J.J. Jude proved to be the most productive running back in the history of Kentucky high school football. He piled up a record 8,637 yards (and 104 touchdowns) in his career at Johnson Central.
Golden Eagles Coach Jim Matney thinks Jude will prove himself on the college level, too, at Eastern Kentucky University. Jude signed with the Colonels on Wednesday.
"J.J.'s got a chance to be a standout at Eastern if he continues his work ethic, and I think he will," Matney said.
"He's pretty legit. He's not just a kid hidden up here in the mountains. He's talented, he competes, and he's known somewhat nationwide."
Jude chose EKU over Liberty and Richmond. A state champion wrestler, he also had an offer from Virginia Tech in that sport.
Jude said he signed with the Colonels because of Coach Dean Hood and EKU's proximity to Johnson County.
"Eastern feels like home to me. Coach Hood is a really good guy, a down-to-earth guy, and Eastern's program speaks for itself, with a lot of history."
Jude would prefer to redshirt this fall, but he said "if Coach Hood wants me to play, I'll play."
Jude, a 5-foot-9, 190-pounder, is also a 4.0 student.
EKU's other in-state signees were Ben Lawler, who quarterbacked Scott County to the Class 6A finals; LaJuan Smith, a defensive back for 2A state runner-up Glasgow; Lafayette safety Jason Fergerson, who had five interceptions last fall; Madison Central tight end Jonathan Floyd; Beechwood lineman Brett Eyckmans; Doss linebacker Treyvon Neely; Henderson County defensive lineman Avery Pitt, and Butler receiver Kiante Northington.
Six first-team all-city players signed football letters of intent on Wednesday:
Bryan Station wide receiver Jaysuma Webb (Tusculum)and lineman John Hiles (University of the Cumberlands).
Lafayette linemen Tobijah Hughley (Georgetown) and Andy Hampton (Campbellsville), and safety Jason Fergerson.
Henry Clay lineman Danijel Tadic (Pikeville).
Also signing were Henry Clay lineman Tim Hadlock (Pikeville) and Lafayette receiver/defensive back Jaron Clay (Tusculum).
Bryan Station first-team all-city linebacker Everett Talbert said he is still weighing his options but is leaning toward Louisville. He has academic scholarships and could walk on with the Cardinals.
The Defenders' Tyus Alcorn, who played receiver and quarterback last fall, is also undecided. Tusculum, Pike-ville and Campbellsville are among the schools on his list.
■ Scott County defensive back Avery Ford signed with Lindsey Wilson.
■ Clark County's Pokey Harris, who rushed for 1,943 yards and 18 TDs last fall, signed with Murray State.
■ East Jessamine running back Cameron Thomas, who ran for 5,000 yards and 47 TDs over the last three years, signed with Tusculum.
■ Chris Fitzpatrick of Anderson County, a long-snapper, signed with Northwestern.