LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky will field the second-most experienced offensive line in the Southeastern Conference in 2009, based on the number of games started by returning players.
UK has seven returning offensive linemen who have combined to start 86 games in their careers, including senior tackle Zipp Duncan (26 starts), senior tackle Justin Jeffries (22), senior guard Christian Johnson (15), senior center Jorge Gonzalez (13), sophomore guard Jake Lanefski (4), junior tackle Brad Durham (3) and sophomore tackle Billy Joe Murphy (3).
Only Georgia, whose returning O-linemen have started 99 games, has a more experienced group by that mode of measurement. Research was done by Darren Everson for his article in The Wall Street Journal that studied the experience of offensive lines for teams across the country.
The list of SEC teams is as follows:
Georgia 99 total starts
South Carolina 71
Ole Miss 68
Miss. State 63
Gonzalez on Rimington Watch List: Senior center Jorge Gonzalez has been named to the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the top center in college football.
Gonzalez (Tampa, Fla.) proved to be a steady presence last year, which was his first season as a starter. He was named the team’s Most Improved Offensive Player for the season as he helped lead the Wildcats to a third-straight bowl victory. As a unit, the offensive line ranked fourth nationally and led the SEC in fewest sacks allowed. UK also ranked 11th in the nation in fewest tackles for loss allowed.
Lindley, M. Johnson in SEC Top 30: Cornerback Trevard Lindley and linebacker Micah Johnson were listed among the Southeastern Conference top-30 players by Chris Low of ESPN.com.
Lindley was rated No. 8 among the league players, including all positions. Lindley was a second-team All-American last season and a consensus first-team All-SEC pick. He made four interceptions and 11 pass breakups, leading the SEC in total passes defended per game.
Johnson was No. 28 on the list. He was first-team Coaches All-SEC choice last year, totaling 93 tackles despite missing two and one-half games because of injury.
Four Wildcats Will Play 2009 Season as Graduates: Four Kentucky football players will play their senior season in 2009 having already received their bachelor’s degrees at last weekend’s graduation ceremonies.
The grad Cats, along with their majors and tentative plan of study in the fall of 2009, include:
Tight end Ross Bogue, Community and Leadership Development, will work toward a second major or begin studies toward his Master’s in Business Administration
Offensive tackle Zipp Duncan, Kinesiology, will work toward a second major
Cornerback Trevard Lindley, Art Studio, will work toward a second major in Family Studies
Mikhail Mabry, Kinesiology, will work toward a second major
Spring Attendance in Top 25: Kentucky’s crowd of 20,200 for the Blue/White Game ranked in the nation’s top 25 for this year’s spring game attendances.
The turnout also rated as the second-largest spring-game crowd in school history, according to available records.
The Wildcats are accustomed to being in the top 25 in regular-season attendance. UK has ranked in the nation’s top 25 every season but one since expanding the stadium in 1999.