West Jessamine soccer stars Eva Mitchell and Anna Lee both signed with the University of Kentucky women’s team on Wednesday. Mitchell, the state’s 2016 Miss Soccer recipient, scored 41 goals and had 14 assists for the Colts, who won their first state title last season, and is already on UK’s campus as an early enrolee.
Both girls are part of the first signing class under Ian Carry, who succeeded Jon Lipsitz after Lipsitz was relieved of his coaching duties following a 5-9-4 season. Mitchell and Lee had committed to the Wildcats under Lipsitz but had forged a strong relationship with Carry, who had been an assistant with the program since 2013.
“They’re competitive and rise to the occassion. They make everyone else around them better,” West Jessamine Coach Kevin Wright said. “ ... We don’t have enough Tim Tebows, and I believe both those girls, they’ve got that character.”
Caroline Newland, a Henderson native, also signed with UK on Wednesday. She was an All-State player in Indiana, where she played for Reitz Memorial.
▪ UK quarterback Walker Wood thinks former Lafayette teammates Branden Layne and Alex Simpson, who will walk on at UK, could pay dividends for the Wildcats.
“Even though they’re walk-ons, that doesn’t mean anything,” said Wood, noting that former Walton-Verona star lineman Cole Mosier began as a walk-on and has started games at UK. “I think kids like Alex and Branden can do the same thing.”
Wood said Simpson, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman, got a late start on the football field but has an ideal frame to play guard or tackle at the Division I level.
“He hasn’t been playing as long as any of us so he’s really raw,” Wood said. “ ... Getting up there against SEC defensive linemen and working with Coach (John) Schlarman’s gonna be really good for him. He’s gonna be a lot better football player in four years.
▪ The University of Pikeville welcomed a host of in-state players to its football team as part of National Signing Day. They were: Luke Adkinson, Shelby Valley (LB); Hunter Asher, Whitley County (LB); Will Bowen, Frankfort (OL); Hunter Conway, Frankfort (DL); Trenton Dalton, Grant County (OL/DL); Josh Ervin, Johnson Central (DE); Aaron Fortenbery, East Jessamine (RB); Jacob Fryman, Grant County (OL); Jared Grubb, South Laurel (A); Austin Hall, Belfry (LB); Dustin Hinkle, Collins (DL); Jrerred Lovins, South Laurel (WR); Darren Morris, Paintsville (LB/TE); Cheikh Ndiaye, Hazard (DB); Wes Neace, Nicholas County (DL); Jaun Price, Butler (DL); Rashard Ross, Covington Holy Cross (DL); Avery Stamper, Letcher County Central (LB); Jordan Wolford, Phelps (DL); Donnie Woolum, Perry County Central (OL)
▪ Pulaski County star receiver Jake Johnson, who signed with Georgetown College on Wednesday, isn’t the only Maroon headed to the college football ranks. Cullen Cox, Jackson Mobley and Jake New all will sign with Lindsey Wilson on Tuesday.