SEC: Jeremy Jarmon

Big second half pushes Auburn to win

October, 29, 2011
10/29/11
11:05
PM ET

Auburn wasn't very sharp in the first half against Ole Miss, but that all changed with a 24-point second half in the Tigers' 41-23 victory.

Clint Moseley had his best game in an Auburn uniform, completing 12 of 15 passes for 160 yards and four touchdowns. Yes, he had more touchdowns than incompletions against the visiting Rebels.

Moseley more than proved that he is Auburn's best option at the quarterback spot and really is growing more and more every week. It helped that wide receiver Emory Blake was back from injury. He caught five passes for 71 yards and touchdown.

We knew Auburn would be able to run the ball against this Ole Miss defense, and run the ball it did. Michael Dyer had 177 yards and a score as the Tigers put up 254 yards on 50 attempts.

The Tigers were a completely different team in the second half. They turned the ball over twice in the first half and were error-free in the second. Auburn knew it could wear down this Ole Miss defense and it did by handing the ball off again and again. And when Auburn needed a play through the air, Moseley didn't disappoint.

Defensively, the Tigers gave up 220 rushing yards, but 47 of them came in the second half, and Ole Miss passed for just 162 yards. Ole Miss would have been shut out in the second half if not for a touchdown pass from Randall Mackey to Nickolas Brassell as time expired.

This was the same old story for the Rebels, who blew a 17-7 lead to Arkansas last week. Ole Miss just didn't have the horses to keep up with the Hogs and had nothing in the tank in the second half against Auburn this week. The Rebels have now lost 11 consecutive SEC games dating back to last season.

Auburn is now bowl-eligible at 6-3 and is 4-2 in SEC play. What the Tigers have been able to do this season after all of the parts they lost has been very impressive. There are a few teams around the league that would love to have what Auburn has right now.

Kentucky loses another defensive end candidate

August, 5, 2009
8/05/09
3:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Scratch Donte Rumph's name from the list of candidates to step in at defensive end this season for Kentucky.

Coach Rich Brooks announced Wednesday that Rumph plans to attend junior college. The Wildcats were hoping that Rumph would qualify academically and provide some help at one of the two end spots that are vacant.

It's a tough blow for Kentucky and a tough blow for the 6-foot-2, 265-pound Rumph, who originally signed with the Wildcats in 2008 out of Calhoun County High in St. Matthews, S.C., but failed to qualify. He attended Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy last year and re-signed with the Wildcats, but again fell short academically.

Kentucky is looking for a pair of starters at defensive end after senior Jeremy Jarmon was declared ineligible by the NCAA for testing positive for a banned dietary supplement.

Rumph would have contended for immediate playing time along with redshirt freshman Collins Ukwu, sophomore Chandler Burden and junior college newcomer DeQuin Evans. There's not a defensive end on Kentucky's roster who's ever recorded a sack in a college game.

The Wildcats will open preseason practice on Thursday, and Brooks did announce that receiver/tight end Anthony Kendrick of Katy, Texas, had made it academically and would be with the team in August.

Fresh faces: Kentucky

July, 28, 2009
7/28/09
11:13
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Rich Brooks brought in his highest-rated signing class this year, and look for a handful of junior college newcomers to play key roles for the Wildcats.

Mark Crawford, DT: Enrolled in school early enough to go through spring practice, the 6-foot-1, 297-pound Crawford demonstrated a blend of power and athleticism that should make him an effective inside pass-rusher. Having the spring to brush up on his technique will make him more polished when he steps in as a starting tackle this fall alongside Corey Peters. Crawford, who's originally from Indianapolis, played at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, but he redshirted his first year there and will have three years of eligibility at Kentucky.

DeQuin Evans, DE: The Wildcats were already hurting for depth at defensive end before Jeremy Jarmon was ruled ineligible for his senior season. Now, they don't have a defensive end on the roster who's ever recorded a sack in a college game. That's where the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Evans comes in. He was one of the top-rated junior college pass-rushers in the country after playing the last two years at Los Angeles Harbor College. With two starting jobs open at end, Evans will jump right into that race this preseason along with redshirt freshman Collins Ukwu and sophomore Chandler Burden.

Chris Matthews, WR: Matthews looks like the real deal in his junior college tape. He and Evans were teammates at Los Angeles Harbor College, and like Evans, Matthews will be counted on to come in and make an immediate impact. The Wildcats need more pop in their passing game. In particular, they need somebody to complement Randall Cobb on the other side, and the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Matthews is a legitimate deep threat and one of those players with the height and leaping ability to be a force in the red zone. He really goes up and gets the football.

Redskins take Jarmon in supplemental draft

July, 16, 2009
7/16/09
5:09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

After a rough ride the last few months, former Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon finally got some good news Thursday when he was taken in the supplemental draft by the Washington Redskins with a third-round pick.

It's unfortunate that Jarmon won't be able to play his senior season at Kentucky after being ruled ineligible by the NCAA for taking a banned dietary supplement, but he's going to a team that needs defensive line help.

And for the Redskins to use their third-round pick in the 2010 draft on him, that's proof they think a lot of him.

The real losers in this whole deal are the Wildcats, who have no experience at the end position entering the 2009 season.

I can tell you from talking with Jarmon soon after the announcement that he was ineligible that he feels as badly for Kentucky as he does anything. Remember, he put off turning pro early to come back for his senior season.

His case is a reminder to all college athletes to ask before you take anything.

Hope and concern: Kentucky

June, 24, 2009
6/24/09
9:55
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Biggest reason for hope: Better talent and more depth

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks will be the first to tell you that the Wildcats wouldn't have been able to weather the loss of a player the caliber of Jeremy Jarmon three or four years ago, and it still remains to be seen how much the defense will suffer with the senior defensive end being ruled ineligible this season. But the good news is that Kentucky has been able to recruit a higher caliber of player the last couple of years, thanks in large part to the Wildcats' success. Moreover, their depth on defense is better than it's ever been under Brooks. There are several younger players such as defensive ends Chandler Burden and Collins Ukwu and linebacker Danny Trevathan who appear poised to make their mark, while a pair of junior college newcomers -- tackle Mark Crawford and end DeQuin Evans -- will also help up front. Crawford had the benefit of going through spring practice.

Biggest reason for concern: Lack of offensive playmakers

Outside of Randall Cobb, who proved last season he can make plays no matter where he lines up, who's going to make things happen for the Wildcats on offense? If nobody else emerges, defenses are really going to gang up on Cobb. And, remember, he's still learning all the ins and outs of the receiver position. There are no other proven receivers on this team, and then you throw in the fact that quarterback Mike Hartline didn't exactly light it up throwing the ball last season, and it's easy to see why it's difficult right now to identify where all the offensive production is going to come from. The news sounds better on running back Derrick Locke's recovery from knee surgery. But other than Cobb, there's not an established difference-maker on offense, the kind of player who can change the complexion of a game with two or three plays.

SEC lunchtime links

June, 8, 2009
6/08/09
12:00
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Former Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, now at Middle Tennessee State, had some harsh things to say about his old employer in a lengthy interview with Josh Moon of the Montgomery Advertiser.

"It was the most unusual place I've ever been," Franklin said of the Auburn program. "No one liked anybody else. There was this deep distrust of everybody. The coaches didn't trust the administration, the administration didn't trust each other or the coaches. It was very strange and very unnerving. You would walk down the halls and there would be tension you could just feel

Tennessee's 22-man recruiting class cost more than $1 million to assemble, Dave Hooker reports in the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

• Greg Johnson of the News-Sentinel wonders if Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin can really be this clueless when it comes to following NCAA recruiting rules.

• The Sporting News' Matt Hayes has a Q&A with the South Carolina's Steve Spurrier.

Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, who was suspended by the NCAA for using a banned supplement, will try the NFL's July supplemental draft, Chip Cosby writes in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The SEC's new rule against oversigning won't help academic standards, Randy Kennedy writes in the Mobile Press-Register.

Mississippi State is looking for a new PA announcer, Kyle Veazy notes in the Clarion-Ledger.

Kentucky's Brooks hurts for Jarmon

May, 28, 2009
5/28/09
1:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

DESTIN, Fla. -- Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said he anticipates former defensive end Jeremy Jarmon applying for the NFL supplemental draft later this summer and putting off his trip to France to study abroad.

Jarmon was declared ineligible for his senior season by the NCAA after testing positive for a banned substance. Jarmon, in an effort to trim down and lose weight, said he took an over-the-counter dietary supplement that contained the banned substance.

Kentucky appealed the NCAA's decision, but that appeal was denied last week.

Brooks said he was hopeful that Jarmon would at least get back half of his senior season.

"But I think the NCAA just throws a blanket over all of it," Brooks said. 

While the Wildcats will no doubt miss Jarmon next season on the field, Brooks said what hurts the most is having it end this way for Jarmon, who's been a big part of the Wildcats' resurgence the past few years.

"It's always a blow when you lose a quality player, but it could have been a knee injury or any number of things," Brooks said. "I don't think that it's as big a blow for the program as it is to me personally, having the respect I do for Jeremy and caring about him as I do as an individual. What he has put into our program and how it ended, to me, is devastating.

"Would we be better with Jeremy at defensive end? Hell yeah, we would. But we will be OK, I think. We'll make it through this."

With Jarmon out of the equation, Brooks said there would be a huge opportunity in preseason camp for a pair of redshirt freshmen -- Collins Ukwu and Taylor Wyndham. Junior college newcomer DeQuin Evans and sophomore Chandler Burden will also factor into the mix. There's not a defensive end on the Wildcats' roster who's ever made a tackle in a college game.

Hard lesson costly for Kentucky's Jarmon

May, 23, 2009
5/23/09
5:27
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Jeremy Jarmon was the antithesis of the stereotypical SEC football player.

He loved football and played the game the way it was meant to be played, but he wasn't defined by the game.

There was so much more to Jarmon than just football. He loved school. He loved acting. He loved traveling. He loved broadening himself any way he could.

He was also as real as it gets.

Earlier this week, as I continued my countdown of the SEC's 30 best football players, Jarmon sent me a good-natured text and zinged me about not including him.

That was vintage Jarmon, never one to be shy when it came to speaking his mind about anything.

Needless to say, when I heard Saturday morning that Jarmon had tested positive for taking a banned dietary supplement and wouldn't be back at Kentucky, I was stunned.

He's one of the last players I would have expected something like this to happen to. He's so smart, so seasoned, so well-read ...

You get the idea.

But it's a hard lesson for every college athlete out there: Don't even think about putting ANYTHING into your body before checking first with your medical and/or training staff.

The cruel irony of all this for Jarmon is that he came back for his senior season at Kentucky to -- in his words -- be a part of something special.

The Wildcats went 3-for-3 in the offseason, as cornerback Trevard Lindley, linebacker Micah Johnson and Jarmon all bypassed a chance to turn pro and returned to Kentucky for their senior seasons.

Now, some four months after proudly announcing that he would see his career through at Kentucky, Jarmon's career is abruptly over.

His production on the field will be missed. He ranks third in school history with 17.5 sacks and was one of those guys you could always count on to come up big in key spots. But as much as anything, the Wildcats will miss his leadership and the way he impacted his teammates.

Jarmon's early exit means the future is now for redshirt freshman Collins Ukwu and sophomore Chandler Burden. They were already fighting it out for the right defensive end spot opposite Jarmon. Now, the Wildcats need to find two ends.

Junior college transfer DeQuin Evans will be counted on more than ever. He's supposed to start summer school classes in June. Another guy to watch is signee Donte Rumph, who spent last year at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. Rumph hopes to be on campus in June, but is still working toward qualifying.

However it plays out, nobody's going to step right in and be as effective as Jarmon.

I think it's telling that Jarmon asked to be at the news conference Saturday when the university announced that his appeal had been denied and he would indeed be ineligible. Understandably emotional, he wanted to get his side out there, and he didn't want anybody accusing him of running and hiding.

He made a mistake and owned up to it in a very public way. Hopefully, the stiff price he's having to pay will prevent somebody else from making the same mistake.

This much I know: The SEC won't be nearly as much fun to cover without Jarmon sacking quarterbacks and then waxing poetic afterward.

Kentucky spring wrap-up

May, 5, 2009
5/05/09
9:30
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Kentucky Wildcats
2008 overall record: 7-6

2008 conference record: 2-6

Returning starters

Offense: 7; Defense: 5; Kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

QB Mike Hartline, QB/WR Randall Cobb, RB Alfonso Smith, OT Justin Jeffries, DE Jeremy Jarmon, DT Corey Peters, LB Micah Johnson, CB Trevard Lindley

Key losses

RB Tony Dixon, WR Dicky Lyons, OT Garry Williams, DT Myron Pryor, LB Braxton Kelley, S Marcus McClinton, P Tim Masthay

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Tony Dixon (430 yards)
Passing: Mike Hartline* (1,666 yards)
Receiving: Dicky Lyons (264 yards)
Tackles: Braxton Kelley (98)
Sacks: Johnny Williams (5)
Interceptions: Trevard Lindley* and Marcus McClinton (4)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule
Sept. 5 Miami, Ohio (Cincinnati)
Sept. 19 Louisville
Sept. 26 Florida
Oct. 3 Alabama
Oct. 10 at South Carolina
Oct. 17 at Auburn
Oct. 24 Louisiana-Monroe
Oct. 31 Mississippi State
Nov. 7 Eastern Kentucky
Nov. 14 at Vanderbilt
Nov. 21 at Georgia
Nov. 28 Tennessee
Hartline's job : Mike Hartline is Kentucky's quarterback. Coach Rich Brooks made that clear in the spring, as the Wildcats prefer to use Randall Cobb as a receiver. Hartline has vowed to be more than just a guy that doesn't get the Wildcats beat next fall. He has to keep improving, though, and play with the confidence he did in the second half of the bowl game last season.

Solid defensive nucleus: The most important recruits this offseason for the Wildcats were defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, linebacker Micah Johnson and cornerback Trevard Lindley all deciding to return to school for their senior seasons. All three are All-SEC caliber players who know what it takes to get it done in this league.

Under the radar: Some of best news for Kentucky this spring was the way some of the younger players performed, particularly on defense. Sophomore Winston Guy was a hit at free safety after moving over from cornerback. Sophomore linebacker Danny Trevathan had 11 tackles in the spring game, while redshirt freshman Collins Ukwu and sophomore Chandler Burden made big moves at defensive end.

Fall questions

Running game: Derrick Locke missed the spring after blowing out his knee late last season. The Wildcats hope he will be able to come back 100 percent. Moncell Allen was academically ineligible for the bowl game, so there are some questions surrounding his future. Alfonso Smith had a big spring, but he can't do it alone. Kentucky was eighth in the league in rushing last season.

Cobb's future: There's not a more dynamic playmaker on Kentucky's roster than Cobb. He spent most of his time this spring at receiver, even though he's a quarterback by trade. He's still going to get some chances in the Wildcat formation. How much he ends up behind center will likely depend on how well Hartline plays. Freshman quarterbacks Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski will be added to the mix when preseason practice begins in August.

Stretching the field: There wasn't much of a deep passing game last season for the Wildcats, and that becomes even more of a challenge now that Dicky Lyons is gone. Hartline has to prove that he can effectively throw it down the field, and more big-play targets at receiver need to step forward. That's where Cobb comes in along with Kyrus Lanxter and Gene McCaskill.

Rosters set for Kentucky's spring game

April, 24, 2009
4/24/09
2:58
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Kentucky has split its roster into two teams and will play an actual game -- and not a best-against-the-rest scrimmage or offense vs. defense scrimmage -- in its annual Blue-White spring game on Saturday at 1:30 ET.

For instance, quarterback Mike Hartline, running back Alfonso Smith and defensive tackle Corey Peters will play for the White team, while quarterback/receiver Randall Cobb, cornerback Trevard Lindley, linebacker Micah Johnson and defensive end Jeremy Jarmon will all play for the Blue team.

The Kentucky assistant coaches actually drafted the two teams. It's worth noting that Cobb will be used primarily as a receiver in the game, although he will be allowed to line up in the Wildcat package a handful of times for the Blue team.

Here's a link to the rosters for both teams.

One of the keys to the Wildcats' success the last few seasons has been added depth. Not only have Rich Brooks and his staff recruited better players, but they've also been able to redshirt some players and compile some quality depth. It's been especially beneficial on defense.

Several players who weren't full-time starters a year ago have made big moves this spring and will be worth watching Saturday. Among them: defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin, defensive ends Chandler Burden and Collins Ukwu, linebackers Danny Trevathan and Sam Maxwell and safety Winston Guy.

Junior college transfer Mark Crawford has added some much-needed muscle at tackle with the loss of Myron Pryor. The Wildcats will also get back back cornerback Paul Warford in the fall. Warford missed the spring with a broken bone in his foot. He was academically ineligible last season, but started 11 games as a sophomore in 2007.

If everybody stays healthy, this is a defense that should rank among the top five or six defenses in the league next season. Guy has star potential at safety, and it's a secondary that already includes the best cornerback in the league in Lindley.

Kentucky's Lindley a silent assassin

April, 24, 2009
4/24/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Trying to get Trevard Lindley, Kentucky's All-SEC cornerback, to talk about himself or really to say much at all is about as difficult as trying to complete a pass to his side of the field.

As shut-down cornerbacks go, Lindley's about as good as it gets in the SEC.

 
  Andy Lyons/Getty Images
  Trevard Lindley was voted the Wildcats' MVP last season by his teammates.

He's also about as quiet as it gets.

"I talk every once in a while ... when it's necessary," said Lindley, an artist who's majoring in art studio.

On the field?

"Not unless somebody says something to me," said Lindley, who led the SEC in passes defended per game last season (11 pass breakups and four interceptions).

Besides, Lindley's always felt that you do your loudest talking with an interception or key tackle.

"That's what I've always thought, but some people feel the opposite, I guess," he said.

There's no guesswork as to what Lindley's role will be on Kentucky's defense next season. The fact that he returned for his senior season along with defensive end Jeremy Jarmon and linebacker Micah Johnson gives the Wildcats the kind of nucleus on defense to be even better than they were last season.

And Lindley's ability to shut down one side of the field makes everybody better.

"It's obviously huge for our program (that Lindley returned to school) because there's not many guys in the country, let alone in our league, that you can put them on an island and cover people one-on-one as well as he does and make the big-time plays, the interceptions, the key breakups and the fumble recoveries," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "He's just made so many big plays for us."

Of his nine career interceptions, six have factored heavily into Kentucky wins. And a seventh sent a game into overtime.

Lindley hasn't slowed down this spring. He took an interception back 36 yards for a touchdown in one of the first scrimmages. The Wildcats close their spring Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET with their annual Blue-White game.

Most people, even Brooks, expected Lindley to be getting ready for the NFL draft right now and not his final spring game at Kentucky. According to Lindley, he received a grade from the NFL draft advisory committee in the second- to third-round range. Brooks advised him to go.

Lindley admits that even his parents encouraged him to turn pro.

But he felt like he needed another year to bulk up and get stronger, and he also felt like the Wildcats could build on their three bowl victories from his previous three seasons.

"I'm about 183 pounds now (up from 175 a year ago), and I want to get to 185, maybe 190," said the 6-foot Lindley. "I hurt my shoulder and elbow in the bowl game, so I really couldn't start lifting again until February. I've gotten stronger, but I can still get a lot stronger."

The same goes for the Kentucky football program.

"The Music City Bowl was nice and so was the Liberty Bowl, but we've got the experience and the talent coming back to do more this year," Lindley said.

While he might not seek the spotlight and is the antithesis of a self-promoter, Lindley is hardly underappreciated. He was voted the Wildcats' MVP last season by his teammates and also earned second-team All-America honors.

You just won't hear about it from him.

"He's very bright, a very talented young man and just goes about his business without a lot of bravado and a lot of chest-beating and talk," Brooks said. "He's been one of the more pleasurable guys to coach because you ask him to do something, and he just goes out and does it. He doesn't say much about it, doesn't complain, doesn't get all geeked up and all that.

"He just goes and plays."

Loudly. At least, Lindley's version of loud.

Kentucky recruiting needs

January, 26, 2009
1/26/09
10:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Finding some more playmakers on offense was at the top of Kentucky's to-do list this recruiting period.

In particular, the Wildcats wanted to stock up on running backs, because all they have coming back for sure next season is Alfonso Smith. Derrick Locke's knee injury was severe enough that his return in 2009 could be dicey and may require a redshirt season. Moncell Allen was a grade casualty for the bowl game, so who knows if the Wildcats will be able to count on him?

Kentucky hopes junior-college receiver Chris Matthews will be able to come in and help right away. The Wildcats didn't have much firepower at receiver after Dicky Lyons was injured last season.

Getting commitments from quarterbacks Morgan Newton of Carmel, Ind., and Ryan Mossakowski of Frisco, Texas to jump-start the class this past summer was a nice coup for the Wildcats even though junior Mike Hartline and sophomore Randall Cobb are both back.

Not losing defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, middle linebacker Micah Johnson and cornerback Trevard Lindley to the NFL draft was huge for the defense, but there are still holes to fill. The Wildcats are looking for defensive back help and also lost both of their starting outside linebackers in Johnny Williams and Braxton Kelley.

One of the keys to Kentucky's historic run of three straight bowl victories has been its increased depth on defense, and coach Rich Brooks has again made that a priority. The Wildcats do hope to get back cornerback Paul Warford, who was a starter for most of 2007, but was ineligible last season. His experience will be a bonus in the secondary.

Jarmon says there's another step for Wildcats

January, 23, 2009
1/23/09
4:05
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Kentucky was the big winner last week when the deadline to declare for the NFL draft came and went and all three players considering turning pro decided to return for their senior seasons.

All three of those players were on defense, too, which gives Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon faith that the Wildcats will be able to finish in 2009 what they started last season.

 
  Kim Klement/US Presswire
  Jeremy Jarmon chose to return to school for a chance to win the SEC East next season.

"The next step for this program and what we're working toward right now is a chance to win the SEC East," said Jarmon, who along with cornerback Trevard Lindley and middle linebacker Micah Johnson bypassed the chance to turn pro.

"By winning the East, that gives us a chance to win the SEC and go to a BCS bowl game. That's why we're back. We're back to better ourselves individually as players, but also to better the program and take the program to the next step. That's something we want to do. That's something we want to give back to this program."

In this age of take the money and run, it's refreshing to hear a player talk so eloquently about his school and the desire to give back. Granted, Jarmon, Lindley nor Johnson projected to go in the first round, but they all would have been drafted.

"We talked about it among ourselves, how we can be better on both sides of the ball if we all came back, and I have a strong feeling that we will be better," said Jarmon, who ranks third in school history with 17.5 sacks during his career.

In particular, the Wildcats should again be as good as they've been defensively under Rich Brooks. They started out on fire last season, but fell off as the injuries began to mount. Having the extra time to get some people healthy before the bowl game, they returned to form in the postseason and dominated in the second half defensively to rally past East Carolina 25-19 in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

It was Kentucky's third consecutive bowl victory, a first for the Wildcats.

"I smile when I walk into my room and see the plaques on the wall," Jarmon said. "Now, I have three on the wall and have a third bowl ring coming in April. The thing about it is that we're still hungry. We want more. We want more respect, because we still feel as a program that we don't have national respect. That's what pushes us."

Jarmon said Kentucky fans are going to like what they see out of some of the younger players on defense next season. He had a better chance to see some of those guys in action during the bowl practices.

He said redshirt freshman defensive end Collins Ukwu is destined for a big spring and has the quickness and burst to be a marquee pass-rusher. He also likes what he's seen out of sophomore defensive tackle Chandler Burden.

"I wouldn't be going out on the limb if I said he's got a chance to be one of the strongest (sophomores) in the country," Jarmon said of Burden. "He's powerful and explosive."

At linebacker, Jarmon said sophomore Danny Trevathan has just scratched the surface of what he's capable of and that senior Sam Maxwell was good enough to be a starter last season.

Throw in the return of starting defensive tackle Corey Peters, and it's easy to see why Jarmon is so enthusiastic about this defense.

"The progress of some of these young guys gives us a chance to keep this thing rolling," Jarmon said.

Nearing the completion of his political science degree, Jarmon has more than just football to keep him busy.

He's a budding actor and has already participated in a few theatrical presentations on campus. He's taking a ballroom dancing course this semester and has applied for a study-abroad program this summer and could end up spending five or six weeks in France.

"I had too much to do here to leave," Jarmon said. "We're going to finish this thing out the right way."

Lindley's return gives Kentucky's defense a boost

January, 15, 2009
1/15/09
11:07
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Nobody in the SEC was hurt more by juniors leaving early for the NFL draft than Georgia.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Knowshon Moreno and cornerback Asher Allen are all gone.

The antithesis of the Bulldogs, though, was Kentucky, which went 3-for-3 and managed to hold onto three key defenders. Cornerback Trevard Lindley, a first-team All-SEC selection, completed the sweep Wednesday when he announced that he was returning for his senior season.

Earlier, defensive end Jeremy Jarmon and middle linebacker Micah Johnson announced they would be back for their senior seasons. Johnson was a first-team All-SEC selection by the coaches, while Jarmon ranks third in school history with 17.5 sacks.

What this all means is that Kentucky should have one of the better defenses in the SEC next season. The Wildcats finished 40th nationally in total defense last season, and despite some injuries during the middle portion of the season, it's a unit that would easily rank as the best defense Rich Brooks has had at Kentucky.

The 2009 unit also has a chance to be extremely good, especially with Lindley coming back. He's the kind of lock-down cornerback who gives a defensive coordinator the flexibility to do different things with his front seven.

Lindley was not 100 percent down the stretch last season with a shoulder injury and then injured his elbow in the bowl game and sat out the second half. He still led the SEC in passes defended.

Kentucky's Jarmon to return for senior season

January, 12, 2009
1/12/09
7:52
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

As expected, Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon confirmed Monday that he would return for his senior season.

He's the second key defender for the Wildcats to announce that he was coming back. Middle linebacker Micah Johnson made up his mind to return this past weekend.

The one the Wildcats are waiting on, though, may be the longest shot to return. Cornerback Trevard Lindley is giving serious thought to declaring for the NFL draft. He's one of the best all-around defensive backs in the SEC. He had four interceptions last season and tied for the SEC lead with 11 passes broken up.

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