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High School Daze


I know most of you are still hung over from The X-Factor last night so I won’t use all caps today. On a serious note, if you are still tailgating for the Archie Goodwin decision, send me a picture on Twitter @MontellKSR. This goes for this weekend and the rest of the football season: if you have a tailgate, gameday rager, college house bed sheet sign that goes above and beyond, or if you are simply a Wildcat super fan doing something extraordinary, take a picture on your cell phone or beeper and send it over. I’ll find a way to use it here or on the Twitter account somehow.

Now, back to business. I believe you and I may have gotten off on the wrong foot. First of all, I hate mediocrity like a fat kid hates skates. I love Kentucky football and I’m as frustrated with this group as you are, believe me. That’s why I made a list of the “benchmark” programs that are similarly situated with Kentucky in order to combat justification for mediocrity. You’ve heard the excuses about Kentucky’s poor recruiting base, lack of football investment, academic ranking, etc. I’m not writing these posts to hide poor performance behind UK’s inherent challenges; I’m writing to show that other programs are getting it done in spite of those challenges.

Excuse #1: “Kentucky has a terrible football recruiting base, so UK will never be able to compete.”

Kentucky is by no means a football recruiting hot bed. A 2006 ESPN list ranked the Bluegrass State as the 36th best state for high school football recruiting. (Got your message loud and clear, bro). From 2007- 2011, Tennessee high schools produced an average of fifty-five D-1 signees a year. North Carolina yielded ninety-five signees per year. Missouri? Sixty-nine signees. Pennsylvania? 103 signees. Mississippi averages seventy- nine signees, Arkansas thirty- two and South Carolina averages sixty- four.  Not to mention the masses at Florida, California, Ohio, Texas, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana. You get the picture.

In that same time period, Kentucky high schools averaged just twenty-four (24) signees per year. Assume that the top programs will court the few four and five star kids hard, and that leaves the handful of other recruits to be picked over by UK and Louisville. Also consider that a school’s chance at landing a three plus star recruit decreases exponentially with every mile outside of the 200-mile radius of the recruit’s hometown. You can see what makes this excuse so tempting.

But not so fast, my friend. In the above five years measured, West Virginia high schools averaged just five signees per year. However, WVU posted a Rivals Top-50 class every year but once since 2003, cracking the Rivals Top 30 three times and sent twenty-five (25) Mountaineers to the NFL since 2002. Kentucky sent nineteen (19) players to the NFL, posted four Rivals Top 50 recruiting classes with no classes ranked below 36th. Louisville sent twenty- nine (29) players to the League, recorded six Rivals Top 50 classes and two Scout Top-15 classes. What’s more: WVU and UL won 85 and 70 games since the 2002 season; Kentucky won just 53. UK can’t hide behind schedule strength either, as the WVU SOS over that period was 42nd and the UK SOS was 49th (More on this in a later post).

Perhaps most damaging to this excuse is the case of Boise State. Idaho produced an average of ten signees per annum, but Boise is 200 miles from nowhere. Lexington is 200 miles or less from Knoxville, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Dayton. Boise is 253 miles from Walla Walla. Look it up. While Kentucky fans were crying about a lack of high school football talent, Boise State was building a solid football program. In the time period described above, the Broncos sent nineteen players to the NFL, racked up a number of Scout and Rivals Top-50 classes and one Scout Top-25 class. Boise State won 103 games since 2002 and the BSU SOS averaged just 62nd in that time period. Not too bad for a WAC club.

I could sit and give you statistics all day, like how Massachusetts’s high schools average the same amount of signees as Kentucky, yet Boston College won twenty-eight more games and sent five more NFL players than UK, while maintaining nearly identical SOS ratings (49th, 50th). I could make the stats shorter, like Connecticut averaged only (14) signees, yet UConn won (65) games with a SOS average at 59th. Or how Oregon averaged only (16) signees but U of O won (78) games with a SOS average at 40th. But you’d just say something about how Oregon is an exception because it neighbors California. Then I’d have to be all like, “The distance between Eugene, Oregon and Los Angeles is nearly 100 miles longer that the distance Lexington is from Charlotte and Atlanta combined.” I don’t want to do that, I really don’t.

I could even tell you how bad Iowa high school football is, and about U. of Iowa’s (78) wins with a SOS average at 36th. But I won’t. You get the point.

Go Cats. #noexcuses #freeaboyd

Article written by Tyler Montell

49 Comments for High School Daze

  1. comeonman
    1:11 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    another rambling post… although some of the data was good… poorly organized and difficult to read.
    lists are your friend…. lists are your friend

  2. Cat fan33
    1:20 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    WVU is not in the SEC and even if they were they would probably be ‘middle of the pack.’ I have said for years that it is the talent level recruited that matters so much more in football than most other team sport. The better the coaching (coaching up) the more you can offset talent and the greater the talent the more you can offset less than stellar coaching. You have to put 11 on the field at a time not 5 as in basketball. The geographic location of KY makes it harder since it is essentially the most Northern School in the SEC. The ‘sunshine players’ not wanting to play in the cold don’t want to come here and to steal the top-notched ‘winter players’ from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Purdue, Boston College (all of which one could argue have better football ‘traditions’), etc. is very tough. It is what it is unless we move KY to the coast! I support Coach Phillips till he has ample time to prove or disapprove his methods which will be witnessed in another year or two.

  3. doofus
    1:22 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    you’re the new bti, congrats.
    wvu recruits criminals…chris henry, pac man, etc…they have no standards. boise has one of the best coaches in the country.

  4. Lando CALrisian
    1:22 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Wow….that’s a long way to go to make point. A for effort. lol

  5. douggercats
    1:23 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Tyler, tyler, tyler. Good post, but have you read the comments on this site? You gonna make some peoples’ heads hurt, bro. Maybe a powerpoint slide with number of high school signees on the x axis and number of wins on the y. You can use a picture of a steam pile of poo where UK intersects.

  6. Right On!
    1:25 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    This is a great article. #1, you are being over critical. Anyone with an average IQ or better can read this easily. This simply is a WELL PRESENTED representation of why Kentucky football could be and should be much better than it is. Yes, Kentucky has certain limitations, but not limitations that should perenially prohibit us from having success. History and tradition of awful seasons is our biggest obstacle. This history and tradition can start to be changed…..

  7. B from Shelbyville
    1:27 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Good write up… Stats are facts, not opinions… As Kentucky fans we need to stop making excuses and accepting mediocrity… We need to spend more money and lure a proven big time coach…

  8. Mr Schwump
    1:27 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Another falsehood perpetuated by the UKAA and their shills like Jones and Combs. CWS is falling down falling down falling down……….

  9. Jax Teller
    1:31 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I love how you decided to start your stats in 2002 when Kentucky was just getting ready to really feel the effects of probation.

    You’re missing the point on the teams you mentioned:
    1) None are in the SEC. Define “compete” as you use it. Kentucky could easily “compete” with those other schools if they were in their conferences. Where we can’t is the SEC. Stick us in a different conference and watch how much closer the win totals become. Wins lead to better recruiting, which leads to more players in the league…
    2) The most successful of those run some sort of gimmicky offense; WV, Boise St, Oregon
    3) They have strong coaches that other programs wish they had; WV-Rich Rod, Louisville-Petrino, Oregon-Kelly, hell even Iowa-Ferentz, UConn-Edsall (watch how much they fall now that he’s gone).

    Yes they may all have similar SOS numbers, but our SOS gets brought down significantly by the pasties we play because of the meat of the SEC. Meanwhile they play a schedule with overall comparable SOS but isn’t nearly as top heavy as ours.

  10. Doom or Gloom
    1:34 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Awesome….just awesome!

    Great article, keep this up!

  11. UK FAN
    1:36 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    How about we go out and PAY for a coach who can recruit. People wants to make excuses but until we actually pay some money that will get recruits to UK its still an argument nobody can prove. Try to spend alittle money on a coach and if he still can’t recruit at UK. Problem is we always want to spend chump change on no-name coaches and get the same results. Lets try another route maybe it might just work.

  12. btowncatfan
    1:38 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Based upon other responses, I can’t decide if the post sucks or is great.

  13. DTE
    1:39 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    The only thing Boyd needs to be freed from is his scholarship.

  14. herewego
    1:42 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Like many people have already posted. Kentucky has the longest and hardest road to success because of the sec. Also a lot of oregons success should be credited to Nike. Who wouldn’t want to go there with all top and first of the line nike gear they would receive. Comparing UK to Oregon is completely irrational.

  15. tuggerman
    1:43 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    You noted Pennsylvania as producing D1 talent and the 200 mile radius deal. If you look at a map Morgantown, WV is very very close to PA, as in spitting distance. Also everything in Idaho is very far from everything so they are all used to it. Best point in the article is that our recruiting stinks!

  16. bigbluedude
    1:44 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    last time i looked, boise had like 36 players on their roster from california. how many do we have? a 3 star player in california, is probably better than a 5 star from ky.

    1:46 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Funny, all of the teams you are comparing Kentucky to don’t play in the SEC. That fact alone makes all of your statistics and comments meaningless.

  18. manbearpig
    1:47 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    When did BTI get an alter ego?

  19. SweetTeaMob til I DIE
    1:48 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Why free Aaron Boyd when E.J. Fields was finally freed last weekend and proved himself?
    1. LaRod King
    2. E.J. Fields
    3. Gene McCaskill
    4. Brian Adams
    5. DeMarco Robinson

    This needs to be our depth chart at receiver for the remainder of the season. Feel free to swap 3-5, but 1 and 2 need to stay where they are.

  20. Doom or Gloom
    2:00 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    17 – funny how we have not beat 2 teams in the SEC east in 25 years! Come on, get over the SEC is tough garbage! Boise, WVU, ect. would not have lost to TN and FL for 25+ years! And they would beat MSU, Ole Miss, Georgia, Vandy, USCjr, ect.

    He did not say win the SEC but I can guarantee UConn, UWV would compete in the SEC. Not be good but at least compete

  21. UKGoBigBlue
    2:06 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Blah Blah Blah; this is the same argument that has begin going on about UK football from the moment Bear Bryant or Fran Curci left. UK football is the absolute complete minimum. UK admin is never going to spend the kind of money it would need to spend to compete on a yearly bases. It is too expensive to run a college sports program with two major sports at the same time. Waste your time all you want; UK football is never going to be great.

  22. Really
    2:07 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I’m with Tyler, stop being wussies and whining. The SEC is tough, so what? I keep hearing complaints about the recruiting but Joker does well enough to put us in a position to win most games (even though we often struggle). Playcalling is more of our problem than recruiting, conference or facilities. He might get better but so far Joker is the opposite of Tubby; all recruiting, zero coaching. IF Joker stays then Randy Sanders needs to be demoted (or given the opportunity to coach elsewhere) and a good OC brought in.

  23. Justin G.
    2:12 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    All this shows, is that it is hard to get good recruits, to come to a struggling program, in a good conference! Recruits want to play for a team that is going to win, and has the perception of winning! UK plays in a conference where it is very hard to win, and recruits know that! If UK played in the Big East or ACC, then they might have a shot at winning more and garnering more respect, thus, having a better shot at getting those prized recruits.

  24. B from Shelbyville
    2:13 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Another excuse about the gimick offenses Boise, Oregon and WB run… I say bring them gimick offenses on… Have u seen what our offense looks like? And about the bs excuse about we play in the SEC.. The SOS is a fact.. Not an opinion… 25 years of add kicking from TN and FL is ridiculous… Like I said.. Spend some damn money on a proven big time coach and bring on the gimick offenses if need be…

  25. Gogh Big Bleu
    2:18 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Stats are facts; facts are objective. Opinion is not fact; opinion is subjective. Thank you, Tyler, for the objective & factual post. Don’t mind the nincompoops who hate reading. This was well done, Tyler. Keep it up. This is the internet. Trying to make people on the internet happy with every post is like peeing to put out a fire from which you’re downwind. It won’t work and it will just be unnecessarily frustrating.

    2:29 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    20- He compares other schools win totals to that of Kentucky while failing to mention that the MAJORITY OF KENTUCKY’S GAMES ARE IN THE SEC. Kentucky would have more wins if it played Boise State’s schedule, so would Vanderbilt or Ole Miss. Kentucky would have more wins if they played in the Big East. I’m glad UK is in the SEC. It’s a great league. Get a big name coach in Lexington and invest in football even more and watch what happens. The Cats could and would contend in the South Eastern Conference.

  27. Jax Teller
    2:32 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    #24 — I’m not saying anything is wrong with the gimmick offense. I agree, if that’s what it takes to win, then by all means lets do this. Sling it all over the place, run the read option, I don’t care, just win. I also agree about a big name coach, pay the $$ and bring one in. That’s what it takes to get a program like Kentucky to take that next step like a Boise and Oregon.

    However, you are completely misguided is the SOS. Yes, the numbers are a fact, but that is the overall SOS. Look at the teams he mentioned, NONE of them play the top heavy schedule that we do. Our SOS would be much higher than the others, but we choose to schedule 3-4 cupcake games a year because of the top heavy nature of the SEC. Those games are the ones that bring down the SOS for UK. Compare that to a UConn or WV and they play 10 games against average competition with no real top heavy teams meaning less cupcakes. Put them all together and come to the same average SOS.

    You can look at the numbers in a vacuum and make comparisons, but to really understand what’s going on you have to use some common sense. Team A plays a team with ranks of 2 and 100, Team B plays 2 teams with ranks of 38 and 64. Which team do you think has a better shot at winning both games?

  28. BigBlueBear
    2:37 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I dont understand this “gimmick” offense BS. if it moves the ball and scores points and wins games, it just sounds like an “effective” offense.

  29. Legggooo
    2:40 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Unlike some of the other posts on here, I think this was an awesome post! A lot better than any of BTI’s.

  30. Jax Teller
    2:52 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    All I’m saying is you can’t use SOS and # of players in the NFL to really show how other teams are doing in comparison to UK. All teams have challenges yes, but we also face challenges that most don’t…the SEC.

  31. kd
    2:54 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Well one thing I hate about UK recruiting compared to UL cats always continue to want a roster of kentucky all state kids all in well good but you can’t win especillay in the sec stocked with ky talent. Cards usually take nothing but the better of the state prospects look at the rosters plus lville going back to the weber years have always up untill John L and Kragthorpe have Fl players Lville I think doesn’t harp on the history of all their NFL players alot of them have had major sucess.With the cards in the sec and strongs name they could be quite sucessful truth hurts.

  32. Aaron Boyd
    2:54 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    T-Money- thanks for the shout out little homie just trynna get better every day.

  33. Kernel Sanders
    2:56 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    In this post, you list the state of Mississippi as having an average of 79 D-1 FB recruits per year, way ahead of the state of TN, which has an average of 55. Yet a couple days ago you posted a list of “benchmark” schools that reside in the states with the worst recruiting bases. The 2 schools at the top of your list were Ole Miss and Miss. State, and UT wasn’t even on the list. Seems to me that a state producing 79 D-1 recruits per year is NOT a poor recruiting base. You also listed Clemson and South Carolina as 2 schools with a poor recruiting base, yet here you note that the state of South Carolina produces an average of 69 D-1 players per year. Your math is more than fuzzy. In the earlier post you say these schools are in poor recruiting areas but assert they have more success than UK fb, and in the post above you note how many D-1 players they produce, yet the state of KY only averages 24 per year. Do you even know what you are trying to say because you are contradicting yourself.

  34. Powerlifter165
    2:59 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    #19 Agree, EJ was a QB at Frankfort High, wouldn’t mind seeing him in the wildcat package.

  35. Dark Helmet
    3:06 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Way to Rebel Tyler this goes against about everything Matt Jones says about UK football. I’m more in line with the middle. Kentucky football coaching and playcalling should be better and the recruiting should be better. I don’t feel like our guys even go after big time players and we can’t even land the big time players in our own state. Yeah I don’t expect UK to be UF, but come on after 4 straight bowl games and a million games on espn and CBS and we are still a program made up of average recruits? i think Joker is great at finding diamonds in the rough but that only works for mid-major basketball programs. It might have something to do with the vanilla offense and defense that we’ve seen over the years.

  36. just saying
    3:08 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    List the names and backgrounds of the coaching staff in each of those situations. Until UK brings in a big time coach, the locker rooms are all we will have to brag about

  37. bandalumnus
    3:10 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Of course, you overlook the biggest factor of all of this regarding wins and losses: Kentucky plays in the SEC against the likes of Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and LSU. Unless you’re one of the big boys, every year, you’re going to come away with more losses than wins because of the level of competition in conference. That’s the white elephant in the room, boys and girls. Until Kentucky has the same level of talent (is that ever going to happen?) they’re never going to be consistently competitive from year to year. End of story.

  38. kyhank
    3:23 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I like it, GREAT coaches get the players !!

  39. Jones Returns
    3:31 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Enough said… WVU is 7-2 against SEC opponents and the 2 losses were close losses. After they smack around “#2” LSU on Saturday they’ll be 8-2 against SEC opponents. Don’t talk about things which you know little about and NEVER compare WVU to UK again. If the SEC really did deny WVU the opportunity to join the SEC like it sounds that’s the stupidest decision they’ve ever made. Scared preppy pansies… What in the world has Missouri or Texas A&M ever accomplished??? They bring nothing in football or basketball. WVU competes with the best year in and year out in both sports and have a tremendous national following. Just ignorance…

    *Sep. 25, 2010 LSU 20, West Virginia 14

    *Sep. 19, 2009 Auburn 41, West Virginia 30

    *2008 Fiesta Bowl, #9 West Virginia 48, #3 Oklahoma 28 (I’m aware Oklahoma is not in the SEC)

    -Oct. 23, 2008: West Virginia 34, Auburn 17.

    -Oct. 20, 2007: West Virginia 38, Mississippi State 13.

    -Oct. 7, 2006: West Virginia 42, Mississippi State 14.

    -Jan. 2, 2006: West Virginia 38, Georgia 35.

    -Dec. 28, 2000: West Virginia 49, Ole Miss 38

  40. kyhank
    3:49 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I am sorry Tyler, I do not think they understand SOS that has to be the only reason they keep repeating who we play.

  41. Montell
    3:57 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Kernel- I just meant the bottom 25 states., but clearly that list was off, as it had TN ranked higher. Things may have been different from 2003-2006 for those states, but it’s irrelevant. I was wrong to use that ESPN list in 2006. Good catch.

    About the SEC strengths, I’ll post about that next week.

  42. Pookie Jones
    3:59 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Drew Bledsoe is from Walla Walla

  43. Jax Teller
    4:36 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    #39 — That might be one of the dumbest posts to ever appear on KSR. I’m not even going to get into the fact that you said WV is going to smack around LSU. First of all, Rich Rod, Pat White, and Steve Slaton aren’t walking through that door so throw everything from 2007 and previous out the window. As for your stellar SEC record, congrats. You beat up on some bad Mississippi State teams where Sylvester Croom had his juggernaut rolling, a 5-7 Auburn team, and lost to a Auburn team that UK beat in 2009. So post Rich Rod you are 1-2 vs SEC teams with a loss to an Auburn team that Kentucky beat. Call me crazy but that’s a far cry from the 7-2 you tout.

  44. Jones Returns
    5:21 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    #43…WVU was an elite football program long before Rich Rodriguez and will continue to be now that he’s gone. There’s obviously nothing I can say that will make you think otherwise, so I’ll quit wasting my time. Besides, I wouldn’t expect your to know anything about a winning football team..afterall you’ve obviously rooted for a loser your entire life.

  45. BoogiesToofussus
    6:11 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    #39 Really? You think LSU is gonna get smacked around huh? Well partner it’s your dream make it big as you want! Lets see WVU get a weekly dose of Bama, Florida, UT, Auburn etc. year in and year out….your funny! It’s no coincidence that “every” national champion in the last 5 yrs has come from the SEC. 2 reasons the SEC won’t admit WVU, tho they do make sense geographically and competition wise! Poor academics and suspect police records of your athletes…we don’t need WVU for that we have UT!

  46. bubbles
    7:15 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Big problem w your article…..west Virginia borders Pennsylvania..they tap into that, much as ky borders Ohio but we dont get cincy players

  47. Jax Teller
    8:26 am September 23, 2011 Permalink


  48. Fritz
    9:31 am September 23, 2011 Permalink

    Great post Tyler. Some people just don’t like to face FACTS.. and if they do they have excuses for everything. Bottom line, KY will not have a winning football program until the administration decides to have one. Its obviously not a priority – so the fans just need to accept mediocrity or just stop paying attention. I vote for the latter. If people stop showing up, maybe it will wake somebody up.\

    USC jr turned it around w/ a good coach, UNC did as well. There are plenty of examples of programs that have taken big steps forward by hiring the right coach. Look at Alabama for goodness sake. Tradition, money and recruiting base meant nothing until they got the right coach in there.

    I really can’t watch this team any more.. Just to painful. I’ll be back after the whole thing comes crashing down and they hire a great coach. Not holding my breath on the second one.

  49. Tuck Fennissee
    10:32 am September 23, 2011 Permalink

    How long has this guy been writing? I feel like I’ve missed out! Awesome work, Tyler. Your knowledge of the game far surpasses the arm chair, once was a star 3rd string know-it-all’s who feel the need to criticize someone with a passion for this University. How do I know you do? Bc YOU WERE STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY. The only one who really did anything either, I was in law school at UK when you were President. Regardless, your posts are well done, makes me want to visit this site. Keep up the good work and don’t listen to these guys, they don’t understand even why we run the draw on 3rd and long. Cmon guys, seriously?