Seven Wildcats receive NFL Scouting Combine invitations

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UK Football helmets and ball(Lee K. Howard | Lee K. Howard)
Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 6:53 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Seven Wildcats received official “combine invitations” for the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine, the NFL announced today. The NFL Combine, normally set at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, is virtual this year under current COVID-19 health and safety protocols, but the NFL still released a full list of invitees.

The Wildcats receiving “combine invites” are nose guard Quinton Bohanna, linebacker Jamin Davis, punter Max Duffy, defensive back Brandin Echols, center Drake Jackson, defensive back Kelvin Joseph and offensive tackle Landon Young.

Bohanna, from Cordova, Tennessee, had 10 tackles in 2020 and his efficiency in controlling the center of the line prompted Pro Football Focus to name him second-team All-Southeastern Conference. He finished his career with nine tackles for loss, two sacks and four pass breakups.

Davis, from Ludowici, Georgia, was the breakout star of the 2020 season for UK, totaling a team-high 102 tackles. The middle linebacker saw his first extensive playing time and didn’t disappoint, tallying double-digit tackles in seven of the 10 games he played, including becoming the first UK player to record five straight such games since Danny Trevathan had nine straight in 2010. In addition to the 13 tackles and game-sealing interception he had versus No. 24 NC State in the Gator Bowl, against Tennessee he tallied a then-career-best 12 tackles to go along with an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown.  A week earlier against Mississippi State, he had 11 tackles and intercepted a pass in the end zone on the final play of the first half.  He finished the season second on the team with three interceptions and had five pickoffs in his career. Davis was a first-team All-SEC section from Pro Football Focus and earned second-team All-SEC honors from Phil Steele.

Duffy followed up his 2019 Ray Gay Award with another stellar season and finished his career as the program’s all-time leading punter at 45.96 yards per kick. The Perth, Australia native averaged 45.1 yards per punt this season, fourth in the SEC, and both began and ended his season on high notes. In the opener at Auburn he bombed a career-long 75-yard punt, the third longest in school history, and then in the Gator Bowl, burying NC State deep in its own territory twice while also avoiding catastrophe in the first half when he faked out a rusher, stepped between two additional defenders and got a kick away that looked to be a sure-fire block by the Wolfpack. He was named to the All-Bowl Team by Associated Press, ESPN and USA Today.

Echols, of Southaven, Mississippi, transferred to Kentucky in 2019 from Northwest Mississippi Community College and made an immediate impact. In two seasons at Kentucky, he played in 24 career games, starting in 22 straight. He totaled 108 tackles, 11 pass breakups, 4.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and an interception, helping the Wildcats advance and win the Belk Bowl (2019) and the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl (2020).

In 2020, he ranked fourth on the team in tackles with 54, while also adding 2.0 TFL, two PBU and his first career interception in the win over NC State in the Gator Bowl.

Jackson, a native of Versailles, Kentucky, played in 47 career games with 44 consecutive starts at center, the third-longest such streak in school history with lineups available since 1993. He graded at 85 percent in 10 regular season games played in 2020, missing just one assignment in 627 snaps. He also had 38 knockdown blocks and led the team with 167 blocks at the point of attack. He was on the watch lists for both the Outland Trophy for the best interior lineman and the Rimington Trophy for the nation’s top center.

Joseph, a transfer from LSU, picked off four passes in nine games played in 2020. He notched his first career interception in the win over Mississippi State and followed that up with a 41-yard pick-six at No. 18 Tennessee the following week, helping set the tone for the Cats’ 34-7 victory that ended a 36-year drought in Knoxville.

Young, of Lexington, Kentucky, appeared in 49 career games, with 32 starts, including 24 in a row at left tackle. He was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice in 2020 (Oct. 19 and Nov. 16) and after 11 games, graded at 89 percent, did not miss an assignment, and led the “Big Blue Wall” in knockdown blocks with 56.  He totaled 163 blocks at the point of attack.

Any workouts will take place on the individual pro days on college campuses. Kentucky’s is scheduled for Wednesday, March 31.

Kentucky’s seven representatives are the second-most in school history. A school-record eight Wildcats were invited in 2019, following the 2018 season. Among SEC schools, Kentucky ranked sixth behind Alabama and Georgia (11), Florida (9), and LSU and Texas A&M (8).

The Wildcats are looking to have multiple players drafted for the third straight year. In 2020, Lynn Bowden Jr. and Logan Stenberg were drafted and in 2019, UK had five NFL draft picks in Josh Allen, Lonnie Johnson Jr., Mike Edwards, Benny Snell Jr. and George Asafo-Adjei.

The NFL Draft is scheduled to begin on April 29.