We are just two weeks into the 2022 season, but we are starting to get an idea of the leaders in the SEC. With just four teams having competed in conference games, teams like Kentucky have an even better idea of where they stand. Let's take a look where the top Wildcats are in the SEC.
Passing: Will Levis (5th)
With the amount of preseason attention that has led to the Will Levis hype train, it was crucial for the Penn State transfer to get off to a hot start. Levis has responded well so far, despite being under duress a lot this season. He has been sacked seven times, which is the second highest in the SEC behind Spencer Rattler. On his current pace, Levis would finish the year with just over 3,000 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. If he can get those interception numbers down, that would be a solid year for the senior quarterback.
Rushing: Kavosiey Smoke (14th)
It feels really odd to say a Kentucky running back ranks near the bottom of the league in rushing yards, but here we are with the Wildcats' top rusher ranking 14th in the conference. After no evidence of a competent run game for the first six quarters of the season, the coaching staff may have found a recipe for success in the last two quarters, as flashes of the old Kentucky running game returned to the field. Despite the rough start, the return of Chris Rodriguez and the retooling of the offensive line should give fans hope that the Wildcats will find their footing in the running game.
Recieving: Tayvion Robinson and Dane Key (T-10th)
A career day by Tayvion Robinson and a collection of impressive debut games for Dane Key lands them in a tie with each other at 10th in the SEC, with 136 receiving yards each. It was no secret that Wan'Dale Robinson was Levis' go to target last year. Now that there is some parity in the receiving room, he has been able to share the wealth more equally, whether it be with Robinson and Key or the loaded group of tight ends. Needless to say, Kentucky has a bevy of talent for pass catchers and having two receivers in the top 10 goes to show that.
Sacks: JJ Weaver, Jordan Wright, Jacquez Jones, and Alex Afari (T-5th)
There are five players in the SEC who have recorded multiple sacks. Once you get past those guys, there's a an entire list of players with one sack. That list includes JJ Weaver, Jordan Wright, Jacquez Jones and Alex Afari. It's no surprise that three of these four are team captains. Afari is a true freshman that Coach Stoops has been raving about. Kentucky needs to improve on its pass rush, after years of being excellent in that department behind the likes of Josh Allen, Denzil Ware and Calvin Taylor. It would be a step in the right direction to see if one of these guys, namely Weaver or Wright, can record double digit sacks and bring back some of that elite pass rush from years ago.
Interceptions: Jordan Wright and Keidron Smith (T-2nd)
Only Arkansas' Dwight McGlothern has two interceptions on the season. Jordan Wright and Keidron Smith had two huge interceptions that changed the narrative in Kentucky's win over Florida. The turnover margin has not been Kentucky's friend in the past and having play makers like Wright and Smith are going to be game changers for the Wildcats moving forward.
Outside of the running game, Kentucky is doing well in a lot of categories statistically. With an FCS and a MAC opponent on the horizon, Kentucky can pad their stats before getting into the thick of SEC play.