Kentucky football: Jordan Wright cleared to play against Florida

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One of Kentucky football’s suspended players is set to return to the field for the No. 20 Wildcats’ game against No. 12 Florida on Saturday.

Super senior outside linebacker Jordan Wright is back with the team after missing the season opener against Miami, Ohio, UK tweeted Thursday. Wright was one of at least two players unavailable due to an undisclosed off-field issue in Game 1.

Leading running back Chris Rodriguez, the SEC’s leading running back, was also suspended for the game. Speaking after practice on Thursday, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said there was no update on Rodriguez’s status yet.

In four seasons at Kentucky, Wright had 106 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 42 games with 12 starts. After being limited to nine games a year ago, Wright opted to return to the UK to use the extra year of eligibility given to all players in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Wright available, Kentucky can make more use of its 3-4 base defense with two outside linebackers on the field at once, which could be especially important against star Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. In Game 1, Kentucky had to face outside linebacker JJ Weaver in those situations or use freshman nickel Alex Afari as an extra defensive back.

“You have a lot of time to take advantage,” Wright said during preseason camp of training with him and Weaver on the court together. “You have the speed to beat the tackles to get to the quarterback. We can also reduce coverage. It’s good for us. Versatile in this position. »

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Super senior linebacker Jordan Wright is available to play for Kentucky football in Florida after being suspended for the 2022 season opener. Silas Walker [email protected]

Rodriguez is still expected to miss several games, although Stoops declined to comment publicly on the length of the suspension.

On Monday, Stoops said the decision on whether to return suspended players would come from above him in the university’s administration. He expressed frustration at not having a definitive answer yet, speculating that the Labor Day holiday had delayed a decision.

“If I could say it, I would,” Stoops said. “It’s so simple. I’m not trying to hold anything back. I can’t be clearer than that. I was advised not to. I can’t say.

“Anyone who is hurt, hurt, things that exist, I’ve been telling you for 10 years. I think you can understand that it’s not in my hands.

This story was originally published September 8, 2022 2:43 p.m.

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Jon Hale is the University of Kentucky football beat writer for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He joined the Herald-Leader in 2022 but has been covering British athletics for over 10 years. Hale was named Kentucky’s 2021 Sportswriter of the Year.

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