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ESPN.com ranks Dupree, Rumph among SEC's best lineman

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Believe it or not, the football season is less than two months away. Starting with Southeastern Conference Media Day in 10 days, we'll have plenty to talk about here on Cat Scratches, but ESPN is firing up the conversation a little early.

On Monday, Edward Aschoff released SEC positional rankings for both defensive end and defensive tackle. There is a Wildcat on each list:

3. Alvin "Bud" Dupree, Jr., Kentucky: He's moving from outside linebacker, but Dupree has been one of the best pass-rushers in the league the past two years. He has nine sacks in two years and had 12.5 tackles for loss last year. Dupree has exceptional speed off the edge and should be even more dangerous with his hand in the ground this fall.

4. Donte Rumph, Sr., Kentucky: He's been a steady player for the Wildcats over the years and with players around him getting better, he should be able to have even more freedom up front. He only had six tackles for loss last year, but posted four sacks. He can be very disruptive in both the run and pass game and with help from new coach Mark Stoops, he should really excel in his final year with the Wildcats.

With Dupree and Rumph leading the way, UK checked in at No. 8 in ESPN.com's overall defensive line rankings.

8. Kentucky: There is a lot of experience, starting with seniors Donte Rumph, Mister Cobble and Tristian Johnson at defensive tackle. Rumph, who is coming off of a spring shoulder injury, is the best of the bunch and recorded six tackles for loss and four sacks last year. Cobble is finally starting to reach his potential, and should improve on his three tackles for loss and two sacks from last year. Johnson started nine straight games to end last season. Alvin "Bud" Dupree has nine sacks in the last two years and is moving from linebacker to end this year. Helping him will be junior college transfer Za'Darius Smith, who had an exceptional spring. Incoming freshman end Jason Hatcher will also get a chance to play immediately.

Mark Stoops and D.J. Eliot earned a reputation for their defensive lines at Florida State and it appears they have some talent with which to work in their first season at UK. Particularly if UK can create some depth from among the likes of Farrington Huguenin, Thomas Chapman, Christian Coleman, Langston Newton and others, line play could be a strength.

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