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College Football Preview 2024: Kentucky Wildcats win projections, strengths and weaknesses, quarterback spotlight and more

2T0PT5H Kentucky waits in the tunnel before an NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

Kentucky finished the 2023 season as it did in 2022, with a bowl-game loss and a 7-6 record overall. Expectations for the 2024 campaign remain around the same, though some bright spots could have the Wildcats exceeding their projected win total.

It starts with a defense that has very few holes, potentially one of the better SEC units next season. Kentucky’s receiving corps remains a strength of the offense, thanks to the returns of Dane Key and Barion Brown and the addition of Ja’Mori Maclin via the transfer portal.

The biggest question is under center: Can Georgia transfer Brock Vandagriff live up to his five-star prospect billing after three seasons on the bench?

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Biggest Strength: Stars at every level of the defense

Kentucky has PFF’s No. 3 linebacker unit in college football, a defensive line that features superstar Deone Walker and a very good secondary.

Biggest Weakness: Uncertainty on offense outside of the receiving corps

Projected starting quarterback Brock Vandagriff and starting running back Chip Trayanum are transfers who have yet to be college first-teamers despite playing three and four seasons, respectively. The Wildcats do return four starters on the offensive line, but the unit finished just 97th in PFF grade last year.

2023 Team Overview

EPA per play Yards per play Successful play rate Explosive run play rate Explosive pass play rate
-0.011 6.2 35.3% 18.1% 16.1%
70th 40th T-62nd 26th 41st
EPA allowed per play Yards allowed per play Successful play rate allowed Explosive run rate allowed Explosive pass rate allowed
-0.018 5.2 35.7% 12.4% 12.2%
66th T-34th T-82nd T-28th 22nd

Three Notable Transfer Portal Additions

  • LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson (Georgia): 70.2 PFF grade
  • WR Ja’Mori Maclin (North Texas): 69.0 PFF grade
  • QB Brock Vandagriff (Georgia): 87.0 PFF grade

Three Notable Transfer Portal Losses

  • EDGE Keaten Wade (Colorado): 70.8 PFF grade
  • S Jalen Geiger (Tulane): 63.6 PFF grade
  • S Jaremiah Anglin Jr. (Pittsburgh): N/A

Quarterback Spotlight: Brock Vandagriff

2023 Grade: 87.0
Key stat: 23 career dropbacks


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