The Kentucky Wildcats are a team in the midst of transition. They have a new head coach with Mark Stoops looking to move the Cats up the standings of highly competitive SEC. There is more transition happening, however, than just at the top as players look to adjust to the new coaching philosophies taking hold in Lexington. No player exemplifies that transition more than junior Alvin Dupree who will make the move from outside linebacker to defensive end next fall and make the move look easy.
Last season, Dupree was able to lead the team in getting to the quarterback, recording 6.5 sacks from his linebacker position without rushing the passer on every down. He finished second on the team with 91 tackles on top of that, including 12.5 tackles for loss. He was a consistent presence in the backfield while playing off the line of scrimmage and should be an even greater presence putting his hand in the dirt next season.
Kentucky needs to turn up the pressure with playmakers on the defensive line in 2013 if they hope to jumpstart their turnaround in the SEC. Stoops is putting his best pass-rusher in a position to rush the passer on a much more consistent basis which should make Dupree a natural fit as a defensive end. It will allow him to more consistently use his athleticism and speed off the edge.
While every player who moves to a new position doesn’t become a success, Kentucky should have no worries about Dupree in 2013. His skill set should make him a quick fit at defensive end and could make him one of the surprise defensive end talents of the SEC.