The University of Kentucky has become a major player for one of the nation's top quarterback prospects in the 2009 class.
Morgan Newton, a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Carmel, Ind., was on the UK campus for an unofficial visit Monday and has the Wildcats listed among his top schools.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Newton is listed as a five-star prospect by Scout.com, which ranks him as the nation's seventh-best quarterback. Newton threw for 1,900 yards and 25 touchdowns and ran for 750 yards and 11 scores as a junior. He has scholarship offers from 19 schools and lists UK among his favorites along with Clemson, Florida, Illinois, Purdue, Miami (Fla.), Indiana and South Carolina.
Newton's father, John, was a teammate of former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Doug Williams at Grambling.
Newton didn't rank the schools on his list but said Kentucky is ”definitely pretty high up there.“
”There are schools that have made offers that might have had more success in the past, but Kentucky's had really good seasons the past two years, and they're getting great athletes, so we feel like they'll be good from here on out,“ Newton said.
Newton gave no timetable for a decision and still plans on visiting Florida later this summer, but Newton's father said his son's interest in Kentucky is genuine.
”We've been down there twice now, and we wouldn't have spent all that time and made those trips if we weren't serious (about Kentucky),“ Newton's father said. ”We think it could be a very good situation for Morgan.“
Newton spent considerable time with UK offensive coordinator and future head coach Joker Phillips and quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders during his visit. Both Newton and his father cited the Southeastern Conference, UK's pro-style offense, its success in developing Andre Woodson and Sanders' time at Tennessee working with Peyton Manning as major selling points for the Wildcats.
”I got to sit down and watch some game tapes and got a chance to see what they do offensively, and it's really appealing because it's basically the same thing they do in the pros,“ Newton said.