Kentucky Football Portal Class Ready to Get Started

Kentucky Football Portal Class Ready to Get Started

by Tim Letcher

The Kentucky football program hit the transfer portal following the 2023 season, landing a number of players who are expected to make an immediate impact in 2024.

Among that group, quarterback Brock Vandagriff may have the highest profile. The former Georgia Bulldog is expected to be UK’s starting signal caller for the upcoming season, a job that he’s ready to take on with his positive outlook.

“Mainly, the thing I have stressed in my life is, don’t be satisfied,” Vandagriff said. “Right now, it’s about me doing my reps, me doing the most weight I can, me eating well, me going to class.”

While at Georgia, Vandagriff was part of one of the most successful runs in college football history. The Bulldogs won College Football Playoff national championships following the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Then, the Bulldogs were undefeated in 2023 before falling to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Still, during Vandagriff’s three years in Athens, the Bulldogs were an amazing 42-2.

What can Vandagriff bring from his time at Georgia that can help him, and the Cats, in 2024?

“I haven’t had to do anything so far,” Vandagriff said. “It’s just a statement to the culture that’s already in place here.”

That culture was one of the appealing things about Kentucky for Vandagriff. But also, an endorsement from his former head coach, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, played a big role.

“I liked Kentucky before I even talked with Coach (Liam) Coen much just because of their offense,” Vandagriff said. “Coach Smart, he regards Kentucky really highly. He always spoke well about them, well about Coach (Mark) Stoops and that’s before I ever had a conversation with either of them. I already knew their offense was similar to what Georgia runs, it’s a pro-style offense.”

Vandagriff’s former Georgia teammate, Jamon “Pop” Dumas-Johnson, also transferred to Kentucky in December. A former first-team All-American, Dumas-Johnson will be one of the anchors of the UK defense in 2024. What was it about Kentucky that brought Dumas-Johnson to Lexington?

“Really, just the connection, the relationship that me and Coach (Brad) White never burned,” Dumas-Johnson said. “He was the only coach who sat down with me 30 minutes to an hour and just talk ball. Going back into the portal, it’s kind of driven me here, just remembering what he did and our connection.”

Dumas-Johnson also said that Smart’s respect for the Kentucky program played a part in his decision to come to Lexington.

“Kirby Smart always said that this is one of the programs he respects because of the physicality they play with,” Dumas-Johnson said. “There are few teams in college football that can compare to Georgia’s physicality and Kentucky’s one of them.”

Dumas-Johnson was a vocal leader on a national champion defense. He plans to bring that style to the UK locker room as well.

“You just come in. Being a vocal leader, you just be yourself,” Dumas-Johnson said. “Come in, introduce yourself and just get it rolling. Once people start to see who you are and realize who you are, it will come easy.”

DeaMonte “Chip” Trayanum came to Kentucky after playing at Ohio State. Trayanum is expected to be among the leading candidates to replace Ray Davis as UK’s starting running back. What does Trayanum bring to the Cats?

“I would say leadership,” he said. “I feel like the leadership is what’s really going to take the team over the top this season.”

Stoops and the Cats are ready for these new additions, as well as many others, to contribute for Kentucky in 2024.

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