July 26, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Former University of Kentucky football stars DeQuin Evans, Mike Hartline, Derrick Locke, Ricky Lumpkin and Chris Matthews have agreed to sign as undrafted free agents to begin their dreams of playing in the National Football League.
Evans agreed to terms with the Cincinnati Bengals; Hartline will sign with the Indianapolis Colts; Locke will join the Minnesota Vikings; Lumpkin will sign with the Arizona Cardinals; Matthews will head to the Cleveland Browns organization. None of the players will sign until they officially report to the team later this week.
“I am very happy that these five guys are going to get their chance at playing in the National Football League,” UK head coach Joker Phillips said. “These signings really speak to the growth of the program that we have had here at Kentucky. We have now had 32 players sign NFL contracts over the last four years and that speaks volumes to the success we have been able to have. I look forward to watching these five play on Sundays in the future.”
Evans, a native of Long Beach, Calif., played in 25 games and started 20 in his two years in Lexington, gathering 54 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup. Evans was a fourth-team All-Southeastern Conference selection as a junior after being named the team’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player by the UK coaching staff and leading the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.
Hartline developed into a strong quarterback for Kentucky in his three years as a starter. The native of Canton, Ohio, played in 33 games with 26 starts for UK, completing 523-of-855 passes for 5,680 passing yards and 38 touchdowns. Hartline was splendid his senior year, completing 66.2 percent of his passes for 3,178 yards and 23 touchdowns. Hartline’s name is all over the UK record books as he finished his career ranked fourth in career passing yards, career pass completions and career completion percentage, while also sitting at fifth on the UK record list in career touchdown passes.
Lumpkin, a native of Clarksville, Tenn., spent four successful seasons with the Wildcats, becoming a fan favorite during his tenure. Lumpkin played in 44 games for UK, starting 29 games, including every game in 2009 and 2010. In his four years, Lumpkin totaled 82 stops, three sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery. Lumpkin, who is known as a vocal and emotional leader, was given credit for a fiery speech at halftime against Vanderbilt in 2010 that inspired the Wildcats to a comeback win on Senior Day.
Locke had a fantastic career with Kentucky, earning several All-SEC honors, including being named first-team All-SEC kickoff returner by CollegeFootballNews.com and a second-team All-SEC all-purpose player by the Associated Press in 2009. In his four seasons at Kentucky, Locke had 518 rushing attempts for 2,618 yards and 22 rushing touchdowns. The native of Hugo, Okla., ranks sixth all-time on UK’s career rushing leaders list, third all-time in career all-purpose yards and first in career kickoff return average.
Matthews had a great two-year career with the Wildcats, playing in every game since he stepped foot on campus as a junior-college transfer in 2009. The native of Los Angeles made 93 receptions for a total of 1,279 yards and 12 touchdowns while at Kentucky. In 2010, Matthews nearly doubled his number of receptions from the year before while also tripling his number of receiving yards. For his efforts, Matthews was named to the All-SEC second team last season by Phil Steele’s College Football.