LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Faced with the challenge of replacing its entire starting secondary from last season’s Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State, the University of Kentucky football team needed all the returning experience it could get.
What it did not need was what happened to Davonte Robinson, the most experienced returning member of the Wildcats' secondary. The junior safety from Lexington suffered an injury to his right quadriceps in a workout Tuesday and will miss the entire 2019 season, according to UK coach Mark Stoops.
Robinson played in all 13 games last season and started three. He was expected to step into the starting role at strong safety in place of Mike Edwards, who was drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"You know, it was unique to have that amount of experience in our secondary with one group," Stoops said at SEC Media Days last week in Hoover, Alabama. "And that is hard to replace. As I mentioned, I feel like we have some inside guys -- some nickels, dimes, safeties -- that have played, that got their feet wet. Outside of corner, that's going to be the biggest issue with the experience out there."
Robinson had 42 tackles as a sophomore, three behind the line of scrimmage. He also broke up four passes and recovered two fumbles. His most memorable moment from the season was when he picked up a fumble and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown in Kentucky’s win over Florida.
In his absence, the Wildcats will fill the safety spot with less-seasoned talent. Senior safety Jordan Griffin was highly touted out of high school but has yet to live up to that billing in college. Yusuf Corker and Tyrell Allen, both redshirt sophomores, saw playing time last season but were mainly special teams contributors. Robinson’s injury also may open the door for a freshman, four-star recruit Moses Douglas, to step into the mix.
Kentucky is scheduled to begin fall camp August 2.
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