2" 320 Senior Manchester, Kentucky Graduated
Naquez Pringle #77 DT 6'3" 320 Senior Georgetown, South Carolina Graduated
Denzil Ware #35 DE 6'2" 240 Junior Opp, Alabama Transferred to Jacksonville State
Eli Brown #32 LB 6'2" 208 Sophomore Bowling Green, Kentucky Transferred to WKU
Courtney Love #51 LB 6'2" 245 Senior Youngstown, Ohio Graduated
Kendall Randolph #5 DB 6'0" 183 Senior Tallahassee, Florida Graduated
Marcus Walker #16 DB 6'1" 208 Junior Lake Wales, Florida Kicked off team
Austin MacGinnis #99 K 5'10" 172 Senior Wedowee, Alabama Graduated

2018 signing classEdit

The 2018 football recruiting cycle was the first in which the NCAA authorized two signing periods for high school seniors in that sport. In addition to the traditional spring period starting with National Signing Day on February 7, 2018, a new early signing period was introduced, with the first such period falling from December 20–22, 2017.[3]

Notably, the Wildcats did not sign a single in-state player in their 2018 class—the first time this had happened since 1940.[4]

PreseasonEdit

Award watch listsEdit

Listed in the order that they were released

Award Player Position Year
Lott Trophy[5] Josh Allen LB SR
Chuck Bednarik Award[6] Josh Allen LB SR
Mike Edwards S SR
Maxwell Award[7] Benny Snell RB JR
Doak Walker Award[8] Benny Snell RB JR
John Mackey Award[9] C. J. Conrad TE SR
Butkus Award[10] Josh Allen LB JR
Jim Thorpe Award[11] Mike Edwards S SR
Bronko Nagurski Trophy[12] Mike Edwards S SR
Paul Hornung Award[13] Lynn Bowden WR/KR SO
Wuerffel Trophy[14] C. J. Conrad TE SR
Walter Camp Award[15] Benny Snell Jr. RB JR

SEC media pollEdit

The SEC media poll was released on July 20, 2018 with the Wildcats predicted to finish in fifth place in the East Division.[16]

Media poll (East)
Predicted finish Team Votes (1st place)
1 Georgia 1,977 (271)
2 South Carolina 1,535 (8)
3 Florida 1,441 (2)
4 Missouri 1,057
5 Kentucky 874 (1)
6 Tennessee 704 (1)
7 Vanderbilt 392

Preseason All-SEC teamsEdit

The Wildcats had four players selected to the preseason all-SEC teams.

ScheduleEdit

DateTimeOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendance
September 13:30 p.m.Central Michigan*ESPNUW 35–2049,138
September 87:30 p.m.at No. 25 FloridaSECNW 27–1680,651
September 1512:00 p.m.Murray State*
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY
SECNW 48–1048,217
September 227:00 p.m.No. 14 Mississippi State
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY
ESPN2W 28–760,037
September 297:30 p.m.South CarolinaNo. 17
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY
SECNW 24–1063,081
October 67:00 p.m.at Texas A&MNo. 13ESPNL 14–20 OT99,829
October 207:30 p.m.VanderbiltNo. 14
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY (rivalry)
SECNW 14–754,269
October 274:00 p.m.at MissouriNo. 12SECNW 15–1453,397
November 33:30 p.m.No. 6 GeorgiaNo. 9
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY
CBSL 17–3463,543
November 103:30 p.m.at TennesseeNo. 11SECNL 7–2495,258
November 1712:00 p.m.Middle Tennessee*No. 17
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY
SECNW 34–2347,535
November 247:00 p.m.at Louisville*No. 15ESPN2W 56–1049,988
January 1, 20191:00 p.m.vs. No. 12 Penn State*No. 14ABCW 27–24 59,167
  • *Non-conference game
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Eastern time

PersonnelEdit

Coaching staffEdit

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops enters his sixth season as the Wildcat's head coach for the 2018 season. During his previous five seasons he led the Wildcats to an overall record of 26 wins and 36 losses.

Name Position Consecutive season at
Kentucky in current position
Mark Stoops Head coach 6th
Eddie Gran Offensive Coordinator 3rd
Darin Hinshaw Co-Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks 3rd
Matt House Defensive Coordinator, Inside Linebackers 2nd
Michael Smith Wide receivers 1st
Vince Marrow Tight Ends, Recruiting Coordinator 6th
John Schlarman Offensive Line 6th
Derrick LeBlanc Defensive Line 2nd
Steve Clinkscale Defensive backs 3rd
Dean Hood Special Teams, Outside Linebackers 2nd
Corey Edmond Director of Performance 2nd
Reference:

RosterEdit

2018 Kentucky Wildcats football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
WR 1 Lynn Bowden So
WR 2 Dorian Baker Sr
QB 3 Terry Wilson So
RB 5 Sihiem King Sr
WR 6 Blake Bone Sr
QB 8 Danny Clark Fr
RB 10 A.J. Rose So
WR 11 Tavin Richardson Jr
QB 12 Gunnar Hoak So
WR 13 Zy'Aire Hughes So
WR 14 Ahmad Wagner Jr
QB 15 Kolbe Langhi Fr
QB 17 Walker Wood Fr
WR 18 Clevan Thomas So
WR 19 Akeem Hayes Fr
RB 20 Kavosiey Smoke Fr
WR 23 Brayden Berezowitz Jr
RB 24 Chris Rodriguez Fr
WR 25 Brett Slusher Jr
RB 26 Benny Snell Jr
WR 27 Bryan Berezowitz Jr
RB 28 Zach Johnson Jr
WR 29 Zac Berezowitz Fr
RB 30 Donald Smith So
WR 31 Darren Edmond Fr
RB 32 Tyler Markray Fr
WR 33 David Bouvier Sr
WR 35 John Daido So
WR 36 Patrick Henschen So
WR 37 Tyler Beisner Fr
TE 46 Drew Schlegel Jr
WR 48 Will Crum Fr
C 52 Drake Jackson So
FR 60 Quintin Wilson Fr
OG 61 Austin Dotson So
OG 62 Tyler Couch Fr
OG 64 George Asafo-Adjei Sr
OG 65 Jervontius Stallings Sr
OT 66 Naasir Watkins Fr
OT 67 Landon Young     Jr
OG 68 Kenneth Horsey Fr
OG 71 Logan Stenberg Jr
OG 72 E.J. Price So
OT 73 Matthew Napier Fr
OT 76 Sebastien Dolcine Fr
OT 77 Mason Wolfe So
OT 78 Nick Lewis Fr
OT 79 Luke Fortner So
TE 80 Brenden Bates Fr
WR 81 Isaiah Epps So
WR 82 Josh Ali So
TE 83 Justin Rigg Jr
WR 84 B.J. Alexander Fr
WR 84 Bryce Oliver Fr
TE 87 C. J. Conrad Sr
TE 88 Keaton Upshaw Fr
WR 89 Allen Dailey Fr
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
S 3 Jordan Griffin Jr
DE 4 Joshua Paschal So
CB 6 Lonnie Johnson Jr. Sr
S 7 Mike Edwards Sr
CB 8 Derrick Baity Sr
S 9 Davonte Robinson So
LB 15 Jordan Wright Fr
DE 20 Kengera Daniel Sr
CB 21 Chris Westry Sr
LB 22 Chris Oats Fr
S 23 Tyrell Ajian Fr
S 25 Darius West Sr
CB 26 Michael Nesbitt Fr
CB 27 Cedrick Dort Fr
S 29 Yusuf Corker Fr
CB 30 Domonique Williams Jr
LB 31 Jamar Watkins So
LB 34 Jordan Jones Sr
CB 35 Immanuel Bowie Fr
LB 36 Ashtan Pierre   Fr
CB 37 Stanley Garner Fr
LB 38 William Nalty So
LB 39 Elijah Barnett Jr
LB 41 Josh Allen Sr
LB 43 DeAndre Square Fr
LB 44 Jamin Davis Fr
LB 47 Harold Lacy So
DE 49 Shawn Lawson Fr
DT 50 Marquan McCall Fr
DE 55 Davoan Hawkins Fr
LB 56 Kash Daniel Jr
LB 58 Alex King Fr
DT 59 Kordell Looney So
DE 90 T.J. Carter Jr
DE 91 Calvin Taylor Jr
DT 92 Phil Hoskins Jr
DT 93 Jerquavion Mahone Fr
DE 94 Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald Fr
DT 95 Quinton Bohanna So
DE 97 Chris Whittaker Fr
DE 98 Tymere Dubose Sr
DT 99 Adrian Middleton Sr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
LS 42 Tristan Yeomans Sr
LS 53 Blake Best Jr
P 86 Grant McKinniss Jr
P 93 Max Duffy So
PK 95 Miles Butler Sr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches
  • Eddie Gran
    Offensive Coordinator/Running backs
  • Darin Hinshaw
    Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
  • Matt House
    Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers
  • Michael Smith
    Wide Receivers
  • Vince Marrow
    Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator
  • John Schlarman
    Offensive Line
  • Derrick LeBlanc
    Defensive Line
  • Steve Clinkscale
    Defensive Backs
  • Dean Hood
    Special Teams/Outside Linebackers
  • Corey Edmund
    Director of Performance

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  •   Injured
  •   Redshirt

Roster
Last update: August 1, 2018

Game summariesEdit

Central MichiganEdit

Overall record Last Meeting Result
6–0 2011 Kentucky, 27–13
Central Michigan at Kentucky
1 2 34Total
Chippewas 3 17 0020
Wildcats 7 14 7735

at Kroger Field, Lexington, Kentucky

  • Date: September 1, 2018
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 49,138
  • TV announcers (ESPNU): Kevin Brown (play-by-play), Andre Ware (analyst)

at No. 25 FloridaEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
17–51 2017 Kentucky, 27-28
Kentucky at No. 25 Florida
1 2 34Total
Wildcats 7 0 14627
No. 25 Gators 0 10 0616

at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida

This was Kentucky’s first win over Florida since 1986.[18]

Murray StateEdit

Overall record Last Meeting Result
1–0 2003 Kentucky, 37–6
Murray State at Kentucky
1 2 34Total
Racers 0 3 0710
Wildcats 7 10 171448

at Kroger Field, Lexington, Kentucky

  • Date: September 15, 2018
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 48,217
  • TV announcers (SECN): Mike Morgan (play-by-play), John Congemi (analyst), Taylor Gray (sideline reporter)

No. 14 Mississippi StateEdit

Overall record Last Meeting Result
22–23 2017 Mississippi State, 45–7
No. 14 Mississippi State at Kentucky
1 2 34Total
No. 14 Bulldogs 0 7 007
Wildcats 0 7 71428

at Kroger Field, Lexington, Kentucky

South CarolinaEdit

Overall record Last Meeting Result
11–17–1 2017 Kentucky, 23–13
South Carolina at No. 17 Kentucky
1 2 34Total
Gamecocks 3 0 7010
No. 17 Wildcats 3 21 0024

at Kroger Field, Lexington, Kentucky

at Texas A&MEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
1–1 1953 Texas A&M, 7–6
No. 13 Kentucky at Texas A&M
1 2 34OTTotal
No. 13 Wildcats 7 0 07014
Aggies 0 7 07620

at Kyle Field, College Station, Texas

VanderbiltEdit

Overall record Last Meeting Result
44–42–4 2017 Kentucky, 44–21
Vanderbilt at No. 14 Kentucky
1 2 34Total
Commodores 7 0 007
No. 14 Wildcats 0 7 0714

at Kroger Field, Lexington, Kentucky

at MissouriEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
5–3 2017 Kentucky, 40–34
No. 12 Kentucky at Missouri
1 2 34Total
No. 12 Wildcats 3 0 01215
Tigers 0 14 0014

at Faurot Field, Columbia, Missouri

  • Date: October 27, 2018
  • Game time: 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 53,397
  • TV announcers (SECN): Taylor Zarzour (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (analyst), Kris Budden (sideline reporter)

No. 6 GeorgiaEdit

Overall record Last Meeting Result
12–56–2 2017 Georgia, 42–13
No. 6 Georgia at No. 9 Kentucky
1 2 34Total
No. 6 Bulldogs 7 7 14634
No. 9 Wildcats 0 3 7717

at Kroger Field, Lexington, Kentucky

at TennesseeEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
25–79–9 2017 Kentucky, 29–26
No. 12 Kentucky at Tennessee
1 2 34Total
No. 12 Wildcats 0 0 707
Volunteers 3 14 7024

at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee

  • Date: November 10, 2018
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m. EST

Middle TennesseeEdit

Overall record Last Meeting Result
2–0 2008 Kentucky, 20–14
Middle Tennessee at No. 17 Kentucky
1 2 34Total
Blue Raiders 0 10 6723
No. 17 Wildcats 17 7 7334

at Kroger Field, Lexington, Kentucky

  • Date: November 17, 2018
  • Game time: Noon EST
  • Game attendance: 47,535
  • TV: SECN Alternate

at LouisvilleEdit

Overall record Last meeting Result
15–15 2017 Louisville, 44–17
No. 15 Kentucky at Louisville
1 2 34Total
No. 15 Wildcats 14 21 02156
Cardinals 7 3 0010

at Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky

  • Date: November 24, 2018
  • Game time: 7:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: ESPN2

vs. Penn State (Citrus Bowl)Edit

Overall record Last meeting Result
2–3 1998 Penn State, 14–26
Kentucky vs. Penn State
1 2 34Total
No. 14 Wildcats 10 0 17027
No. 12 Nittany Lions 0 7 01724

at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida

  • Date: January 1, 2019
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: ABC

RankingsEdit

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. т = Tied with team above or below. ( ) = First place votes.
Week
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Final 
AP RV NR RV RV 17 13 18 14 12 11 12 20 17 16 16 12 
Coaches RV RV RV RV 17 15 20 17 14 12 12 21 18 15 15 11 
CFP Not released 9 11 17 15 15 14 Not released

Players drafted into the NFLEdit

Round Pick Player Position NFL Club
1 7 Josh Allen LB Jacksonville Jaguars
2 54 Lonnie Johnson Jr. CB Houston Texans
3 99 Mike Edwards S Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4 122 Benny Snell RB Pittsburgh Steelers
7 232 George Asafo-Adjei OG New York Giants

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Kentucky stns No. 25 Florida; first win over Gators since '86". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 8, 2018. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "2018 Southeastern Conference Year Summary". Sports-Reference.com. Archived from the original on March 24, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  3. ^ Rittenberg, Adam (May 8, 2017). "Collegiate Commissioners Association approves early signing period for football". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on May 9, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  4. ^ Roush, Nick (April 11, 2018). "Kentucky Could Lose Rare In-State Recruiting Opportunity". Kentucky Sports Radio. Archived from the original on April 13, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  5. ^ "2018 Watch List | Lott IMPACT Trophy | Honoring College Football's Defensive Best". lottimpacttrophy.org. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  6. ^ "2018 Bednarik Award Watch List". July 16, 2018. Archived from the original on July 16, 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  7. ^ "2018 Maxwell Award Watch List". July 16, 2018. Archived from the original on July 16, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  8. ^ "2018 Doak Walker Award Candidates". July 18, 2018. Archived from the original on November 15, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  9. ^ "2018 John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List Released" (PDF). July 20, 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 20, 2018. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  10. ^ "Butkus Award - 2018 Collegiate Watchlist". The Butkus Award. July 23, 2018. Archived from the original on August 20, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Names 2018 Preseason Watchlist". July 23, 2018. Archived from the original on July 24, 2018. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  12. ^ "2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List". July 24, 2018. Archived from the original on July 25, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  13. ^ "43 PLAYERS NAMED TO 2018 PAUL HORNUNG AWARD WATCH LIST". July 26, 2018. Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  14. ^ "Wuerffel Trophy Unveils 2018 Watch List". July 26, 2018. Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  15. ^ Carbone, Al (July 27, 2018). "Walter Camp Football Foundation Announces 2018 Player of the Year Preseason "Watch List"". Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-22. Retrieved 2018-07-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Football – 2015 Coaches". University of Kentucky Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Archived from the original on 2012-01-03. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-12-10. Retrieved 2018-12-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)