Kentucky Football Notebook: UK Top 10 in First-Time Starters

Oct. 29, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - With junior tight end Patrick Ligon getting his first career start on Saturday against Missouri, the University of Kentucky football team has now had 15 players earn the first starts of their careers this season, ranking the Wildcats top 10 nationally in that category.

Joining Ligon on the first-time starts list is true freshmen Jalen Whitlow, Zack Blaylock, Daron Blaylock and Cody Quinn, redshirt freshman Daryl Collins and Zach West, sophomores Ronnie Shields, Tyler Brause, Miles Simpson, Ashely Lowery and Demarco Robinson, and juniors Jonathan George, Tristian Johnson and Avery Williamson.

Overall, Kentucky has played 26 freshmen, fourth in the nation and only two behind the national leader.  UK has played 14 true freshmen this season, which ranks UK fifth in the nation for playing the most true frosh - again, only two behind the national leader. Of Kentucky's 80 recruited scholarship players, 55 are freshmen and sophomores.

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Landon Foster on National Freshman Performer of the Year Watch List: University of Kentucky true freshman punter Landon Foster has been named to the 2012 National Freshman Performer of the Year Watch List by the College Football Performance Awards. Foster is the lone punter on the 2012 list.

The native of Franklin, Tenn., has been impressive for Kentucky this season, receiving Honorable Mention Punter of the Week honors four times during the season. Currently, Foster ranks seventh in the Southeastern Conference and first among true freshmen in the league in punting with an average of 42.6 this season. Nationally, Foster ranks 31st and fifth among freshman punters.

Foster has punted 48 times for UK this season with an average of 42.6 yards per punt, including 10 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. His best game came at Arkansas, where he launched eight punts, including a career-best 58 yarder, for a season-high average of 48.4 yards per punt.

According to the CPFA release, the watch lists are a rough guide, highlighting freshmen whose performances merit recognition. Freshmen are not preemptively eliminated from consideration, and all players are eligible for weekly, annual, and career awards at their respective positions.

Randall Cobb Becoming Household Name in NFL: Former University of Kentucky wide receiver/quarterback Randall Cobb is having a fantastic year in the National Football League with the Green Bay Packers.

The former Wildcat All-American is leading the Packers with 42 receptions for 463 yards and four touchdowns this season. The native of Alcoa, Tenn., is averaging 11 yards per reception, while he has one punt return for a touchdown and is averaging 27.4 yards per kickoff return.

Cobb currently ranks second in the NFL in all-purpose yards with 1,161 (67 rushing; 463 receiving; 466 kickoff returns; 165 punt returns). With the all-purpose yardage, Cobb became the only the second player in Packers history to surpass 1,000 yards in the team's first seven games of the season, according to Adam Schefter of

Here is the full blurb that Schefter wrote on Cobb:

"Green Bay wide receiver Randall Cobb now has more than 1,000 combined net yards, joining Billy Grimes from 1950 as the only player in Packers history -- a storied history -- to surpass 1,000 yards in the team's first seven games of the season.

"Even before Cobb reached that milestone and caught two touchdown passes Sunday against the Rams, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was calling him one of Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson's finest draft picks.

`Randall is probably going to go down as one of the better picks in Ted Thompson's career, if not the best,' Rodgers said on ESPN Milwaukee Radio about the 64th overall pick in the second round of the 2011 draft. `I think to get him where we got him, the kind of person that he is, the approach that he has, his knowledge of the game, what he adds to our team, his locker room presence, he is a personnel and a coach's dream.'

"Strong words. Cobb also figures prominently in the Packers' future. With wide receiver Greg Jennings nursing a nagging groin injury this season and scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Cobb's role in Green Bay will remain significant and even increase."

UK Schedule One of the Toughest in the Nation: Through games of Oct. 27, Kentucky has played the toughest schedule in the nation, according to the Anderson and Hester ratings, a component of the BCS rankings.

  • UK's nine opponents have a combined record of 56-17 (.767).
  • Subtracting games played against each other, UK opponents are 51-12 (.810)
  • This marks only the second time in school history that UK has played five ranked opponents in the first eight games of the season.

Harmon Honored by College Football Performance Awards: University of Kentucky true freshman cornerback J.D. Harmon has been named Honorable Mention Defensive Back of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards for his impressive performance Saturday at Missouri.

Harmon posted a career-best seven tackles and two interceptions in the game. The native of Paducah, Ky., picked off consecutive passes to start the second half. After Missouri received the opening kickoff of the half, Harmon gathered his first career interception on the second play of the drive, adding an eight-yard return. After UK punted and Missouri got the ball back, Harmon made a diving interception on the first play of the drive.

Harmon is the first UK player since Winston Guy in the 2011 season opener against Western Kentucky to collect two interceptions in a game. Harmon's seven tackles featured four stops in run support, two of which were for no gain.  On his three tackles on pass plays, none went for more than eight yards.

The 6-foot-2, 197-pound walk-on has 13 tackles, two interceptions and two pass breakups this season.