University of Kentucky assistant head coach Steve Ortmayer has been using his junior-college ties in California to help the Wildcats address the skill-position problems that have plagued them this season.
First, Ortmayer secured a commitment from Harbor College four-star receiver Chris Matthews, and now he's working on Brad McClellan, a quarterback from the College of the Canyons.
The 6-foot-4, 207-pound McClellan threw for 2,333 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for 501 yards and seven scores despite sharing time with fellow sophomore Joey Frias. McClellan has offers from UK and Middle Tennessee State and has received interest form Purdue, Cincinnati and Syracuse.
McClellan is set to graduate from College of the Canyons this month, meaning he could sign and enroll at UK in January and participate in spring practice.
Kentucky will be returning two quarterbacks who started in Mike Hartline and Randall Cobb. The Cats also have commitments from two highly touted prep prospects in Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowsi.
College of the Canyons Coach Garett Tujage said the Cats first started recruiting McClellan last spring and have told him that they expect him to come in and compete for the starting job.
"You don't see schools coming in and recruiting a JUCO kid unless they really believe he's got a chance to be better than what they've got," he said.
McClellan ran a spread offense at College of the Canyons, and Tujage said he's been timed at 4.5 in the 40-yard dash.
"He's a legitimate dual-threat quarterback," Tujage said. "He's an unbelievable decision maker in the running game and throws a great deep ball."
Lindley selected MVP
Kentucky junior cornerback Trevard Lindley has been selected as the team's Most Valuable Player by his teammates. Lindley leads the Southeastern Conference in passes defended with 15 and has a team-high four interceptions. Here are the rest of the team awards:
Most Inspirational Player (selected by team): Tony Dixon
Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Dicky Lyons
Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Braxton Kelley
Most Improved Player: David Jones and Jorge Gonzales (tie)
Most Outstanding First-Year Player: Randall Cobb
Special Teams Player of the Year: Tim Masthay
Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman: Garry Williams
Jerry Claiborne Award: Tim Masthay
Most Valuable Scout-Team Players: Trevino Woods (offense), Will Johnson (defense)
Cats add another date for 2009 schedule
Kentucky has added Louisiana-Monroe to its 2009 schedule. ULM is tentatively set to play at Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 24. The Cats still need one more home game and have openings on the season's first two Saturdays (Sept. 5 and Sept. 12) before hosting Louisville on Sept. 19.
UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said this week that the school is still exploring possibilities and is getting close to completing the schedule. He also noted the rising difficulties in filling the non-conference portion of the schedule. Last year, UK had to cancel scheduled games with Mid-American Conference opponents Temple and Akron, and the MAC cited its conference realignment problems.
"It's been a struggle," Barnhart said. "As coaches move around, a lot of things get changed up, and we're still trying to shuffle things around so we get it done. We've got some things in the works, and I think we're pretty close."
If the ULM game remains on Oct. 24, Kentucky would have to play at least 11 straight games without an open date. Eastern Kentucky, which is scheduled to play at UK on Nov. 7, has an open date on Sept. 12, so UK could conceivably move the EKU game to that date and be off between an Oct. 31 home game with Mississippi State and a Nov. 14 game at Vanderbilt.
Chip Cosby covers UK football for the Herald-Leader. This article includes his opinions and observations. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.