The bar has been raised for the Kentucky football program.
The changes were obvious after a ten-win season. The ripple effect following UK’s historic season on the gridiron could be seen at Kentucky’s first Friday night showcase camp.
My seventh year in attendance, the camp for the best of the best typically yielded a dozen or so athletes that made you say ‘whoa.’ About half of those could compete in the Southeastern Conference. Tonight that number easily doubled.
The overall depth displayed tonight was impressive. Instead of just a handful of athletes, each position group had that many elite competitors. In years past, the defensive line group had a bunch of big guys who lacked explosiveness. Finding athletic bigs on the recruiting trail is never easy, yet tonight there were a handful firing out beneath the canopy to face offensive linemen with exceptional lateral quickness.
The most obvious improvement in talent could be seen during one-on-ones between receivers and defensive backs. Three years ago I could pick out a pair of players on each side. After they took turns going at each other with the best quarterback letting it fly, I had time to decompress and take notes. Tonight there was no down time. In each rep there was a competitive play between the receivers and defensive backs, and it all was possible because they had quarterbacks talented enough to let them make plays.
Throughout the weekend we’ll highlight the top individual performers from each camp. What once used to be a fairly easy job, just got a lot more difficult. I do not mind one bit.