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Stoops is Keeping it in Kentucky with Preferred Walk-Ons

St. X's Charles Walker shows off his 4.48 speed. (Photo by Tim Porco, h/t

St. X’s Charles Walker shows off his 4.48 speed. (Photo by Tim Porco)

You probably already knew that the Cats plan on signing four of the state’s five best players: Matt Elam, Drew Barker, Lloyd Tubman and Adrian Middleton.  What you didn’t know is that there are still plenty of solid prospects around the state worthy to wear the UK uniform.

Over the past year the coaching staff has traveled to most of the high schools around the state, developing relationships with players and coaches.  In the process, they’ve seen some hidden talent that doesn’t have quite the size of their normal scholarship players.  In an attempt to “keep the best in the state home” they have added five preferred walk-ons to the 2014 class.  They may not become your starting linebacker or receiver, but the play on the practice field and on Special Teams is just as important to Kentucky’s success in the future.

Charles Walker

While I remember him most in his epic CSAA matchups at Holy Spirit against my little brother, Charles Walker made a name for himself during his four years at St. X.  Walker was their premiere athlete, starring at running back while catching plenty of passes and playing Special Teams.  Unfortunately injuries kept him out a lot during his Senior year, but the Kentucky coaching staff could not ignore Walker when he was timed running a 4.48 40-yard dash during camp.

Blake Spencer

Blake Spencer was an all-state linebacker for Betsy Layne High School last season after racking in 36 solo and 90 assisted tackles and two interceptions.  The 6’3 210-pounder also caught 5 touchdowns at receiver.  Spencer had some small-school offers but decided to come to UK as a Robinson Scholar.  Already with a full-ride to UK, the coaching staff decided to give him a shot on the football field.

(Photo by Kim Creech)

Whitehead can do just about anything on the football field. (Photo by Kim Creech)

Carson Whitehead 

Whitehead was the best of the best in the mountains last year, averaging 11.6 tackles per game for the Black Bears of Harlan County.  He was also a stud on the offensive side of the ball, leading his team in rushing with over 1,100 yards during his Senior season.  Whitehead is a ‘head buster’ but he can’t bust every head he sees.  His carer with the Black Bears ended against Madison Southern when Damien Harris went absolutely insane, scoring 6 TDs on 342 yards rushing.  Don’t worry Carson, we won’t hold it against ya.

David Bouvier

Lexington Catholic has a tradition of developing top talent for the next level, just ask Jacksonville Jaguar Winston Guy.  Winston was a stud and Phillies’ centerfielder Ben Revere was a local legend, but neither of them caught more passes for more yards at Lexington Catholic than David Bouvier.  Bouvier has all of the tangibles of a great wide receiver, except height.  His 5’9 stature prevented the big boys from going after him, but the Cats couldn’t turn down his 4.3-4.4 speed.

No, not the one from Sixteen Candles.

No, not the Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles.

Jake Ryan

Ryan played a little quarterback for the Tates Creek football team last fall, but his leg is what enticed the UK staff to offer him a preferred walk-on position.  Landon Foster can’t punt forever, with Ryan stepping in as the next member of #PunterU.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

6 responses to “Stoops is Keeping it in Kentucky with Preferred Walk-Ons”

  1. DocJHC

    Also, they’ve added Ian Gilson, an offensive lineman from Glasgow, as a preferred walk-on.

  2. BGF

    Walker as you stated in your article had the injury bug during his X career, but is a great player. If he can stay healthy he will be a big get for this staff.

  3. Rocket20

    Charles Walker is a great football player and even better individual . His game against Ohio State champion Cincinnati Moeller when he gained 250 yards rushing showed his tremendous talent. Charles will be a great addition to this class and will compete with the best of them. Welcome toUK Charles!

  4. GRob

    Charles Walker is a huge get any way you cut it. He’s an SEC talent who could make a really good slot receiver or safety in a couple of years. He’ll definitely see the field at some point on special teams. The fact that his entire extended family are the biggest UofL fans on Earth speaks volumes for Coach Stoops’ recruiting acumen. Welcome to the Big Blue, Charles!!

  5. JimHarris

    I don’t know what roles any of these kids will end up playing, but it does seem that the term “former walk-on” applies to a very good scholly player now and then when he’s just made a great play. I also don’t know whose idea it was to keep the walk-ons to Ky men, but it’s one of the best moves yet by our staff, Mitch or whomever.

  6. wickersham

    I always think of Jeff Brady, walkon from N KY who worked his way from scout team to special teams to playing some LB to starting LB to NFL. He is described as the patron saint of the walkons. It wasn’t but a short times til a Shannon boy did almost the same, John? More recently I think John Conner The Terminator.