Kentucky recruiting needs

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Finding some more playmakers on offense was at the top of Kentucky's to-do list this recruiting period.

In particular, the Wildcats wanted to stock up on running backs, because all they have coming back for sure next season is Alfonso Smith. Derrick Locke's knee injury was severe enough that his return in 2009 could be dicey and may require a redshirt season. Moncell Allen was a grade casualty for the bowl game, so who knows if the Wildcats will be able to count on him?

Kentucky hopes junior-college receiver Chris Matthews will be able to come in and help right away. The Wildcats didn't have much firepower at receiver after Dicky Lyons was injured last season.

Getting commitments from quarterbacks Morgan Newton of Carmel, Ind., and Ryan Mossakowski of Frisco, Texas to jump-start the class this past summer was a nice coup for the Wildcats even though junior Mike Hartline and sophomore Randall Cobb are both back.

Not losing defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, middle linebacker Micah Johnson and cornerback Trevard Lindley to the NFL draft was huge for the defense, but there are still holes to fill. The Wildcats are looking for defensive back help and also lost both of their starting outside linebackers in Johnny Williams and Braxton Kelley.

One of the keys to Kentucky's historic run of three straight bowl victories has been its increased depth on defense, and coach Rich Brooks has again made that a priority. The Wildcats do hope to get back cornerback Paul Warford, who was a starter for most of 2007, but was ineligible last season. His experience will be a bonus in the secondary.