Joker Phillips’ defense thinning after three more depart


Joker Phillips, head coach of the University of Kentucky football team, spoke to students at Big Blue U on Saturday, August 20, 2011, at Commonwealth Stadium, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Latara Appleby

By: Cody Porter

Sophomore defensive end Nermin Delic and freshman linebackers Justin Henderson and Tim Patterson have left the UK Football team, according to UK Athletics spokesman Tony Neely .

In his response to the Kernel, Neely said Patterson and Henderson will transfer, while Delic was dismissed from the program due to violation of team rules.

With the departures, the Cats have now lost six players since the end of the 2011 season on the defensive side of the ball, where depth could be considered an issue.

Linebacker Ridge Wilson who was dismissed from the team in February following a felony drug arrest.

Of the three new departures, it was Patterson that was thought to have the highest ceiling. Coming off two state championships at Central High School in Louisville, the 6-4 250-pound linebacker at one time was a four-star recruit, according to

As the No. 1-rated player in the state that season, Patterson had his pick of suitors, but it ultimately came down to him choosing UK over Louisville. Once on campus he elected to grayshirt in order to rehabilitate an injury, and never saw the field since.

Fellow linebacker Justin Henderson found himself buried behind Ridge Wilson and freshman “Bud” Dupree entering spring practices. Another option for the redshirt freshman could have been the defensive end position that he found himself at when coming to UK with little depth presented behind Taylor Wyndham.

Delic entered spring practice with the most playing time of the three after recording five tackles, 1.5 sacks and forcing a fumble in eight games during his freshman season in 2010.

Delic left the team last season after having surgeries to repair a torn groin, remove a blood clot and remove a rib, but chose to return to the team as a walk-on this spring.

On the day of his spring practice press conference, Joker Phillips said of Delic, “He’s done a good job of coming back in here, getting back into the mix. The thing that he has to do is show us and show his teammates how committed he is to this thing. He’s a guy that left right when we all were excited about him.”