With J.D. Harmon out, UK could use Nate Willis

With the news tonight that sophomore cornerback J.D. Harmon will not be with the team this season, Kentucky could sure use Nate Willis.

Willis is a 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback from Phokee, Florida who is still working to get eligible for this season. He and fellow juco transfer Melvin Lewis, a 6-4, 29o-pound defensive lineman, have yet to arrive at UK’s fall camp.

“We would love to have Nate and hopefully we’ll get him here sooner than later,” cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley said after tonight’s practice. “He’s a good player coming in, but we’ve got to get him here and get him in our system and develop him also. But until then, we’ve got to continue to develop the guys we’ve got.”

Based on spring practice, the UK media guide listed sophomore Cody Quinn as the starter at one corner, backed up by junior Eric Simmons, sophomore transfer Cantrell McKinley, redshirt freshman Cody Lewis and sophomore Rodney Cox. Fred Tiller, a sophomore, was listed as the starter at the other corner, backed up by Harmon. Now, sophomore Jerry Williams would be second on the depth chart, followed by junior R.J. Williams.

True freshman Jaleel Hytchye will surely get a long look now at corner. Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot had listed Hytchye as one of the rookies who could get immediate playing time. Blake McClain is another true freshman who is on campus going through drills.

Eliot was asked Tuesday about the loss of Harmon, who led the team with two interceptions a year ago.

“We’ve got a next-man-up mentality, you know,” said the defensive coordinator. “Whoever we have for game 1 will be the guy that plays. We don’t fret. Our players know that. Whoever the next guy is he steps up and plays.”

Who is the next guy?

“We don’t know.” Eliot said. “We’ll find out.”

Here is video of Ansley after tonight’s practice.

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