LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kendall Randolph, Kentucky’s projected starter at nickelback, will miss the rest of spring football after having surgery on his ankle.
Coach Mark Stoops announced the news after Kentucky’s spring football scrimmage on Saturday.
“He had some lingering effects of that high ankle sprain that cost him much of last year, so we went ahead and put the screw in and tried to do the surgery,” Stoops said. “So, he’ll be out for awhile. We are thin right now in the secondary.”
Randolph was penciled in as Kentucky’s second-team nickelback last season behind starter Blake McClain. But McClain graduated, making Randolph’s injury all the more impactful as the secondary might see a few shifts.
Defensive coordinator Matt House said sophomore cornerback Jordan Griffin and junior starting strong safety Mike Edwards have been working in the nickel slot.
“That’s a spot that’s hard to play,” House said. “It takes a lot of reps, a lot of feel. It’s a spot where you’ve got to really be able to do three things out there: You’ve got to be able to cover, you’ve got to be able to blitz and you’ve got to be able to be a run fitter.”
Stoops pointed to the nickel and outside linebacker as the hardest spots to play on defense.
“I think it’s a very hard position that needs some experience, and you’re seeing Jordan (Griffin) go through some growing pains,” Stoops said. “But we wouldn’t put him there if we didn’t believe in him and think he had the ability to do it.”
It’s not clear when Randolph will return. He recorded 15 tackles in 11 games last season for the Wildcats.