After Kentucky football’s Fan Day practice, let’s see more of these three players

AUGUST 05, 2023 4:17 PM
After watching Kentucky football’s Fan Day open practice on Saturday at the Joe Craft Football Training Center, here are three players worthy of a second look, all three transfers:
1. Demie Sumo-Karngbaye
The 6-foot, 210-pound junior running back transfer from North Carolina State is not really a running back. Oh, he can play running back. But he can also play wide receiver. He can line up in the slot, or even out wide. And he can catch the football.
“One thing, I’ll give a shout out to all of them, they’re all very reliable,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said Saturday of his running backs.
Limited to eight games last year because of injury, Sumo-Karngbaye averaged 5.5 yards per rush, gaining 305 yards on 55 carries. He scored three touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 12 passes for 148 yards and a score.
“There are different ways we can use him,” UK offensive coordinator Liam Coen said Friday.
So the guess here is Demie will make more than a dozen catches this season. That prediction is based on (a) Coen’s scheme and (b) his familiarity with new UK quarterback Devin Leary, who also arrived in Lexington via North Carolina State.
“We’re kind of brothers for sure, I would say,” Sumo-Karngbaye said Friday of his fellow New Jersey native.
2. COURTLAND FORD
Unfortunately, our look at the 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive tackle was cut short Saturday when the USC transfer slowly walked off the field and into the facility with a trainer.
Still, Ford not just looks the part, but the junior is in an important battle with holdover Jeremy Flax for the starting right tackle spot. Flax began Saturday’s practice with the first team, but ended up trading reps with Ford, who was born in Illinois but played his high school football in Texas before heading to Los Angeles.
“Another really high football IQ kid,” Coen said of Ford on Friday. “Well coached at USC, got two A’s this summer in summer classes. Just does everything right. He cares, he studies, he knows the game.”
A left tackle, Ford is making the transition to the right side.
“I completely understand people thinking a tackle is a tackle, but it’s so much more than that,” Ford said Friday. “I was so accustomed to kicking with my left, jabbing with my left, which is my longest side. But being able to step out of my comfort zone and basically master my craft on the right side, I think that will be beneficial for me going to the next level.”
Even if Ford fails to knock Flax out of his starting spot, he will push his teammate and give the Cats some much-needed depth at an important spot.
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops signs memorabilia for fans after the team’s annual Fan Day open practice at the Joe Craft Football Training Center practice fields in Lexington on Saturday.
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops signs memorabilia for fans after the team’s annual Fan Day open practice at the Joe Craft Football Training Center practice fields in Lexington on Saturday. Silas Walker Silas Walker/Lexington Herald-Le
3. Alex Raynor
To be honest, we didn’t get much of a look at Kentucky’s newest place-kicker who will compete with holdover Chase Poore. That’s OK. We know what Raynor has done in the past.
The 6-foot, 178-pound graduate transfer from Georgia Southern made 18 of his 20 field goals last season for the Eagles. He was 8-of-10 from 30-plus yards, including 4-of-5 from 40-plus. He made 49 of his 50 extra points.
Overall, Raynor is 45-of-59 on field goals as a collegian for 76.3 percent. Those numbers apparently impressed the people at the Lou Groza Award, who recently named Raynor to its preseason watch list.
Last year, UK’s Matt Ruffolo struggled at times. He ended up 16-of-24 on field goals, including 8-of-17 on attempts of 30-or-more yards. He was 4-of-7 from 40-plus.
This is the SEC, after all. There is likely to be a close game or two, including a game decided by a kicker.

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