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Could Kentucky Be Positioned to Add Two More Major Players From Michigan?


Kentucky has gone into Michigan the last two years to sign linebacker DeAndre Square along with defensive linemen Marquan McCall and Justin Rogers.

Square has played in 25 games in two years with 13 starts. The 365-pound McCall has played in 21 games in two years and is expected to be a dominant force in the defensive front this year just like Square will be at linebacker with his speed and experience.

“McCall is a powerful man,” new UK defensive line coach Anwar Stewart said. “Put him in a 5 by 5 box and you will not not find a quicker, faster guy for his size. He plays with a really good pad level. We’ve got to get his weight down some and get his cardio better. When we do, he will be a handful this year for anybody.”

This year Kentucky added five-star Justin Rogers, a top 20 national recruit — the highest rating of any player coach Mark Stoops has signed at UK.

“Justin Rogers is just a strong, powerful man,” new Kentucky defensive line coach Anwar Stewart said. “He and Marquan played together in high school and know each other well, which is a help for him.”

Now Kentucky is back in Michigan looking to add two more star players — Damon Payne and Rayshun Benny. Payne, a five-star recruit, is the top-rated player in Michigan and the No. 1 defensive tackle in the country. Benny is rated as the 20th best offensive tackle in the nation and sixth best overall player in Michigan.

Rogers told me Tuesday night they are both “really good football players” and he hopes they will both pick Kentucky.

“We are looking and trying to see where their heads are at right now,” Rogers said.

But he did admit what Square and McCall have already done at UK influenced him and their success along with Rogers picking Kentucky could end up having a big impact on Payne and Benny, too.

Larry Vaught
Larry Vaught is a seven-time winner of the Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year award and has covered University of Kentucky sports since 1975. Larry now has a syndicated UK sports column appearing in 34 newspapers across the state as well as, and Larry also joins Mark Buerger and Anthony White on WLAP Sunday Morning Sports each week in Lexington as well as appearing each Tuesday with Tom Leach on The Leach Report.

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