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NCAA Football Kentucky WildcatsSEC Football

Kentucky Wildcats Hope to Have Donte Rumph Back in Fall

Randy Sartin, USA TODAY SPORTS

Donte Rumph, who was a key contributor on the defensive line for the Kentucky Wildcats last season, was injured during spring practice earlier this week. If Rumph were to miss significant time, it would be a big blow for a defense that is retooling under new Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops.

Stoops said on Friday that Rumph will likely miss the rest of spring drills, but that he is expected to return for fall camp. That would be very good news for the Wildcats. The defensive line is expected to be one of the top units for UK this fall, with Rumph, Mister Cobble and Tristian Johnson all returning from last season.

The additions of Za’Darius Smith, a junior college transfer, and Alvin “Bud” Dupree, a converted linebacker, will add to the depth on the D-Line for Kentucky.

Rumph, listed a 6-3 and 323 pounds, had 36 tackles last season, including four sacks. He had six tackles for loss and also forced a fumble.

With Kentucky’s switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, Rumph will be an important cog in the middle of the defensive line. His health will be important for Stoops and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot during their first season in Lexington.

Kentucky has many holes on both sides of the ball, but defensive line shouldn’t be anything that Stoops and his staff need to worry about. The health of Rumph, and the continued improvement of Cobble and Johnson, should let the coaching staff focus on other areas of the defense that need to be fixed. Among those positions are linebackers and cornerbacks.

If Rumph can be healthy heading into the 2013 season, that should allow Kentucky to be better on defense, and improvement that is definitely needed in Lexington if the Wildcats are to improve on last year’s 2-10 season.