There's been a slight sense of panic among fans on Internet message boards regarding Kentucky's 2010 recruiting class, which currently has only two known commitments. UK Coach Rich Brooks tried to alleviate those concerns at SEC Media Days last weekend, but the trepidation rose this week when a pair of four-star defensive back prospects who were considering Kentucky chose other schools.
Indianapolis safety Isaiah Lewis chose Michigan State over the Cats shortly after visiting Lexington on Tuesday, and Atlanta cornerback Darius Robinson committed to Clemson after having UK high on his list.
Before the UK Kickoff Luncheon on Friday, Brooks once again tried to reassure the Wildcat faithful that there's no need to jump off any cliffs over recruiting.
"We're into some more high-profile recruits," Brooks said. "We probably have done a better job overall of evaluating and making progress on the recruiting front. Believe me, recruiting is not going to dry up for the Kentucky Wildcats. We're going to get good football players. We're going to continue to get players that are capable of competing at the SEC level. Whether it happens last week or next week or in December, I'm not that concerned about it. There's an awful lot of good football players out there that haven't committed to anybody at this point."
UK head coach of offense Joker Phillips said the staff is being more judicious with its scholarship offers right now so they'll have more room to work with at the tail end of the recruiting season.
"There have been times at the end where we lost players because we didn't have scholarships available," Phillips said. "We just felt like we should take things a little slower. Everybody thinks they're going to the so-called 'big-name' schools, so they hold out until the last minute. In the past we wouldn't have any scholarships because everybody's already committed. We feel good about where we are."
Coaches not worried about potential QB controversy
With Media Day set for Friday, incoming freshman quarterbacks Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski are bound to be ambushed with media requests. But neither Brooks nor Phillips seem overly concerned about a potential QB quandary involving the two freshmen and returning starter Mike Hartline.
"The one thing that I've learned as a veteran coach is that fans are always going to be looking for the next great star at whatever position but especially at quarterback," Brooks said. "They'll have fun with it, and we'll go about putting the team on the field that helps us win the most games. That's all part of the process."
Throw Randall Cobb into the mix, who's expected to play some quarterback in the Wildcat package. Phillips looked at having so many potential options as a positive. Phillips also pointed out that Curtis Pulley's dismissal basically gave Hartline the job by default last season.
"What a great problem to have," Phillips said. "In college football the most important player and the guy that can make the biggest difference in two or three wins is the quarterback. We have quality depth and competition, and we haven't had that around here. Last year we felt like we were going to have competition and then we lose one right before the season."
Phillips said he's already gotten suggestions from fans about which route he should take with the quarterbacks, but said it's Hartline's job to lose.
"The guy won six games for us last year," he said. He deserves to be the guy to start this thing off, but we look for heavy competition."
Fan Day this Saturday
The annual Kentucky Football Fan Day has been slated for Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. with a poster and schedule card giveaway.
The first 2,000 fans to bring a new school supply will receive a coupon for a free hot dog and Coke. All school supplies collected will be donated to children in need.
Brooks and the team will be introduced at 7:15 p.m., followed by an autograph session at 7:30 with the UK coaches and players.
An equipment stand will be set up and fans can try on UK helmets and shoulder pads. UK athletic trainers also will have a station, demonstrating ankle taping and other activities. The autograph session ends at 9 p.m. and the event concludes at dusk with a fireworks show.
Leach book on Brooks now out
Rich Tradition, UK play-by-play announcer Tom Leach's book on Brooks' turnaround of the Kentucky football program, is now available. Brooks will be doing a book signing on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Lexington Green. The book is also available at Kroger and selected Wal-Mart stores later this month and can also be ordered at tomleachky.com.
Drake named to Mackey Award watch list
Kentucky senior T.C. Drake has been named to the watch list for the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end. Drake (Nelson County) caught 12 passes for 204 yards last season and also contributes on special teams.
Amponsah joins UK staff
The UK athletic training staff has hired Gabe Amponsah, a former graduate assistant during the 2006 and 2007 football seasons, to become senior athletic trainer. Amponsah will work primarily with the Wildcats football team, including the evaluation and treatment of injuries along with the development and implementation of rehabilitation protocols. He comes to UK after completing his first year at Florida State.