The debate over how many four- and five-star prospects you can recruit to the University of Kentucky probably isn't going away anytime soon.
The one thing Rich Brooks and his staff have proved, though, is that you can still do some damage if you find the right two- and three-star recruits.
Trevard Lindley is rated by many as the country's top cornerback and he was a two-star recruit. So was Jeremy Jarmon, who's now in camp with the Washington Redskins.
Now it looks like the UK staff might have found another hidden gem in sophomore Danny Trevathan.
Trevathan was an under-the-radar two-star prospect from Leesburg, Fla., located just outside Orlando. He took some calls from Miami (Fla.), but none of the Florida schools offered a scholarship. UK got in early on Trevathan, and while he received late offers from Mississippi, Purdue, Arkansas and Indiana, he decided to cast his lot with the Big Blue.
UK defensive line coach Rick Petri recruited Trevathan, and the first thing that stood out was the player's versatility.
"In high school I played running back, quarterback, cornerback, long snapper, receiver, safety, you name it," Trevathan said.
And while there might not have been a lot of stars attached to Trevathan's name, Petri saw all of the basic tools of a potential impact player.
"He was an athletic guy who could run real fast," Petri said. "And he did it all; he played all over the field, so not only was he a great athlete, the fact that he played so many positions told me that he was instinctive and a pure football player.
"That's what you look for. If you get guys like that, then you can figure out where they can best help you when you get them here."
When Trevathan arrived at UK, the coaches saw a slightly undersized but speedy linebacker in the Wesley Woodyard mold. Trevathan showed enough athleticism in fall camp last year that the coaching staff used him on special teams, but it was spring practice when Trevathan really starting generating buzz. He had 11 tackles, including a tackle for loss, in the Blue/White Spring Game and even had a 31-yard kickoff return, a rarity for a linebacker.
That got Brooks, who's far from a hype machine, to sing Trevathan's praises.
"Danny Trevathan is a big-time player, pure and simple," Brooks said. "He's as good as any four-star guy that you can talk to me about at linebacker. He will have major impact on this team if he stays healthy this year. He's very fast. He's very instinctive. He doesn't look very big, but weighs about 220-225. He's a very special talent, so now we will just have to go out and see what he can do.
Trevathan said he didn't necessarily expect to burst onto the scene in his true sophomore season but has taken heed of Brooks' high praise.
"Everything's happening pretty fast," Trevathan said. "But I can't lie and say hearing the coaches say good things about me doesn't affect me. I try to avoid that and be humble as I can, but at the same time, when you hear things like that you've got to feel good about yourself. I definitely don't want to let (Brooks) down, so I've been doubling my workouts and working twice as hard."
Trevathan seemed like a quiet, low-profile guy at Media Day, and all of the coaches said he's not overly boisterous.
"I'd kind of put him in between (linebacker) Micah (Johnson) and Trevard," defensive coordinator Steve Brown said. "Now you hear Micah all the time, he's real vocal. Danny's not that extreme. But a lot of times you won't get a peep out of Trevard, and Danny's not at that level either. I know there's always a smile on his face, he enjoys being around his teammates, and he loves football."
But sometimes you have to go to the teammates to get the real story and Johnson, who took Trevathan under his wing when he arrived as a true freshman last fall, said don't be fooled by the reserved image Trevathan projects on the field and around the media.
"That's a front," Johnson said. "Danny is not quiet. He talks, he plays around, he's goofy, he dances. I guess he's camera shy.
Trevathan also earned Johnson's respect for coming in and opening eyes as a rookie. Trevathan stayed with Johnson in May after moving out of the dorms for the start of summer school.
"He's a young guy who's really talented, and he picked up the defense and had a better spring than people were expecting him to have," Johnson said. "You could tell the difference when he came in. A lot of guys gravitated towards him and knew he was going to be a player, and I know how that feels, so I was one of the guys he felt comfortable talking to."
As talented as Trevathan is, he wasn't a rotation player last year and Brown knows he'll have to live with some mistakes.
"He still hasn't played in the SEC for any length of time," Brown said. "But everything he's done in the spring and off-season has been positive. The thing with a young guy you look for is are they handling their assignments, and he's been real good with that.
"Once you get that down, you take a guy with his ability, he can just go and play fast. There will be sometimes when he'll be out there and you'll say, 'What in the world is he doing?' But that's just because there's a natural growing period, but he's got the tools to be special."
UK linebackers coach Chuck Smith is ready to throw Trevathan to the wolves and take his chances.
"All he lacks is game experience, but I really believe he's ready for this," he said.