Denzil Ware impressive sophomore season earns him preseason all-SEC honor

Denzil Ware with game-saving sack against South Carolina. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Three University of Kentucky football players earned a spot on the Preseason Media Days All-Southeastern Conference teams, it was announced Friday by the league office. Junior defensive end/linebacker Denzil Ware was named second-team defense, while junior safety Mike Edwards and junior linebacker Jordan Jones were named to the third team.

Ware, a native of Opp, Alabama, returns as one of Kentucky’s leading pass rushers as he ranked second on the team in total sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (12.0) last year. He has started in 24 of 25 career games for the Wildcats, including 19 consecutive.

Edwards led all SEC defensive backs in tackles in 2016 with 100 and was one of just six players overall in the league with 100 or more tackles on the season. He ranked second on the team and seventh overall in the SEC in tackles per game (7.7) and tied for 10th in the conference in total passes defended (11). He was a second-team Associated Press All-SEC selection, and was a third-team pick by Athlon and Phil Steele.

He had two interceptions of Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in Kentucky’s win over No. 11 Louisville in 2016, earning him SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

The Cincinnati native is currently on the watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, given to college football’s top defensive back.

Jones, of Youngstown, Ohio, was named to the first-team defense in 2016 after leading the SEC in solo tackles per game (5.7). Overall, he led UK and ranked third in the league in total tackles per game with 8.4. He finished the season with 109 tackles and led the Wildcats with 15.5 tackles for loss. 

Jones is currently on the preseason watch lists for the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player.

 

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