Kentucky quarterback Will Levis enters the 2022 season with high expectations. His play-style, high IQ, and big arm certainly bodes well for Kentucky’s offensive success. However, there are questions surround Levis on the offensive side of the football. In this installment of making the case, we take a look at which offensive player not named Will Levis is most important to Kentucky’s offensive success.
It remains to be seen if star running back Chris Rodriguez Jr will miss any time in the regular season, stemming back to a DUI charge in early May. At Kentucky Football Media Day on Aug. 3, head coach Mark Stoops provided no comment on the status of Rodriguez, and the senior back was unavailable to speak to the media. The McDonough, Georgia native needs 1,134 yards to break Benny Snell Jr’s program career rushing record, and if he’s on the field the entire season, he’ll likely do just that. Rodriguez has garnered a reputation for being one of the toughest backs to bring down in the country, even earning comparisons to the likes of Le’Veon Bell throughout his time at UK. There are staunch options behind Rodriguez, headlined by Kavosiey Smoke and JuTahn McClain. Both are good enough to handle their fair share of snaps, but neither can equal the potential output of one of the top backs in the SEC. With Rodriguez in the backfield, Kentucky’s offense takes a significant jump. Without, the pressure piles on top of Will Levis and the backups.
Losing Wan'Dale Robinson is a hit to Kentucky's returning offensive production, but the Wildcats may not have to look any further than incoming veteran transfer Tayvion Robinson. The Virginia Tech transfer comes to Lexington with 30 starts under his belt, including 12 in 2021. He led the Hokies in receptions and receiving touchdowns last fall, and his role should expand in Kentucky's offense. Wan'Dale Robinson was the go-to playmaker when the Wildcats needed third-down conversion or a crucial play in 2021, and if the incoming Robinson can come close to replicating that in 2022, then the Wildcats will have a chance to take another step forward and compete for the SEC East in 2022.
Featured image via Tayvion Robinson Instagram