LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jordan Jones, Kentucky’s leading tackler from last season, is questionable to play Saturday against South Carolina. If Jones is out, sophomore Eli Brown is next in line at the weakside linebacker slot.
“We don’t know the status of Jordan right now, and even if I have to go in I’m gonna give it all I have,” Brown said after practice Wednesday.
Jones hasn’t practiced all week. Stoops said on Monday that Jones had a “little issue with his shoulder,” but that he wasn’t ruled out for Saturday’s game. Stoops called it a “pain-tolerance” issue. Jones was seen in a sling after last Saturday’s game. Defensive coordinator Matt House declined to go into detail after practice Wednesday.
Brown is a former 4-star prospect from Bowling Green, Ky. He was the No. 2 prospect in Kentucky in the 2015 class and the 20th-ranked outside linebacker prospect, according to 247Sports composite rankings.
Brown recorded 24 tackles in 12 games played last season. He’s made two tackles so far this season.
If Brown takes over the starting spot in Jones’ potential absence, Kentucky’s defense will sport a new look. Although Brown and Jones play the same position, they offer different styles, Brown said.
“We both want to get to the ball, but Jordan’s gonna go from this side of the field to this side of the field,” Brown said, moving his hands back-and-forth. “I have more of the physical game inside. He always comes to the sidelines and says, ‘Hey, bro, we’re not physical enough.’ I come to the sidelines, ‘Hey, bro, we’re not fast enough to the ball.’ I think that helps both of us. It’s different schemes when we get in. When you scout us you’ve got Jordan full speed and you’ve got Eli who’s gonna get downhill.”
Kentucky and South Carolina face off at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday in Columbia, S.C. The Wildcats are the underdog going into their first SEC matchup, and now they could be without a key defensive player.
“I don’t know what the coaches are gonna decide to do, but I feel great with the guys that we have,” senior linebacker Courtney Love said. “We’re gonna be fine. We just want to play ball, go down there and play South Carolina the best we can.”