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August 24, 2012

Armstrong leaves for other opportunities

David Armstrong, Kentucky's former director of football administration, resigned from his position on Wednesday, he confirmed to CatsIllustrated.com. UK confirmed his resignation on Friday morning.

He said he was leaving to pursue other opportunities, but stressed he was departing the program on good terms.

"I appreciate Coach Phillips giving me the opportunity to come to Kentucky and work," Armstrong said. "I wish nothing but the best for him, and I'll always be a big blue fan."

UK athletics spokesman Tony Neely said Armstrong was leaving to pursue other opportunities and the program wishes him well.

Armstrong declined to state what specific opportunities he would be pursuing, but said he likely would not accept a similar position at another university. He'd also like to spend more time with his three sons, he said.

He arrived a year-and-a-half ago to head up the recruiting office for the football program. Armstrong feels like he made positive strides in the department. The number of staff members has increased from five to 17, among other changes.

"I feel like we've gotten it where it needs to be," Armstrong said. "I wish Joker nothing but the best."

Armstrong also worked to organize the video department in the recruiting office and improve communication. Kentucky's summer camps hosted more than 750 high schoolers this summer.

Perhaps most significantly, the coaching staff started to spend more time scouting and recruiting players earlier in their careers.

"When I arrived, we were just recruiting the year that we were in," Armstrong said. "Now we're recruiting two years ahead and trying to get two-and-a-half years ahead."

Armstrong served as a coach at several colleges and junior colleges earlier in his career. He was offensive coordinator at East Mississippi Community College when future Oregon running back Lagarrette Blount was a star there.

Before joining the staff at Kentucky, Armstrong owned SoutheastScout.com, a recruiting service covering high schools in Mississippi and Alabama along with junior colleges in Texas, Kansas and Mississippi.

Asked why he chose to resign less than two weeks before the start of the season, Armstrong said he recently had other opportunities arise.

"Sometimes you have opportunities come up and you don't have control of them," he said.

Team captains selected

Senior defensive end Collins Ukwu and senior center Matt Smith have been chosen by their teammates as captains for the season, it was announced on Friday.

The race was the closest in recent memory, head coach Joker Phillips said.

"I feel good about the leadership at the top," Phillips said. "I've said that from Day One. Usually, it's one guy about 15 votes ahead of the other. Two votes separated the top three guys on defense, and one vote separated the top two guys on offense."

Both players are fifth-year seniors. Ukwu is a third-year starter who had 2.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in nine games last season. Smith has started 22 games in the last two seasons and was named to the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy in July, given annually to the top center in college football.

Senior guard Larry Warford and senior defensive back Martavius Neloms will be game captains for the season opener against Louisville.

Kendrick ineligible

Redshirt junior tight end Anthony Kendrick is academically ineligible and will not play this fall, Phillips announced on Friday.

Kendrick had three catches for 22 yards in 2011 and was considered an option at tight end, though he was listed behind Tyler Robinson and Ronnie Shields on the Wildcats' post spring depth chart.

The coaching staff had been preparing for the possibility that Kendrick wouldn't be able to play, Phillips said.

"He hadn't practiced with us anyway," Phillips said. "We gave him a lot of reps on our scout team. That's where he will go until we evaluate him at the end of this semester."

Kendrick is the second Kentucky player to be academically ineligible this fall. Redshirt freshman Marcus Caffey, who was expected to be a starter at cornerback, was announced as ineligible on Aug. 3.

Phillips said Kendrick will be given one semester to correct his academic situation.


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