Has UK become a defensive linemen destination?

It was hard to miss them at the women’s clinic on Saturday morning.

New freshmen defensive linemen Regie Meant (6-5, 275 pounds) and Jason Hatcher (6-3, 250) were men among boys even though they both just graduated high school a few months ago.

They’ve drawn the eye of their new coordinator as well.

When asked on Friday afternoon about what freshmen he thought could help UK’s defense right away, D.J. Eliot specifically mentioned hearing good things about cornerback Jaleel Hytche and those two linemen: “Jason Hatcher’s been doing some good things; I’ve heard good things on Regie Meant. A lot of those guys have had great summers.

“I’m hoping we can get some development out of those guys in training camp and they can help us in the fall.”

It was quite a change from what former UK coach Joker Phillips was talking about just two short summers ago. He was specifically discussing UK’s need to “grow” defensive linemen like Collins Ukwu who arrived on campus a scrawny 200 pounds and trained to put on 60-plus pounds of muscle by his senior season.

“We’ve been a place that has had to grow and project defensive linemen,” Phillips said at the time.

He lamented that “all the great defensive linemen migrate to the same places” and that it wasn’t usually Kentucky.

Made me wonder if UK has now become one of those places with 2014 commitments from linemen like Cory Johnson (6-3, 295-pound four star), Adrian Middleton (6-4, 275-pound three star), Tymere Dubose (6-6, 265-pound three star) and Denzel Ware (6-1, 241-pound three star).

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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