- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Kentucky enters the spring looking to clean things up on offense, but it's the defense that is losing a key player to this Wildcats team:
OUT: LB Danny Trevathan: Kentucky didn't just lose arguably its best player in Trevathan but it lost its best leader as well. Trevathan played out of his mind while he was at Kentucky, leading the SEC in tackles in 2010 and 2011, and he also made it his job to be the overwhelming leader of this squad as well. It was as if Trevathan was another coach out on the field for Kentucky. In his final two seasons, Trevathan registered 287 total tackles, with 152 of them being solo stops. Trevathan could play the run, rush the passer or drop back into coverage if needed. He flourished in Rick Minter's more multiple defense and it gave him the opportunity to move around the field and cover more ground. Trevathan played the Will position, but had the ability to line up at any of the linebacker spots on the field. It was hard to find a more consistent linebacker out there than Trevathan.
IN: Malcolm McDuffen, Tim Patterson and Demarius Rancifer: McDuffen backed up Trevathan last season and will enter the spring of his sophomore year as the leader to take over his position at Will linebacker. He played in all 12 games, but with Trevathan being in front of him, his playing time was very limited. He collected just nine tackles on the season, but the coaches are expecting big things from him now that he'll have a chance to get more playing time this fall. For starters, he has the talent needed to man Trevathan's old position, and it helped that Trevathan was there last season to teach him during his rookie year. This is probably McDuffen's spot to lose, but the coaches are also pretty excited about those two redshirt freshmen. Patterson and Rancifer didn't play last season, but they impressed the coaches a good bit during practice last fall. They're behind McDuffen when it comes to experience, but it isn't by much. Rancifer had a real nose for the ball in high school, while Patterson is the biggest of the three, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 250 pounds. McDuffen has the advantage of seeing the field last season, but Patterson and Rancifer won't make things easy for him this spring.
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