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Why would Denzil Ware leave UK for Jacksonville State?

Denzil Ware (Larry Vaught Photo)


Denzil Ware’s transfer from Kentucky surprised me — and apparently a lot of others close to hm at Kentucky.

However, his decision now to play his fifth year at Jacksonville State in the Ohio Valley Conference is even more perplexing. No disrespect  to OVC foes Eastern Kentucky and Murray State, but why leave UK for the OVC?

Kentucky fans now are convinced Kentucky coach Mark Stoops sent Ware on his way. Remember he was suspended for the Music City Bowl and he’s had a history of erratic behavior going back to high school.

Last year he had 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. along with an interception in  11 games. He tied for 10th in the SEC last season in sacks, one reason he seemed likely to be headed for another Power Five school. He had 156 career tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss and 13 quarterback sacks.

He left Kentucky as a graduate transfer, but he could have played at Jacksonville State immediately even if he had not graduated.


“Who’s to say what’s the right reason or the wrong reason for each individual to do what’s best for him?” Stoops told Lexington Herald-Leader beat writer Jen Smith Thursday.  “We wish him the best.”

Even if Kentucky fans are really going to speculate now that Ware was asked to leave after his decision to pick Jacksonville State unless the linebacker decides to explain more about his decision/transfer.

Jacksonville State will play at Eastern Kentucky University Oct. 6  and at Murray on Oct. 27.


  1. Just speculation IMO. Stoops will never say for sure. Perhaps he was fed up with Stoops and staff too. Don’t kid yourself, Jacksonville State is a football school no matter that they play in the FCS’s OVC. Great head coach there too. He should do well there, and possibly get even more exposure than he would have at UK. I wish the young man well. He played hard for UK while he was there.

  2. I agree, Larry.
    It may be step down in conferences, but J State can hold their own against UK most any year. It certainly won’t be a step down in coaching.
    There’s a lot of good pros that came through the “lower” ranks.

  3. It is very obvious that Stoops didn’t want to discuss reason/reasons for transfer so the mystery of what goes on in the locker room will continue. The pressure will continue on Stoops this year until he can show that he isn’t one of the Top 5 overpaid coaches in the country…..good luck with that.

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