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Does Kentucky need flavor from the Quaker State?

By now we all know about the smack-down of sanctions Mark Emmert and the NCAA put on Penn State Monday. Starting with a $60 million fine, four-year bowl ban, a total of 40 scholarships revoked, and granting immunity to current players and incoming freshmen to immediately be released to become eligible at any other school. That means every player on the Nittany Lions’ roster becomes a free agent and there is nothing the university can do about it.

The power house of Penn State, one of the most talent-rich states in the country in terms of NFL draft picks, has the potential to unload a crop of athletes like we have never seen before. The question is can Joker Phillips take advantage? Don’t worry about scholarship limits either, because the NCAA is strongly considering allowing any school that accepts a PSU transfer to waive its scholarship limits, provided they reduce their roster the following year. Let the feeding frenzy begin.

With so many elite players now up for grabs, John Pennington of says this is a huge opportunity for Joker Phillips and the Kentucky football program to go all-in and make a statement. There is no reason Kentucky cannot recruit in the north the way they recruit in the south.

UK needs to go outside its own state borders to find talent. Georgia has served as a key target for the Cats under Phillips and his predecessor, Rich Brooks. Driving I-75 South, Lexington is 280 miles from the Georgia border. Taking I-64 East, Lexington is about 340 miles from Point Marion, Pennsylvania, but the states are closer than that as the crow flies. The point? It shouldn’t be that much tougher to sell Pennsylvania recruits on UK than it is Georgia athletes.

On the recruiting trail, Phillips and company already use the Southeastern Conference to their advantage. The SEC will always be well represented annually at the NFL Draft, that will never change, and Kentucky has had their share of players selected too. Why not take that strategy north — where Pennsylvania high schools have produced 184 draftees since 1988, compared to just 56 from Kentucky.

The idea that Kentucky can rush in and fill the crater that’s going to be left where Joe Paterno’s statue and the Penn State football program once stood might look silly to non-Wildcat fans. But if Phillips could supplement his roster with just one or two Pennsylvania players per season, it might be well worth the effort involved in putting down roots just a little to the north and east.

Kentucky currently has zero players from Pennsylvania on the roster. Surely it can’t hurt to look there for a little help in the coming years. Penn State is going to be crushed for at least four years under sanctions, at possibly more. With ten less players per season, there are ten players that would otherwise be a Nittany Lion looking elsewhere.

It’s not to say every player will be a perfect fit, or that any players will even want to supplant the pinnacle of the Big Ten for Kentucky. Let’s just not be left in the dust while the rest of the nation is cashing in.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

24 Comments for Does Kentucky need flavor from the Quaker State?

  1. asdf
    3:38 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    There’s merit to this idea. UK is the only SEC school that could offer Penn. kids the chance to play in the SEC, yet remain in daytrip range for their parents to drive in.

  2. really?
    3:39 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    lol, just…lol

  3. uuuu
    3:47 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve always wondered why the Cats don’t put an emphasis on Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It’s an northerly belt of football talent that has supplied the Big 10 for decades, and UK would seem to be in a uniquely prime location to be those kids’ accesspoint to playing in the SEC instead. There was a time when we got some really good kids out of Ohio, but that’s been forever ago. And wasn’t there a kid a decade or so ago who all but committed to UK, but then switched to PSU at the very last second because his dad worked there? That was in the Mumme days, maybe?

  4. Bob Sugar
    3:49 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    “Let’s just not be left in the dust while the rest of the nation is cashing in.” Newsflash for you, Stuart, this happened a long time ago. You know, when Mith Barnyard named Joke Phillips the coach in waiting for a depend wearing lush that was handed a silver platter and ate chicken nuggets off of it. The Joke will not only fail to attract any quality players from the unfortunate events at Penn St., he will fail to achieve any real success during his short stint at the helm. HArnyard will then have to show somebody the Money and get this ship on the right course.

  5. BravoBigBlue
    3:49 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Does Joker even know where Pennsylvania is?

  6. Dcstru0
    4:07 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    I’m not really for trying to get their current players. However, I think now would be a perfect time to hire a new assistant with ties to the area to help recruit going forward.

  7. Chad
    4:08 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    This was my immediate thought yesterday. I would hope we have someone walking around on campus recruiting for the Big Blue right now!!
    If you watch the ESPN 30 for 30 “Pony Express” you can see someone with a “Kentucky Football” polo shirt on campus at SMU when they got the Death Penalty.

  8. UrbanNotSoFastMeyers
    4:10 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    To think that Uk will be the breadwinner for Penn St. players wake the fck up. There is a big ten school right there called ohio st.Not too mention all the others these kids picked a big ten school first there is no restrictions that they can’t go to any other big ten school either.

  9. emlang08
    4:13 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Just went through Penn St.s 2012 commit list not one person 2 star through 4 star was even recruited by KY

    Went through the 2013 list (4 stars only) and found the same!

  10. Bradley
    4:25 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    We are already loaded with players like PSU’s. Not sure where this idea that they are a juggernaut came from. PSU and 90% of their players have sucked for a decade…at least. They would finish in the bottom of the SEC…just like us.

  11. Oops
    4:26 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t worry, IF we were somehow able to start pulling kids from Pennsylvania – they would be very similar to the kids we recruit now – you know – kids that aren’t offered by other schools in the SEC, Big10, ACC, Big8/12, Pac10/12/15, MountainWest, BigEast, Mac, Southern (stop me if you understand yet) CUSA, etc…

  12. big tim
    4:39 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    ky does recruit up north we just dont get many from up there we offered alot of players from ohio and a few some from new jersey

  13. BlueFins
    4:46 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    The NCAA really dropped the bomb on Penn St. yesterday with that huge fine. Will the NCAA send money they made off Penn St. those years to the same organization?

  14. jryan
    5:00 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Id take their rb over ours 20 times outta 10. I guarantee they have some recievers who can actually play reciever and werent qbs in highschool like all of ours hell our guys didnt play reciever until they got on uks campus. And id be willing to bet they have better personel than we do all across the board. I say we trade teams completely. Btw penn st has not been terrible the past 8 years theyve won atleast 8 games the past 5. Our best season was a 7-5 record undrr rich. Wake up. WE NEED SOME PLAYERS FROM PENN STATE!!

  15. James K
    5:19 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Ehh… I’d feel weird about that.

  16. Mike
    5:29 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is not going to capitalize on this opportunity. I just don’t see him understanding what is in front of him until it’s too late.

  17. BigBlue
    6:54 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Joker and Co. are to stupid to take advantage. Wish they would though.

  18. John Lee
    8:00 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    ^^ too stupid, huh??? Grammar is key…

  19. Blue4ever
    8:02 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    We’ve had some pretty good players over the years from Pa. Babe Parilli and George Blanda come to mind. If I remember correctly Curci found some pretty good talent in eastern Ohio and western Pa while he was here? These areas might not produce players with SEC speed but traditionally it has produced great linemen, linebackers and QB’s. You need the big ugliest up front.

  20. UK football recruiting
    8:46 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    All UK coaches from Bryant through Claiborne recruited Pennsylvania heavily. As mentioned above UK has had quite a few really players from that state in its history–Blanda, Parilli, Randy Holleran, Lou Michaels, Doug Kotar, Thom Dornbrook, Steve Meilinger to name a few.

  21. Erniecat
    12:41 am July 25, 2012 Permalink

    #11 We must have some really good coaches to win any games in SEC with this poor talent,dum a$$.

  22. He egg
    1:21 am July 25, 2012 Permalink

    I doubt Joker and staff even try to get any PSU players.

  23. kybigblue
    11:39 am July 25, 2012 Permalink

    The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the NCAA may allow teams that have no scholarships left to take a transfer from Penn State as long as they are not over the limit in 2013-14.

  24. kybigblue
    11:44 am July 25, 2012 Permalink

    Since Penn State will not be at full strength for years UK may have an opportunity to recruit players over the next few years that would normally have headed to Penn State.