Football news & notes: Lewellen honored by Allstate

UK junior defensive end Jacob Lewellen was caught off guard Monday when local Allstate agent Kathy Kenimer, along with Lewellen’s family and friends from the community, recognized  Lewellen as a member of the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. The Cats’ pass-rusher was recognized by Allstate for his dedication and commitment to serving his community.

Lewellen serves as a Leadership Team Member for Athletes in Action, an international Christian sports ministry, leads two bible studies each week and serves as a mentor to freshmen on the football team.

On July 19, a record 132 nominees were announced. Almost two months later, on September 20, two 11-player Good Works Teams were formed, one comprising of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams and the other for Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division II, Division III and NAIA athletes.

Upon being recognized for his accomplishments in the community, Lewellen said, “Seeing smiles on other people’s faces is way more important than seeing one of mine.”

Five Cats earn mid-season honors

The popular college football magazine “Phil Steele’s College Football” released its mid-season awards in which five UK players were mentioned. Senior linebacker Danny Trevathan and junior guard Larry Warford received the highest honor of anyone on UK’s roster by being named third-team All-Americans, with senior safety Winston Guy and senior punter Ryan Tydlacka not far behind after being named honorable mention All-America.

All four UK players, along with junior wide receiver La’Rod King, were also given All-SEC recognition by the magazine. Trevathan and Warford were named to the first team, with Guy being named to the second team and King and Tydlacka being named to the third team.

Trevathan is following up his breakthrough 2010 campaign with an even better 2011. Trevathan, who led the SEC in tackles in 2010 with 144, is on pace to do exactly the same in 2011, with an SEC-leading 72 tackles midway through the year. Trevathan and Guy are also ranked first and second in the SEC in tackles per game, with 12 and 11 respectively.

Barnhart says Phillips’ job is safe

UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, who has held the position for 10 years, told the media Friday that Joker Phillips will “absolutely” be his head football coach next year. In three SEC games in 2011, Phillips’ squad is 0-3 with a point differential of 137-20, and in his two years as UK’s head coach, Phillips has a record of just 8-11.

“Regardless of what the coaches say or what the coaches do, as players, we need to go out there and make plays. We got to go out there and do whatever it is we have to do to get a win,” junior linebacker Ridge Wilson said. “Coach is supposed to put us in the right position, which I feel Coach Phillips and his staff have.”

Beyond stating that Phillips would be back to coach the team again next season, Barnhart would not release how long he felt was a fair amount of time to trust Phillips with the program, but confirmed it would be longer than the 19 games Phillips has coached for UK in his first year and a half.

“We feel like we are doing the right things and we just want to go ahead and get started on doing what we are doing in these last six weeks,” Phillips said. “(There is) a lot of football to be played and we are excited about playing it and excited about the statement that Mitch made.”

Other news & notes

UK junior defensive end Collins Ukwu is “doubtful” for Saturday’s game against Jacksonville State with a knee injury, according to Phillips. Ukwu started UK’s first three games, recording 14 tackles and one sack, but has not played since the Louisville game with injury problems.

Sophomore tight end Jordan Aumiller and senior wide receiver Matt Roark are both suffering from hamstring injuries, but are both expected to practice by Wednesday.

It was announced Monday that UK’s home matchup with the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday, Oct. 29, will kickoff at 7 p.m. in Commonwealth Stadium, and will be televised on Fox Sports Network.