Cats picked to finish fourth in SEC East

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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Kentucky was picked to finish fourth in the preseason Southeastern Conference media poll released Friday.

The Wildcats received one first-place vote and 1204 total votes from media members. Georgia was picked first, followed by Tennessee and South Carolina in the voting. Florida was fifth behind Kentucky, followed by Missouri and Vanderbilt.

The Bulldogs were picked to win the league championship, while Alabama received the nod to win the SEC West. LSU was second behind the Crimson Tide, followed by Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Auburn and Mississippi State.

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Kentucky coach Mark Stoops likes the direction his program is headed going into his 11th season.

“I feel very good about the program,” he said. “I feel good about the new additions in the players that we brought in to help us with the current roster, the nucleus that we have. I love the coaching staff. I think, obviously, the first thing that I get asked a lot about is bringing back Liam Coen. And believe me, very excited about that.”

The Bulldogs will be seeking a second straight national title and coach Kirby Smart has cautioned his team against becoming complacent.

“The threat for us is complacency,” he said. “The first thing you have to do is acknowledge that it’s a threat. Like if you acknowledge the complacency is a threat, it’s the first step towards stomping it out.”

Kentucky placed three players on the preseason All-SEC squad. Deone Walker was a second-team selection on defense, while Eli Cox was named to the third team on offense. J.J. Weaver was a third-team selection on the defensive side of the ball.

Weaver said the team goal is to get to the postseason for the eighth straight time.

“We’ve been to seven bowl games straight — if we go to eight bowl games straight, it’s a success for us,” Weaver said.