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Chris Rodriguez unavailable for UK's opening game

Head Coach Mark Stoops announced the decision during his press conference Monday afternoon
Chris Rodriguez fall camp 2022
Posted at 12:15 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-29 12:24:22-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky football running back Chris Rodriguez will not play for the Wildcats in their season-opening game against Miami of Ohio this Saturday. Head Coach Mark Stoops announced the decision at a press conference Monday afternoon, adding that Rodriguez is not the only UK player expected to miss Kentucky's opening game.

"I expect a few of them [UK players] to have multiple-game suspensions. But I don't know. I'll address it next week," Stoops told reporters Monday.

Coach Stoops would not clarify how many games each player would miss for the various suspensions.

Running backs Kavosiey Smoke and Ramon Jefferson were listed on Kentucky's 2-deep depth chart that was released just prior to the press conference Monday afternoon. Junior J.J. Weaver and freshman Keaten Wade were listed in the outside linebacker position, while super senior Jordan Wright was noticeably absent from the list.

When Stoops was asked why it's taking so long to publicly share information related to off-the-field incidents and any resulting suspensions, he said: "There's layers to things. It's not always black and white. The players have rights and there's processes involved. That's where we're at."

The news comes following a summer in which Rodriguez pleaded guilty to DUI charges in July, after he was arrested and charged with careless driving and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol in early May.

He was also reportedly connected to another off-the-field issue the university has not publicized.

UK Kentucky football schedule 2022

Rodriguez is poised for a record-breaking season - he's currently sixth on UK's career rushing list with 2,740 yards. He needs 1,134 additional yards to surpass Benny Snell for the No. 1 spot. Rodriguez is also currently tied for second - alongside former Cats Sonny Collins and Moe Williams - on UK's career rushing touchdown list, with 26 already to his name.

His preseason accolades also include the Maxwell Award Watch List, the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List and the Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List. He's also been selected to the first team preseason All-SEC team by the league's coaches, and was picked as a preseason second-team All-American by college football expert Phil Steele.

Chris Rodriguez
Chris Rodriguez Jr. Kentucky beats Iowa to win the Citrus Bowl, 20-17. Photo by Jacob Noger | UK Athletics

Prior to Monday's press conference, Mark Stoops sat down with BBN Tonight hosts Keith Farmer and Anna Tarullo, as well as the UK Sports Network's Christi Thomas, to discuss the start of the season. He said, in part:

"I will be extremely loyal to Chris forever because nobody's perfect, and people make mistakes here and there. I think everybody's human, but we all appreciate what Chris has done for this university."

To watch their full conversation with Coach Stoops, click here.

This article will be updated as we learn more.