Northern Illinois offensive lineman Evan Bass (right) blocks Kentucky defensive tackle Deon Walker during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)
Iowa football fans may get a sense of déjà vu this week as the Hawkeyes once again face Kentucky in a bowl game.
However, the Kentucky team Iowa faces in the Music City Bowl has some differences from the Kentucky team that defeated Iowa in the Citrus Bowl on January 1.
The Wildcats’ five (or six or seven) notable players are:
DL Deon Walker
Deone Walker made an impact on the defensive line early in his college career.
A true freshman defensive lineman has 5 quarterback Harleys, 3.5 tackles for loss, 39 total tackles and 1 sack.
He earned all SEC Second Team honors from the AP. It was the first time a true Kentucky native his freshman has earned all SEC honors from the AP since his 2014 season.
QB Destin Wade or QB Kaiya Sheron or QB Deuce Hogan (or all of the above)
Kentucky has yet to formally name a starting quarterback for the Music City Bowl, listing three options on its pre-bowl depth chart.
Destin Wade, Kaiya Sheron, and Deuce Hogan, all three would be interesting for different reasons.
Hogan is the least likely of the three, but will be the most interesting to Iowa fans as he will be playing against his former team.
Hogan moved from Iowa to Kentucky last year after attempting one pass in his first two seasons with Iowa City.
Days before Hogan’s departure, Iowa coach Kirk Ferencz joked that if the Hawkeyes had to start Hogan against Nebraska, he “could have stayed in Iowa City.” .
Wade, a former four-star recruit who chose Kentucky over Tennessee, makes his Kentucky debut near where he grew up.
He was born in Nashville and attended high school in a suburb about 30 miles southwest of Nissan Stadium.
“He’s a winner,” Kentucky Associate Head Coach Vince Mallow said of Wade, according to the Lexington Herald Reader. won a high league.He can do all the throws.He’s athletic.”
Sheron, meanwhile, is one option for the Wildcats with past game experience this season. He went 17-for-29 in four games, throwing two touchdowns and one interception.
WR Baryon Brown
This game, like Wade, is the homecoming of Nashville native Baryon Brown.
But that’s not the only reason Brown will be a player to watch.
Former 5 Star Recruit Brown is having a great and true freshman season.
He has 45 catches for 604 receiving yards, both team-highs.
One of Brown’s best matches was against national champion Georgia. The freshman recorded 10 catches for 145 yards against a defense that allowed him just 12.8 points per game.
RB Jutan McLain
Jutan McLain is far from the center of Kentucky’s offense during the regular season.
His 49 carries with 244 rushing yards were third for the Wildcats behind fellow running backs Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Cabozy Smoke.
However, Rodriguez opted out of bowl games in preparation for the NFL Draft, and Smoke entered the transfer portal.
So Fairfield, Ohio was born as the number one running back in the Music City Bowl, which relies heavily on running the ball in Kentucky’s offense.
DB Jordan Lovett
Jordan Lovett is another young player who has contributed to the Wildcats.
The redshirt freshman defensive back is tied for the team lead with two interceptions.
Lovett has taken at least 50 snaps in all but two Kentucky games this season, according to Pro Football Focus.
According to the Kentucky player’s bio, one word to describe the former three-star recruit is ‘lit’.