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OK info up front: I grew up in Southeast Virginia (Norfolk/Virginia Beach area). I now live in the DC area. "Home" though was always where my roots were, in central Kentucky, but I never actually lived there.
I never understood how people talked about how bad high school football was bad, no talent, on and on in Kentucky. Having never seen a game, I only thought about what I grew up with, I truly didn't understand the big deal, and thought it was just whiny excuses. That changed on Friday night when I saw two 5-1 teams play in the bluegrass. All I have to say is WOW. In Virginia, particularly in the southeast, the "slow fat kid" even at the little single A school plays meaningfully at a I-AA school at worst, and the rest fill out rosters at VaTech, Maryland, Penn State, and UNC. My high school games had 15-18,000 fans every Friday night.
I took my dad to see his high school play for the first time in 20 years. I seriously asked as the players came out for the 5-1 teams if this was the JV. Watching that game, that was devoid of a single D-I athlete in ANY sport including badminton, I finally got it.
Like a ton of bricks, I realize that UK will never compete in the SEC unless they do what the Notre Dames and Tennessees of the world do, and recruit truly nationally. This is where that investment we all keep talking about comes in. We should be spending more on recruiting that any other program in the SEC if we want to be competitive. Open to anyone who wants to talk me off the ledge here...
What game did you see? Not saying I don't agree with you because I do. Talent in Kentucky isn't abundent. The sad is, that there's more now than used to be and they're leaving the state except for a few.
There are only maybe 20-30 kids a class across the entire state that I would call true D1 prospects and about 1/2 of those would be FBS schools, at best. Occassionally you'll have the Tim Couch kid who could play in any state, but, they're more rare than you'd think. I'd guess there would be maybe 5-6 on average per class that could actually compete in the SEC. Therein lies the major obstacle UK faces. Welcome to our world.
If the kids are recruited based on competition UK will never find anyone that doesn't play either in Louisville or Lexington. However the things you can't teach can be recruited from Kentucky and then coached up to play in the SEC. Quickness, speed, size, and a desire to represent your home state are available all over Kentucky. By overlooking a kid simply because he played football in Eastern or Western Kentucky is just stupid.
The last UK coach to work with HS kids to help them become better football players was Fran Curci. He used to send his assistant coaches to every HS, talk to these football coaches and ask them if they had any player that fit the above referenced traits. Many schools had none but some schools had kids with speed and that was what Curci was all about, speed and quickness. He used to say, you can teach a kid to tackle but you can't teach him how to be quick to the ball.
I just think a few of these kids slip through the cracks and that is a mistake.
The meanest dog in Taiwan.
I've watched high school football all across the Southeast, and Kentucky is at the bottom of the food chain, and not by a small margin. This past Friday, I watched New Smyrna Beach take on Daytona Beach Mainland. Mainland went to the 6A (Florida goes to 8A) semifinals last year, but lost a ton of players, including one of the top DE in the entire nation. In spite of losing all those guys, they still have 2 seniors with FBS offers, including a LB who is a Florida commitment. Mainland is still loaded with athletes in the lower classes, and yet they are 2-4 on the year. NSB, with only a roster of 30 players (only 28 available due to injury) has 2 guys with BSC offers and several others who are getting interest. I'd also wager that NSB (who won a 24-21 thriller in the closing seconds) has more speed at the skill positions than Louisville Trinity. While I think we should try our damnedest to keep the best players instate, we've got to do a better job overall of evaluating and bring in out of state talent.
This may sound dumb but what is the difference between a 17 year old kid in Kentucky and in Texas? Or Florida? Ohio? Pennsylvania? Line 'em up, tell 'em to keep their mouths shut and then guess where theyre from. They'd pretty look alike.
Is it KHSAA? Is it just the entire state places zero emphasis on any sport? Or are we a state of defective kids? I'm not trying to be a jerk. I just would really like to know.
Normally yes, but Trinity played some serious out of state teams last year and put a ass whippin on everyone. Finished #1 in the NATION in some polls, top 5 in all of them. Trinity's coach was selected as a candidate to coach the All Army All American team.
Not bad for a Kentucky school...
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Big Sarge 18 months ago
Those polls don't mean much, and beating a handful of also ran private schools in Tennessee, Indiana or Ohio doesn't either. Trinity has a really great program for what they are, which is a big fish in a little pond.
I actually disagree. That's what shocked me when I then started looking down the list at high school players in Ky. They ARE smaller. They ARE shorter. You'd be hard-pressed to come to DC or SE Virginia and find a team starting any linemen smaller than 6'0-1", and at least 260-270. And thats not to say those numbers are the average, those are the wee pups.
That would be a result of larger schools and metropolitan areas. Bigger schools means more kids that are football-sized, and proximity means that the better players can congregate to get on better teams. I expect if you compared Southwest Virginia teams to Kentucky teams, you'd see more similarities
Virginia has fewer counties than Kentucky, but about twice the population. We have counties so small they can't even field a football team, and quite a few that have to pull in a high percentage of the breathing males to do so.
I'm not exactly sure of the specific reason Kentucky lags so far behind, but I think this all must come about through the lack of competitiveness. It can't be an accident that you can find hotbeds of talent in closely-knit communities--often 3-4-5 friends who grew up together become professionals. Athletes rise to the level of their competition.
The cost of fielding a team is one of the problems. Where I live it is a real struggle to even buy the equipment required. Youth football was non-existent even just a few years ago. Football is still just getting on its feet in this state. Incredible but true.
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