By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky will be without its leading rusher, senior Raymond Sanders, Saturday night when the Wildcats close the season by hosting Tennessee.
“I’ll let y’all know right now, because it will be news throughout the week, but there will be one senior that will not play this week and that will be Raymond (Sanders), and he will not be permitted to play this week,” Stoops said Monday.
Kentucky had three players suspended at Georgia — defensive end Jason Hatcher, cornerback Cody Quinn and receiver Demarco Robinson. Hatcher and Quinn will be back this week, but not Robinson, the team’s best receiver in recent games. Stoops did say Robinson (20 catches for 213 yards and two scores) can return for his senior season “provided he meets some requirements that we’ll put on him” before then. He also said all the suspensions were from separate incidents.
Sanders has rushed for 464 yards and three scores and has 683 all-purpose yards. He is out for a “violation of team rules” after rumors swirled last week that he was off the team. Sanders was suspended for one game during the 2012 season for a violation of team rules under then coach Joker Phillips.
” We were working through a couple things last week, and you may or may not have heard this. You all know I got some questions on him. We got some more information back today and firmed up our decision with what I’m going to do with him on this Saturday,” Stoops said of Sanders.
Stoops said he wasn’t sure yet if Sanders, a player he praised often this season for his leadership, would go through Senior Day festivities.
“To be honest with you, I got this information about an hour ago. So let me think through that a little bit. But I’ll let you know tomorrow,” Stoops said.
Stoops called it “very disappointing” that this happened with Sanders.
“I’ve sat in here and bragged on him throughout the year. That doesn’t change my opinion of Raymond. I think he’s a good person. I am disappointed in a few decisions that he made, but he’s a good person. He was a good person for this program,” Stoops said. “Let’s not let this define him. I am disappointed; it’s not acceptable and he will not play. That’s really all I wanted to say. I don’t want to get too much into detail about that. But Raymond’s just suspended for this game. He’s not kicked off the team or anything like that. He just can’t play in this game.”