Coach Joker Phillips had his annual meeting with the media on Friday in the Presidents’ Room at Commonwealth Stadium. The biggest news to come out of the nearly 30 minutes with the Kentucky head coach was that projected starting cornerback Marcus Caffey is academically ineligible.
It’s a big blow to a defense that already was young and inexperienced, especially the secondary. This spring, Caffey was touted as one of the players who could have a big impact. Safety Martavius Neloms, who made the switch last season from corner to safety once before, will move back to corner to replace Caffey. Defensive coordinator Rick Minter admitted that Neloms wasn’t pleased with the switch initially, but is fine now.
Other defensive news:
- Freshman DB Shawn Blaylock will miss this season with a knee injury. He injured the knee in high school and will have surgery on Aug. 7.
- J.D. Harmon, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound freshman walk-on from Paducah Tilghman, will move to the cornerback position, among other duties. “He’ll still be a kick/punt return guy,” Phillips said. “He’s a long, lean athletes that we’ve got to continue to try to get into this program.”
- Phillips announced there will be a team-wide Twitter ban during camp, through Aug. 15. QB Max Smith said he’s going to miss Instagram the most. Phillips argued that the players need to have their focus 100 percent of the time on football.
- Running back Josh Clemons wouldn’t put a percentage on his knee’s health, but he said meniscus had a full tear that had to be sewn back together. Clemons will go every other day during camp, as will WR Gene McCaskill, in hopes of keeping them healthy for the season.
- Fans are going to love freshmen running backs Justin Taylor and Dyshawn Mobley. They both have an edge to them. Taylor specifically seems to have a chip on his shoulder, wants to prove something. You’ll recall Taylor was committed to Alabama for a year before a knee injury sidelined him. When asked what he has done with all of his Alabama gear, he smiled. “I just gave it all away,” he said.
- The five new offensive linemen look the part of SEC linemen already. Phillips expects several of them to contribute right away. “We’ve never signed a full class of guy that’s look like the guys that we have. There are a couple of strength levels, gives them a chance to compete, give us some depth at that position.”