Leading receiver Josh Ali didn’t need long after UK’s 23-21 win over North Carolina State in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl to give Kentucky fans some good news — he has decided to return for another season.
“After careful consideration and discussions with close family, coaches and teammates, I have decided to return to the UK football team for the 2020-21 season,” Ali posted on Twitter. “I’m excited to continue learning under coach Bouknight and having another year to enhance my resume with a new OC Liam Coen is very exciting. I can’t wait to play again with my brothers for the Big Blue Nation.”
Ali had four catches for 18 yards in the Gator Bowl and finished the year with 53 catches for 480 yards and a touchdown on a team that had trouble getting the ball down the field. Remember Ali had the game winning touchdown catch in last season’s Belk Bowl.
Ali’s return is a clear signal that UK players already believe in what new offensive coordinator Liam Coen, who is now with the LA Rams, can do with the passing game.
Just a big later special teams standout Zach Johnson announced he was coming back for another year allowed by the NCAA due to this year’s pandemic. He plans to pursue his Master’s and “represent this great university” on the field.
If that’s not enough, running back A.J. Rose made it sound like coming back for a sixth season at UK is a possibility for him as well. He ran for 148 yards, including a 44-yard run, in the Gator Bowl on only 12 carries.
“This was a great way to end it if it is my last game,” Rose said.
Linebacker Jamin Davis, UK’s leading tackler this season who had 13 tackles and an interception in Saturday’s win, also said he had not decided anything yet about maybe leaving early for the NFL.