Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the Kentucky Wildcats 2019 season was the remarkable play of their secondary.

Only Ohio State allowed more touchdown passes than Kentucky’s pass defense in 2019 as UK only allowed nine scores through the air.

Over the next two days, we will take an in-depth look at the Wildcats’ impressive secondary beginning with the cornerbacks.

Brandin Echols (#26) tackles Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill (#8). Photo by Drew Brown.

Brandin Echols #26

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 5-11, 175 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Memphis, Tenn., Southaven

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star, No. 7 JUCO Cornerback in 2019

In his first year as a Kentucky Wildcat, Brandin Echols made a name for himself in 2019. A product of Northwest Mississippi Community College, Echols chose UK to be where he finishes his final two years of college eligibility.

As a Junior in 2019, he recorded 54 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a strip-sack and led the Wildcats with nine pass breakups. His best game came close to home when he recorded a career-high 10 tackles against Mississippi State while also picking up a strip-sack that was recovered by Kentucky.

He was named an honorable mention by Pro Football Focus as a Flex Defender after grading out among the best in the country and will look to duplicate that success in 2020.

Kelvin Joseph (#1) during a spring practice. Photo: UK Athletics.

Kelvin Joseph #1

Class: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6-1, 197 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Baton Rouge La., Scotlandville Magnet

247 Recruit Rankings: 4-star, No. 5 Safety in 2018 (signed with LSU); Transferred to UK (2019)

LSU transfer and defensive back Kelvin Joseph will make his long-awaited Kentucky debut in 2020 and likely jump right into the starting lineup.

Joseph played his first college season with the Tigers in 2018 playing in 11 games in which he recorded 12 tackles and one pass breakup. He opted to transfer to Kentucky in September of 2019 and was forced to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules.

Now free to play, Joseph enters 2020 with up to three years of college ball left and a chance to make an immediate impact on his new squad.

Cedrick Dort speaks with the media ahead of Kentucky’s matchup with Eastern Michigan. Photo: Aaron Gershon/Big Blue Insider

Cedrick Dort Jr.#3

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 5-11, 183 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Dwyer

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star, No. 157 Cornerback in 2017

Cedrick Dort enters 2020 fresh off a breakout season. Dort played in nine games as a true freshman in 2017 and then redshirted in 2018.

In 2019, he started 12 games at cornerback in which he totaled 16 tackles, one forced fumble and finished third on the team with five pass breakups. Dort was named an honorable mention cornerback by Pro Football Focus after he went the entire season without allowing a touchdown.

He will look to keep receivers out of the end zones and maintain his starting role as a junior in 2020.

Jamari Brown (#32) making a tackle vs. Arkansas. Photo by Brandon Turner.

Jamari Brown #32

Class: Redshirt Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6-1, 197 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Sunrise Fla., Blanche Ely

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star, No. 74 Cornerback in 2018

Jamari Brown enters his redshirt sophomore looking to build off a strong 2019 season.

After sitting out in 2018, Brown played in 11 games and made three starts in 2019. He finished the season with 36 total tackles, a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery, and finished second on the team only behind Echols with seven pass breakups.

Brown likely will be the fourth corner on the depth chart entering the season, but strong play could work himself back up quickly.

M.J. Devonshire. Photo: UK Athletics.

M.J. Devonshire #36

Class: Redshirt Freshman

Height/Weight: 5-11, 179 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Aliquippa, Pa., Aliquippa

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

Pennsylvania native M.J. Devonshire will be entering his redshirt freshman season with the Wildcats in 2020.

He joined UK’s entire 2019 recruiting class in taking a redshirt year as he was held to three games in which he totaled five tackles and a pass breakup.

Jalen Geiger. Photo: UK Athletics

Jalen Geiger #34

Class: Redshirt Freshman

Height/Weight: 6-1, 190 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Columbia, S.C., Spring Valley

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star, No. 82 Cornerback in 2019

Jalen Geiger will also be entering his redshirt freshman season with the Wildcats.

A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Geiger opted to move north to Lexington despite an offer from his hometown South Carolina Gamecocks. He played in three games as a true freshman in 2019, recording a tackle and pass breakup.

Andu Phillips headshot. Photo: UK Athletics.

Andru Phillips #25

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 6-1, 178 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Mauldin, S.C., S.C., Mauldin

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star, No. 46 Cornerback in 2020

Andru Phillips will follow his father’s footsteps as he begins his college career with the Wildcats this fall. Andru is the son of Carlos Phillips, who played linebacker for the Wildcats under Jerry Claiborne.

He chose the Wildcats despite offers from South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech Georgia and several others. Phillips was among one of UK’s early enrollees upon signing.

Carrington Valentine and his family with the UK coaching staff. Photo: @run_carri7 on Twitter

Carrington Valentine #TBD

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 6-0, 178 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Cincinnati, Ohio, Moeller

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star, No. 90 Cornerback in 2020

Carrington Valentine is the second cornerback Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops signed to their 2020 class.

A native of Cincinnati, Valentine played both Basketball and Football in high school and held offers from Michigan State and Pittsburgh but chose the Wildcats instead.

 

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