Maxwell Out of Bowl Game

Dec. 5, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky linebacker Sam Maxwell will have shoulder surgery and will miss the Wildcats' bowl game, Coach Rich Brooks announced Saturday.

Brooks said that junior Jacob Dufrene and true freshman Ridge Wilson would take Maxwell's place at strongside linebacker. The coach noted that Danny Trevathan, the weakside linebacker, would play in Maxwell's spot in the nickel package.

Maxwell had a great season as a senior. He made 80 tackles, second on the team, including 5.5 tackles for loss and two caused fumbles. He has been outstanding in pass defense. He has six pass interceptions, most ever in one season by a Wildcat linebacker, and seven pass breakups. Maxwell ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in interceptions, and fifth in the league for total passes defended – remarkable feats for a linebacker.

Maxwell, from Hartwell, Ga., made a number of key plays in the Wildcats' 7-5 season. He had an interception late in the Louisville game, then knocked down the Cardinals' final pass on the last play of UK's 31-27 victory. He made a career-high 11 tackles, along with a late-game interception, in the upset win at Georgia and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week. He also had a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown against Tennessee.

Cats Return to Practice: After a week off, with the coaches recruiting and the players concentrating on studies, the Kentucky football team returned to practice Saturday morning at the Nutter Field House.

“The practice was pretty good,” Coach Rich Brooks said. “There are still guys that still have soreness and things lingering from the season, but I think we'll work through that. They'll get another whole week off and get treatment next week before we resume next weekend, but we will go tomorrow.”

The team will practice again on Sunday. The official bowl announcement is expected late Sunday afternoon, sometime after 5 p.m.

The coaches will resume recruiting Sunday night and be on the road next week. The Wildcats will return to the practice field Dec. 12-14.

Brooks also was asked about the importance of the weekend in terms of recruiting, with numerous prospects in town to see Kentucky's 68-66 men's basketball win over North Carolina.

“Every weekend in December is important, but this is obviously a little more high profile with the North Carolina basketball game,” Brooks said. “It's certainly an opportunity to show recruits what kind of atmosphere we have with the fan support. Many of them have been here during the season and have seen it in Commonwealth and now they can see it in Rupp Arena.”

CollegeFootballNews.com -- Brooks Should be in Discussion for National Coach of the Year: Coach Rich Brooks received praise this week from Pete Fiutak in a notes column on CollegeFootballNews.com. Here is what Fiutak wrote:

“Kentucky's Rich Brooks deserves to be in the discussion of national coach of the year. His team was ravaged by injuries, he pieced together an offense around a No. 3 quarterback, and Kentucky still survived in the SEC East and is in the mix for a nice bowl game.”

Kentucky went 7-5 in the regular season, giving UK seven wins in four-straight seasons for the first time since 1909-12. Additional accomplishments from the season include:

  • Third-consecutive win over in-state rival Louisville
  • First win over Auburn since 1966
  • First win at Georgia since 1977
  • School-record 18-consecutive non-conference win streak

UK had a number of major injuries during the year. Starting quarterback Mike Hartline went down with injury during the fifth game of the season. UK went 5-2 after true freshman Morgan Newton started the last seven games. All-America cornerback Trevard Lindley was hurt in the fourth game of the year and missed four games.

CollegeFootballNews.com also provides content for Scout.com and Fox Sports.