Kentucky Team News

QB Stephen Johnson says Kentucky believes it can win the SEC East

Stephen Johnson
Adam Hagy/USA TODAY Sports

HOOVER, Ala. — Kentucky hasn’t finished above .500 in SEC play since 1977, but quarterback Stephen Johnson said the Wildcats believe they can win the SEC East this season.

“We believe so,” Johnson said at SEC Media Days. “We’re not too focused on what we did last year (7-6 overall, 4-4 in the league). We know that we did well, but we would like to be great on the field and off the field as well. We’re just ready to get right back to it. We’ve done a great job in the spring and summer.”

Kentucky went 6-0 in league play in 1977, but was ineligible for the SEC title because of NCAA probation. The Wildcats went 10-1 that season, and that also is the last time they won double-digit games. Since then, Kentucky has finished winless in the league as many times as it has gone .500 (six each).

Kentucky seems likely to be picked fourth or fifth in the East in the media voting. But the schedule isn’t overly daunting. The division crossover foes are Mississippi State (road) and Ole Miss (home), and Kentucky gets Florida and Tennessee at home this season.

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“We’ve got a great group of guys with phenomenal talent,” Johnson said. “These freshman guys are really wanting to learn a lot, and guys are really starting to pick up some leadership roles. Our chemistry is building.”

Kentucky players and coach Mark Stoops agreed Wednesday that they believe there is hype around their program. The Wildcats had a winning record last season for the first tie since 2010, the football stadium has been renovated and there’s a new $45 million football training center. Kentucky also looks to be putting together an impressive recruiting class; the Wildcats currently have three national top-250 prospects committed, including four-star quarterback Jarren Williams.

RELATED: 5 Kentucky freshmen to watch in the 2017 season

(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)

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