HOOVER, Ala. – Bigger, faster, stronger is the coaching cliché, and we can’t speak to the last two just yet, but several Kentucky football players are heading into the 2016 season a little bigger than they were in the spring. A few are smaller, too.
With the release of the Wildcats’ fall media guide on the eve of SEC Media Days, a quick comparison to the spring roster gives us this: 31 players gained weight, for a total of 156 pounds; 12 lost a total of 92 pounds; 44 guys stayed exactly the same.
Three notable offensive linemen made significant changes, as starting right guard Ramsey Meyers dropped 15 pounds to 305, starting left guard Nick Haynes gained eight to 316 and second-string right tackle Mason Wolfe, a 6-foot-6 redshirt freshman, dropped 15 to 305.
Quarterbacks have been busy bulking up, apparently. True freshman and early enrollee Gunnar Hoak (10 pounds), starter Drew Barker (7) and JUCO transfer Stephen Johnson (5) all added weight. Walk-on Davis Mattingly dropped eight pounds to 217.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign is at linebacker, a position where Kentucky needs to make major progress this season. Several linebackers have at least done that on the scales. Redshirt freshman Eli Brown is up seven to 215 pounds, Kash Daniel is up six to 241, Minnesota transfer De’Niro Laster is up six to 241, Josh Allen is up six to 230 and Jordan Jones is up five to 220.
Worth noting, though: former 5-star recruit and starting nose guard Matt Elam, who has long battled his weight, is among those with no change. He’s still listed at 6-7, 360 pounds, same as this spring and last fall. The good news there is he hasn’t gained any.
There were no major surprises on Kentucky’s updated depth chart, certainly among the starters, but there are several freshmen (mostly redshirts) and transfers in the two-deep. After sitting out a year, Nebraska defectors Courtney Love and Greg Hart are No. 1 at middle linebacker and No. 2 at tight end, respectively, while Laster is No. 2 at outside linebacker and JUCO transfers Johnson and Tate Leavitt are No. 2 at QB and left tackle, respectively.
One true freshman, punter Grant McKinniss, is already listed as a starter and four redshirt freshmen are second-string: left guard Logan Stenberg, right tackle Wolfe and receivers Tavin Richardson and Jabari Greenwood. One more notable: sophomore Sihiem King has jumped junior Mikel Horton for the No. 3 running back spot.
Now, back to those weight gain/loss stats:
2015 KENTUCKY FALL ROSTER BY THE NUMBERS
156: Total pounds gained by 31 players who increased weight
92: Total pounds lost by 12 players who dropped
64: Net pounds gained on the roster from spring
44: Players whose listed weight stayed the same spring to fall
0: Players whose listed height changed
OT Tristen Salyer: -19
OT Mason Wolfe: -15
OG Ramsey Meyers: -15
DT Naquez Pringle: -10
QB Davis Mattingly: -8
LS Logan Blue: -6
C Dylan Greenberg: -6
TE/FB Tanner Fink: +18
RB William Mahone: +10
QB Gunnar Hoak: +10
OG Nick Haynes: +8
WR David Bouvier: +8
LB Eli Brown: +7
QB Drew Barker: +7
LB Kash Daniel: +6
LB De’Niro Laster: +6
LB Josh Allen: +6
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