The Kentucky Wildcats special teams unit had some all-time highs and lows in 2019.

For the first time in school history, a Kentucky punter took home the Ray Guy Award. However, UK could not find a steady starter at kicker, which cost them a chance to beat Florida for a second straight year.

In 2020, Kentucky brings back the nations’ top punter but will have another battle at kicker and will need to replace a four-year starter at long snapper in Blake Best. Here’s how the Cats special teams unit looks heading into 2020.

Matt Ruffolo (#96) celebrates his 50 yard field goal. Photo by Brandon Turner.

Kicker, Matt Ruffolo #96

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 5-11, 209 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Centerville, Ohio, Archbishop Alter

247 Recruit Rankings: Unranked

Matt Ruffolo had a whirlwind of a 2019 season. After not seeing any action in 2017 or 2018, Ruffolo entered 2019 as the backup to Chance Poore.

After Poore struggled early in the season, Ruffolo took over and at first saw success as he drilled a 50-yard field goal in a victory over Arkansas. Then, the Kentucky kicking woes struck him as he missed two extra points against Missouri and was pulled from the starting role. He later reclaimed the job and converted a 45-yard field goal against Louisville and 40-yarder against Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl. In total, he made 4-5 of his field goal attempts and 18-20 of his extra points.

He will look to win the starting job during camp this offseason.

Chance Poore (#12) reacts to missing a potential game winning field goal vs. Florida. Photo by Brandon Turner.

Kicker, Chance Poore #12

Class: Redshirt Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6-2, 215 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Anderson, S.C., Westside

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star, No. 13 Kicker in 2018

2019 was a rough year for former 3-star recruit Chance Poore. Poore earned the starting job during the summer after he made three starts in 2018 but could not hold onto his starting gig for long.

Poore missed a 35-yard field goal against Florida that likely would’ve given Kentucky a victory and 26-yard field goal the following week against Mississippi State that led to Mark Stoops making a change. He’d earn his starting job back later in the season for two games, but Ruffolo started both the Louisville game and Belk Bowl to end the year. In total, Poore made just 55.6 of his field goal attempts (5-9) and 92.3% of his extra point attempts (24-26).

He will battle Ruffolo for the starting job later this offseason.

Sam Babbush headshot. Photo: UK Athletics.

Kicker, Sam Babbush #38

Class: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 5-10, 166 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Beachwood, Ohio, Beachwood

247 Recruit Rankings: Unranked

Beachwood, Ohio native Sam Babbush enters his second season with the Wildcats.

The Wildcat walk-on will be the third kicker on the Kentucky depth chart. He chose to attend UK over Akron, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Florida Atlantic.

Max Duffy Ray Guy Award Poster. Photo: UK Athletics.

Punter, Max Duffy #93

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6-1, 185 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Perth, Australia, Curtin/Kent Street

247 Recruit Rankings: 3-star, No. 8 Punter in 2018

Max Duffy enters his final college season fresh off a historic 2019 season. The former professional rugby star earned star status for his punting abilities on the gridiron.

Duffy was named Kentucky’s first Ray Guy Award winner as the best punter in the nation after he led the nation by averaging 48.1 yards per punt, had 24 of 49 punts landed inside the 20-yard line, nailed 22 punts of 50-plus yards, ran a fake punt for 26 yards and booted a 70-yard punt against Missouri and averaged a career-best 57.7 yards per punt on three punts for 173 yards vs. UT Martin.

In addition to the Ray Guy Award, Duffy was named both a First-Team All-American and First-Team All-SEC by the Associated Press.

Colin Goodfellow headshot. Photo: UK Athletics.

Punter, Colin Goodfellow #94

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6-2, 237 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Cleveland, Ohio, St. Ignatius

247 Recruit Rankings: Unranked

Colin Goodfellow enters his final season as a Wildcat walk-on.

Goodfellow has yet to see any action since walking on in 2017 but has practiced with the team and earned SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll honors twice.

Cade Degraw. Photo: Cade Degraw on Twitter

Long Snapper, Cade Degraw #51

Class: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 5-11, 206 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Lake Cormorant, Miss., Lake Cormorant

247 Recruit Rankings: Unranked

Cade Degraw enters his second season with the Wildcats poised to take over as the Cats long snapper.

Four-year starter Blake Best graduated leaving the Mississippi native Degraw in a two-man race with Jordan Morrow for the job this offseason.

Jordan Morrow (#54) and Chance Martin (#28). Photo: Jordan Morrow on Twitter.

Long Snapper, Jordan Morrow #54

Class: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6-1, 210 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Louisville Ky., St. Xavier

247 Recruit Rankings: Unranked

Louisville native Jordan Morrow will enter his second season with the Wildcats.

The St. Xavier alum will challenge fellow sophomore long snapper Cade Degraw for the starting job later this offseason.

Zach Johnson celebrates his big special teams hit in the Belk Bowl vs. Virginia Tech. Photo by Drew Brown.

Kick Returner/Gunner, Zach Johnson #28

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 5-11, 190 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Cincinnati, Ohio, Colerain

247 Recruit Rankings: Unranked

Hard-hitting special team gunner Zach Johnson will return to UK for his senior season in 2020.

Johnson is best known for his big hits in 2018 against Mississippi State and in the 2019 Belk Bowl against Virginia Tech. He also returned six kicks for an average of 27.3 yards last season, including a 58-yard return against Georgia.

Michael Drennen II recruiting poster. Photo: UK Athletics.

Running Back/Defensive Back, Michael Drennen II #TBD

Class: Freshman

Height/Weight: 5-11, 196 lbs.

Hometown/High School: Dublin, Ohio, Coffman 

247 Recruit Rankings: 4-star, No. 6 All-Purpose Back in 2020

Micheal Drennen is one of the highest-rated recruits to choose Kentucky in program history.

Drennen is listed by UK as a defensive back but is best known for his abilities at running back; thus, it is yet to be seen which side of the ball Drennen will play on upon arrival in Lexington.

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