Once a receiver, senior Josh Forrest 'a linebacker now'

Once a receiver, senior Josh Forrest 'a linebacker now'

VIDEO: Mark Stoops  |  D.J. Eliot  |  Josh Forrest

When Josh Forrest arrived at Kentucky, he was a wide receiver.

A product of Paducah Tilghman High School, Forrest was recruited to the Wildcats after nabbing 14 touchdowns as a senior.

He arrived in Lexington in 2011, starting as a wide out before shifting to a hybrid linebacker/safety position.

After a redshirt season, Forrest played in nine games as a freshman, before showing glimpses of play-making ability in the linebacker rotation and on special teams during the first season under coach Mark Stoops.

It was as a junior when Forrest truly broke out. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder ranked third in the Southeastern Conference in tackles per game, totaling 110 stops. He had a 20-tackle effort at Tennessee and 15 stops in an upset over South Carolina.

Now entering his senior season, Forrest has earned high praise from his defensive coordinator.

“Josh is a linebacker now,” D.J. Eliot declared. “I didn’t necessarily feel like that at the beginning of last year. I felt like he was in a transition. I don’t feel like that anymore.”

Now counted on as a senior leader for the UK defensive unit, Forrest was forced to sit out a pair of days in training camp with an illness, after Stoops said he was “sick as a dog”.

Forrest relied on pure athleticism early in his career as a linebacker but after three years in the defensive system, has added veteran no-how gained over a 33-game career.

“He was a very athletic linebacker last year and made a lot of plays early with athleticism,” Eliot said. “Towards the end of the year he became more physical, he started reading his keys better. He finished out the year very well. He had a great spring and he has had a great training camp.”

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