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Three Wildcats Named Preseason Media Days

photo - Brendon D. Miller - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Deone Walker is second-team offense, while Eli Cox named third-team offense and J.J. Weaver third-team defense 

LEXINGTON – July 21, 2023

Three University of Kentucky football players have been named to the 2023 Preseason Media Days All-Southeastern Conference teams, it was announced Friday.  

Sophomore defensive lineman Deone Walker was named second-team defense, while senior offensive lineman Eli Cox and senior outside linebacker J.J. Weaver were named to the third-team offense and third-team defense, respectively.  

Walker, a 6-foot-6, 330-pounder from Detroit, played in all 13 games with 11 starting assignments in his rookie season in 2022. Because of his size and physicality, he was an absolute force on the defensive line, finishing with 40 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss (third on the team), five quarterback hurries (second on the team), two pass breakups, one sack and one forced fumble.  

He earned freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America, The Athletic, College Football News,, and Pro Football Focus.  Additionally, he was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, was named second team All-SEC by the Associated Press, Pro Football Focus and Phil Steele’s College Football and was a semifinalist for the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award. 

He is currently on the watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy. 

Cox, a native of Nicholasville, Kentucky, is a veteran on the Big Blue Wall after seeing action in 30 career games with 22 starting assignments. Last season, he moved to center and started in all 13 games, earning a spot on the Outland Trophy Watch List and the Comeback Player of the Year Award Watch List. In 2021, he saw action in nine games before a hand injury which required surgery sidelined him.  

Cox will move back to his natural position at right guard in 2023. 

Cox graduated in May of 2022 with a degree in integrated strategic communication with a business minor and is currently working on a second degree in media arts studies. He also is one of three representatives for UK football on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for the second straight year.  Additionally, he was elected to the SEC Football Leadership Council for the second straight season, including being elected chair of the Leadership Council for 2023. 

Weaver, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, is another veteran leader for the Wildcats this season. After considering entry into the NFL Draft, Weaver decided to return to Kentucky and build off a solid junior season that saw him play in 11 games with eight starting assignments. He was listed on the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List after tallying 47 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, a team-high 3.0 sacks, three quarterback hurries, a team-high three fumbles recoveries, a team-high tying two forced fumbles and a blocked kick.  

He is on track to graduate in December of ’23 with a degree in community leadership and development. 

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