Kentucky football offensive guard Kenneth Horsey expected to miss multiple games

Kentucky football will be without super senior offensive guard Kenneth Horsey for at least a couple of weeks due to an injury he suffered in the season-opening win over Ball State.

The injury is not expected to end Horsey’s season though, UK coach Mark Stoops announced Monday.

Horsey, UK’s most experienced lineman and a team captain, was taken to the locker room on a cart after suffering what appeared to be a leg injury in the second quarter. A UK spokeswoman confirmed just after the start of the second half that Horsey was out for the rest of the game.

After Kentucky’s 44-14 win, offensive coordinator Liam Coen told reporters the injury was something Horsey had dealt with before.

With Horsey out, West Virginia transfer Dylan Ray, a walk-on, took over left guard responsibilities. Kentucky’s depth at guard was already hurt by a season-ending injury to Ohio State transfer Ben Christman.

“I had confidence in (Ray) going into it and was impressed with the way he played,” Stoops said Monday.

Horsey’s injury came immediately after a replay review awarded Kentucky the ball after a Ball State fumble. UK safety Jordan Lovett appeared to return the fumble for a touchdown, but officials had blown the play dead, initially ruling the Ball State player was down before losing the ball. Since the play had been blown dead, officials could not grant UK the touchdown even though replay confirmed the fumble.

Offensive guard Kenneth Horsey has played in 38 games with 34 starts across six seasons at Kentucky.
Offensive guard Kenneth Horsey has played in 38 games with 34 starts across six seasons at Kentucky.

Playing his sixth season at Kentucky, Horsey elected to return to school to use the extra season of eligibility granted all players in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in part to prove himself as a guard again to NFL scouts. Horsey played left tackle in 2021 out of necessity after a series of injuries and early NFL draft entries left the Wildcats thin at that position.

Rebuilding an offensive line that ranked 126th of 131 teams nationally last season in sacks allowed was priority No. 1 for Stoops and company in the offseason.

The Wildcats signed Northern Illinois left tackle Marques Cox in the transfer portal, allowing Horsey to move back to left guard. Jager Burton and Eli Cox each moved one position to the right on the line with Burton now playing center and Cox playing right guard. UK signed Southern California transfer Courtland Ford to compete with incumbent starter Jeremy Flax at right tackle.

With Horsey out, Ray was listed as the first-team left guard on Monday’s pre-Eastern Kentucky depth chart. That spot might have gone to Ohio State transfer Ben Christman if he had not been lost to a season-ending injury in preseason camp. Kentucky also lost redshirt freshman tackle Nik Hall to a season ending injury in the summer.

Depth at guard now comes in the form of Alabama transfer Tanner Bowles, who did not play on offense against Ball State, and sophomore Paul Rodriguez, who appeared in nine games on special teams last season but has yet to earn a varsity letter.