Kentucky Football: 3 players with most to prove in 2020

Terry Wilson, Kentucky football (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Terry Wilson, Kentucky football (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Coming off a 7-5 season ending with a win in the Belk Bowl, Kentucky football will need returning players to step up if they want to improve.

When the Wildcats finally do take the field again at Kroger Field, they will be coming in with tons of expectations which has been pretty uncommon over the past few years in Lexington.

With a defense last season that ranked No. 2 in the country against the pass, No. 14 in scoring defense and No. 21 total defense to go along with a potent rushing attack and a dominant offensive line, the Wildcats are poised for yet another magical season like they had in 2018.

After starting quarterback Terry Wilson went down with a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the season, the Wildcats relied even more heavily on a relentless ground attack led by the converted wide out to quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. who was undoubtedly the heart and soul of last years team.

Unfortunately for Kentucky, Bowden decided to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

Despite this, the Wildcats still return all three of their work-horse running backs who lead the way along with Bowden. In fact, Bowden led the team in both receiving and in rushing yards despite switching to the quarterback position after five games. He only recorded 327 receiving yards.

Though poised for a big year in 2020, the Wildcats need players on both side of the ball to step up. Here are the three Wildcats that have the most to prove coming into this season.

Honorable Mention(s): A.J. Rose and Chris Rodriguez Jr.

These two guys were such a vital part of the running attack last season that it would be criminal to not at least mention these two.

After Wilson went down, the passing game was almost non-existent at times. For five straight games last season, Sawyer Smith and Lynn Bowden Jr. failed to throw for 100 yards in five straight games. Due to little to no legitimate passing attack, A.J. Rose and Chris Rodriguez Jr. stepped up big time, rushing for a combined 1,300 yards on the year.

Though these two had respectable seasons on the ground, both running backs will have to prove they can do more than just carry the rock.

Rose and Rodriguez need to prove they can be effective pass blockers in the passing game, which was the biggest area of concern for the Wildcats last season once Wilson went down.

If Rose or Rodriguez can be effective receiver out of the backfield, that will be an added weapon to an offense that must improve their aerial attack if they want any success in a shortened, SEC-only schedule.