Mike Hartline was an ALL-SEC QB his sophomore year when the conference had stiffer competition. The Big Blue Nation is divided on Hartline as UK's starting QB. Based on feedback, Hartline is working hard this summer and appears to be leading the team. I still believe Hartline will be the starting against Louisville. Assuming he is, there is no reason he can’t receive more recognition.
Derrick Locke has received honors for his special teams play. Is this the year he finally receives some recognition as a running back? In order for Locke to do so he will need to break some long runs and Moncell Allen will have to lead the way. While the staff feels Allen is more than capable, fans still seem concerned. The Cats are also trying to put together a new offensive line for 2010.
Randall Cobb could be the conference player of the year and a potential Heisman candidate if the Cats can win eight or more games in 2010. While Cobb hasn’t received honors as a wide receiver, he could in 2010. He will need to have another big year on special teams to receive the same honors again.
Chris Matthews is poised to have a monster senior season. I’m not sure most people realize how big and athletic he is for a wide receiver. Matthews has learned the offense after struggling last season. He can be a deep threat with his speed, but has the size to win jump balls. Bottom line, the Cats must get the ball to Matthews more in 2010 if they are going to take the next step. If so, Matthews could end up an All-SEC selection.
Larry Warford received playing time as a true freshman and based on feedback from coaches and former players, he is the most talented lineman on the team. Stuart Hines is also a candidate, but based on feedback Warford has a great opportunity to earn some accolades if he continues to progress.
DeQuin Evans led the Cats in sacks for 2009 and should do so again in 2010. The Cats have a solid secondary; therefore Evans will receive plenty of pass rushing opportunities. The key for Evans will be stopping the run in 2010 and making some game changing plays. The SEC is always loaded with talent on the defensive line, but Evans has the ability to turn some heads in 2010.
Danny Trevathan is quietly making a name for himself as a linebacker in the SEC. Trevathan is fast and ferocious. In 2009 he played with a cast on his arm, which limited some things he was able to do on the field. Based on his performance during the spring game and the staff pushing him to lead the defense, he is also poised for a breakout season in 2010.
Winston Guy could be the key to UK’s defense in 2010. No single player on the team is being pushed harder by the staff than Guy. He has the frame to play safety at the next level, it’s time to translate the look into play. Guy has the speed to return an interception for a touchdown and if he can come up with some big plays, he too could receive some recognition. Considering Eric Berry left for the NFL, the recognition is there for the taking.
Randall Burden seems ready to have a big year for UK in the secondary. While a lot of people feel Paul Warford is the guy, the staff feels Burden has “lock down” potential. The key for Burden will be making the big play. Instead of just breaking up a pass, he needs to come up with an interception. Burden has received a lot of playing time and seems ready to take the next step.