The Kentucky Wildcats have been among the most efficient teams in the Southeastern Conference the past two seasons at getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. A big reason for that is the work of Wildcat defensive ends.

In 2019, defensive end Calvin Taylor led the team with 8.5 sacks but is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, leaving the Wildcats in need of their four returners at the position to step up.

Here’s an in-depth look at the Wildcats group of defensive ends for 2020.

Josh Paschal (#4) blocks a punt in Kentucky’s 17-13 loss to Tennessee at Kroger Field. Photo by Brandon Turner.

Josh Paschal #4

Class: Redshirt Junior

Height/Weight: 6-4, 274 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Prince George’s County, Md., Our Lady of Good Counsel

247 Recruit Rankings: 4-star, No. 11 Same-Side Defensive End in 2017

Josh Paschal will move back to his natural defensive end position after spending 2019 at outside linebacker. Paschal arrived in Lexington in 2017 and played in all 13 games in which he recorded 17 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and blocked a punt.

In 2018, Paschal took a redshirt season as he was held to three games after he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma during the offseason. He returned to the field full time in 2019, where he moved to the outside linebacker position. There he started in all 13 games totaling 34 tackle, 9.5 tackles for loss 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a blocked punt.

Back at his natural position and at full health, Paschal will look to put together a career-year for the Wildcats as a redshirt junior.

Kordell Looney speaks with the media after Kentucky’s 29-21 loss to Florida. Photo: Bradley McKee/B-Roll Productions 

Kordell Looney #59

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6-3, 290 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Springfield, Ohio., Springfield 

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star, No. 57 Defensive Tackle in 2016

Kordell Looney has quietly been a solid contributor for the Wildcats each of the past three seasons. After redshirting in 2016, Looney played in 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2017, recording 10 tackles.

In 2018, Looney played in all 13 games for the 10-win Wildcats recording 15 tackles and, in 2019, again played in all 13 games, including making a start against Mississippi State. He finished his junior year with nine tackles, two tackles for losses, a sack and two forced fumbles.

Looney will look to push for a starting job opposite Paschal on Kentucky’s defensive line with Taylor in the NFL.

Isaiah Gibson’s 2019 recruiting poster. Photo: UK Athletics.

Isaiah Gibson #95

Class: Redshirt Freshman

Height/Weight: 6-3, 290 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Springfield, Ohio., Springfield 

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star, No. 48 Defensive Tackle in 2019

Like Looney, Isaiah Gibson is a product of Springfield, Ohio, entering 2020, seeking a more significant role with the Wildcats.

The former three-star recruit redshirted in 2019 as he appeared in just one game. Gibson will look to earn playing time and get after the passer in his second year in Lexington.

Collin Hartmann head shot. Photo: UK Athletics.

Collin Hartmann #69

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6-4, 264 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Somerset Ky., Somerset 

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star

Somerset, Kentucky native Collin Hartmann will be entering his Junior year as a preferred walk-on with the Wildcats.

Hartmann practiced with the Cats in 2018 and in 2019 made his collegiate debut in UK’s 50-7 win over U-T Martin and recorded a quarterback hurry.

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