LEXINGTON, Ky. – This week’s news and notes on the Kentucky football team; be aware that John Conner and Zipp Duncan are recent additions to their respective all-star games.
Abney on SEC “All-Decade Team”: Former Wildcat Derek Abney was named to the Southeastern Conference “All-Decade Team” selected by Chris Low on ESPN.com.
The SEC All-Decade Team covered the 2000-09 seasons with the only rule being that a player had to participate in at least two seasons of the time period.
Abney, who played from 2000-03, was chosen as a kickoff returner. He averaged 24.4 yards per kickoff return during his career, with touchdown returns of 100 yards vs. Florida and 95 yards vs. Vanderbilt.
Abney also was a great punt returner and wide receiver. All totaled he broke or tied seven NCAA records, 11 SEC records and 14 school records for kickoff returns, punt returns and all-purpose yardage.
Tamme to the Super Bowl: Former Wildcat Jacob Tamme will participate in the 2010 Super Bowl on Feb. 7 as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
Tamme is in his second season as a reserve tight end and special teams performer for the Colts. He caught three passes for 35 yards during the regular season and also had nine tackles on special teams.
Tamme becomes the 25th Wildcat who played for teams that advanced to the Super Bowl that season. Prior to Tamme, the most recent was Jared Lorenzen, who was a member of the New York Giants squad that won the 2008 Super Bowl.
Conner, Lindley in Senior Bowl: Fullback John Conner and cornerback Trevard Lindley will play in the Senior Bowl, which will be held Saturday, Jan. 30 at 4 p.m. EST at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., and will be televised by the NFL Network.
Conner showed a versatile array of talents during his time at UK as a punishing blocker, capable ball carrier, reliable receiver and special teams stalwart. Used primarily as a blocker, he rushed for 254 yards and four touchdowns as a Wildcat. His average of 4.6 yards per carry is an excellent number for a fullback. He also caught 25 passes for 147 yards and four TDs. He played in a school-record 54 games.
Lindley started all 48 games in which he played during his Kentucky career. He totaled 189 tackles, 10 interceptions and a school-record 43 pass breakups during his time as a Wildcat. Lindley specialized in big plays during his career, as seven of his 10 interceptions were key plays in UK victories and an eighth pickoff helped send a game into overtime. He had two interception returns for touchdowns during his career and also had a fumble return for a TD in a Wildcat comeback victory.
Lindley is the 30th Wildcat to accept an invitation to the Senior Bowl, which is in its 61st year.
Duncan, Smith in Texas vs. the Nation Game: Offensive lineman Zipp Duncan and tailback Alfonso Smith will play in the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game, slated for Saturday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. EST in Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.
The game will be televised by the CBS College Sports cable channel. It is sponsored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Duncan was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference pick as a senior by SEC coaches and Phil Steele’s College Football. He started every game of the last three seasons, 39 consecutive starts, at left tackle, left guard and right guard. Duncan helped the Wildcats roll up a school-record 475 points during the 2007 season and the Wildcats ranked among the nation’s leaders in fewest quarterback sacks and fewest tackles for loss allowed in 2008 and ’09.
Smith is known for his blazing speed, having run the 40-yard dash in as fast as 4.24 seconds on 2009 Pro Day. He rushed for 957 yards and eight touchdowns during his Kentucky career and caught 30 passes for 322 yards and two TDs. Smith also was a stalwart on special teams, making 28 tackles in kick coverage while averaging 22.5 yards on kickoff returns.
Texas vs. the Nation is in its fourth year of existence. Duncan and Smith will be the third and fourth Wildcats to participate in the event.
Six UK Coaches Have Been Recruiting Coordinators: With the additions of Mike Summers and David Turner, six members of the Kentucky football staff have been recruiting coordinators during their collegiate coaching careers.
“Being a recruiting coordinator helps you improve as a recruiter in two areas,” Coach Joker Phillips said. “First, it sharpens your skills as an evaluator, because it requires you to think about the long-term needs of the team at every position. Second, you must become better organized, which makes you more effective in your recruiting time.”
Here’s a list of the Wildcat coaches who have been recruiting coordinators:
Joker Phillips: Kentucky 2003-04
Randy Sanders: Tennessee 1993-98, Kentucky 2008
Chuck Smith: Kentucky 2009-present
Mike Summers: Oregon State 1991, Oklahoma State 2000
Chris Thurmond: Houston 2006-07
David Turner: Vanderbilt 2003-06