Inexperience was already going to be an issue in Kentucky's secondary this season, but it's only going to be worse now that promising redshirt freshman Marcus Caffey has been ruled academically ineligible for the 2012 season.
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips made the announcement Friday, and it's a huge blow to the Wildcats' secondary. Caffey, who came to Kentucky as a running back, made the switch to cornerback this past spring and immediately ascended to the top of the depth chart. The Wildcats loved how physical he was, and defensive coordinator Rick Minter said Caffey had "tremendous upside."
Now, with Caffey not available, the Wildcats will have to move senior Martavius Neloms from safety to cornerback. Neloms had moved from cornerback to safety last season. He's the Wildcats' leading returning tackler after recording 71 total stops last season. Sophomore Ashely Lowery will replace Neloms as a starting safety.
At least Kentucky has a player the caliber of Neloms who can make the transition from safety to cornerback at this late date, but the Wildcats are now precariously thin at cornerback and can't afford to have any injuries. They gave up 19 touchdown passes last season, which was the second most in the league behind Auburn's 23.