Mark Stoops has dismissed brothers Pancho Thomas and Khalid Thomas due to a violation of team rules, leaving the Wildcats without a sophomore linebacker and a incoming freshman running back who both had the potential to contribute somewhere down the line.
Pancho, whose given name is Kadeem, recorded 10 tackles last season and was expected to be the primary backup at middle linebacker to Avery Williamson, but Williamson is a senior. Khalid was a member of a Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby team that won the 5A state title in Florida last year and was headed into his first year in Lexington. Both players had been strong recruits for Joker Phillips, Pancho the No. 28 inside linebacker in the country per 247's composite, Khalid the No. 18 all-purpose back in the nation.
There have been major issues with roster attrition for the Wildcats: Cornerbacks Jonathan Reed and Marcus Caffey were kicked off the team in January, running back Justin Taylor decided to transfer in May, and in June, five transfers were announced: wide receivers Bookie Cobbins and DeMarcus Sweat, linebacker Demarius Rancifer, cornerback Shawn Blaylock, and safety Sterling Wright.
Normally, subtracting a talented running back and a linebacker with the potential to contribute in two years from a team that's already lost eight players this offseason would be terrifying news. It certainly isn't good news for the Wildcats, but at least they can take it in stride: With 19 players in tow already, Stoops has already reeled in the strongest class in Kentucky history, and now he has the opportunity to bring in two more players. The Wildcats are ranked No. 12 in the 247 composite rankings, including two four-star running backs to compensate for the loss of the younger Thomas brother.
It's cynical, but with the momentum Stoops has brought to Kentucky football, that's how they see it over at A Sea Of Blue.