HOOVER, Alabama (KT) — Kentucky could be without one of its top returning offensive weapons next season.
Returning tight end Keaton Upshaw suffered an injury during summer conditioning workouts, and Kentucky coach Mark Stoops confirmed the injury to local media, ahead of his appearance at Southeastern Conference Media Days.
“That’s accurate,” Stoops said. “He has an injury and we will assess it. Traditionally speaking, that is a season-ending injury, but we will see and we will need to confirm that. I don’t have any more news other than that at this point.”
Upshaw was one of the team’s most productive players in the passing game last season and hauled in 16 catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns.
“I saw him this morning and I feel terrible for him,” Stoops said. “I know he’s very down. He has had a remarkable summer. He really has been on point, working extremely hard. … I’m just very disappointed for him. We’ll see where it goes.”
Stoops said Justin Rigg and Brenden Bates and newcomer Jordan Dingle are options for the Wildcats if Upshaw isn’t able to play this season.
“They have a tone of experience and they’re both extremely good players,” Stoops said. “We like having a lot of tight ends with what we’re doing offensively.”
EIGHT STILL GREAT
After playing 10 league games last season, Stoops remains in favor of keeping the current format eight conference games within a 12-game schedule.
“I wondered if people watched last year,” Stoops said. “The league, there was quite a few people that struggled, if anybody took notice of that. So that's how I feel.”
The Wildcats finished 4-6 last season while playing an All-SEC schedule. Kentucky defeated North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl and won five games in 11 contests.
Kentucky chief of staff Dan Berenzowich is still on suspension following his arrest last month.
Berenzowitch was arrested and charged with fourth degree assault without visible injury after being
observed in a video allegedly involved in a physical altercation with his wife.
“He’s out right now (and) he’s suspended," Stoops said. "That’s (still) a university investigation. You know how serious we take all of those allegations, and our university is. We’re in the process of going through that investigation.”
After media days was canceled last season because of the pandemic, Stoops was happy to be back among his peers to talk about the upcoming season and continues to educate his players the importance of being prepared this year, concerning the vaccine.
“We just try to educate them as best we can and put the facts in front of them,” Stoops said. “It’s a personal choice. I want our experts to talk to them, show them the statistics and let each player make their own, personal decision.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.