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Joker Phillips discusses his new class

— Joker kicked off the presser by thanking his whole staff. And not just his assistant coaches, he thanked the wives of the coaches, the support staff within the athletics department, and even Coach Cal. Joker said Calipari opened his basketball locker room for UK football recruits during games. Tell me that’s not an eye-opening experience for a high school football player. Cal gets it.

— Joker is very high on what he calls the “specific profile” they’re looking for in players. UK is only after high character guys who are pursuing a degree and love the game of football. More importantly, the staff is looking for guys who love playing the game here at Kentucky.

— One reason why the staff did a great job with this class is because they’re getting on kids early. Not only is Joker proud of getting early commitments, he’s proud of the way his staff had an eye for talent and got on them early. Joker said some of the recruits didn’t get the attention they deserved because Kentucky had already swooped in and locked up a commitment.

— Some of the guys had to fight off bigger schools once they committed to UK. Joker said he was happy to see some kids stay strong with their commitment to Kentucky when other schools called. Dyshawn Mobley is one of those he said “they were glad to hold on to.”

— “This is a great class that got even better in the last 48 hours,” he said. He believed they were in good with Khalid Henderson but they still had to wait until the fax came through before they could celebrate. “There’s excitement in your belly and it erupts with the fax comes through.”

— He said signing the top player in Kentucky was big and even bigger to add three other in-state prospects with him. Ohio is also important and he preached a huge emphasis to move further into Ohio in the future. UK signed two Ohio players in this class.

“It’s not about Coach Brooks’s guys; it’s about Joker’s guys.” Joker said he was proud to go to bat for Rich Brooks when he was here and he’s looking for guys that’ll go to bat for him now.

— Priorities offensively were to look for a top ranked QB, a couple of SEC caliber running backs, big athletic offensive linemen and sign an athletic quarterback. All four needs were met and exceeded. He said Justin Taylor still hasn’t even seen the place, but he’s coming to Kentucky after committing late in the process.

— Jalen Whitlow, the potential Wildcat quarterback, gives the opportunity to add another package to the offense. Joker called him “a big Randall-Cobb-type athlete.” He said, “That’s what we thought Randall was when we got him.”

— Defensively, the staff is still learning to recruit for the new system. They’re looking for a lot more athletes on the field to combat the spread offense, but still stop power packages. The new system needs physical guys who can still play in space. The back seven was the top priority in recruiting to replace all the guys they lost. There are 11 guys in this class who play in that back seven.

— Joker expects the defensive strength to the be the line and the Cats added even more potential playmakers to the front four.

— Kentucky played 11 freshmen last year, and he expects even more to see the field from this class. Two of those guys are Jonathan Reed and Cody Quinn, who drew a lot of praise from Joker in the secondary. He called them high character guys who could be dynamic in the return game.

— He announced that Patrick Towles will wear #14, the same number his grandfather, Jim Bunning, wore as a Hall of Fame MLB pitcher. He called him a Kentucky boy who really wants to be the face of the program.

— He said Khalid Henderson had a lonnggg session with Rick Minter, going over tapes of Danny Trevathan. Both Henderson and Minter enjoyed the long session together and discussed Henderson’s potential in filling Trevathan’s shoes. Henderson fits the mold of Danny Dreadhead and wants to be that guy.

It’s all about “the profile” they were looking for in guys. Only time will tell if it pans out.

Kentucky has its new class.

Welcome them.

 

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

44 Comments for Joker Phillips discusses his new class



  1. Zach
    4:03 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    firrrrrrrrrrst



  2. inwandsyday
    4:05 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Привет, мне на день рождения кто нить купит? аааа???



  3. ktmiln2
    4:07 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Wow, I did not know that Jim Bunning was Patrick Towles’ grandfather.



  4. ktmiln2
    4:09 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    2. It’s your birthday?



  5. hersheyisabear
    4:09 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    I am very anxious to see how these new guys execute on the field and how Joker coaches them. I am giving Joker the benifet of the doubt this upcoming season. I hope he proves us wrong.



  6. Ohio Colonel
    4:14 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Gee, not even 12th in the SEC any more. Now …. #14 !!!!



  7. Maxwell
    4:15 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    I have to admit, I wasn’t very high on Joker during this football season, but beating Tennessee buys him a little time. After seeing how good this incoming class is, I’m very excited about football. I will be very interested in seeing the QB battle between Maxwell Smith and Patrick this year.



  8. Blueballs
    4:17 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    So next November they will say we need to recruit better after our 2 or 3 big wins.



  9. ShelbyCatFan
    4:18 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    QB battle? If Patrick doesn’t start week 1 I’ll give up on joker again in an instant!!!



  10. jon
    4:19 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Congratulations to Joker and staff. I think they recruited quality guys who fill many needs across the depth chart on both sides of the ball. After beating “them dirty snitches” to close the season last year, the Cats need to beat UL to start the season. If they can keep that momentum rolling…maybe we can snag some early commitments from quality players next year!



  11. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?
    4:22 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    I would like to see Towles start week 1 also, but I would be reluctant to “throw him to the wolves” against SEC defenses. Seems like it could do more harm than good.



  12. Blue in Bama
    4:23 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Go Cats. Can’t wait to see these guys suit up, especially Whitlow. I have watched him grow the last four years and I think he will be a solid player for my Cats!!!



  13. Mr. Ready
    4:25 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    He better brag now…



  14. 78 NCAA Champions
    4:26 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Patrick Towles will need to play early to open up the offense. I only expect five wins at best, but significant improvement in performance will buy Joker a couple of years. The Tennessee win helped sooth my pain, but offensive improvement must be attained this year.



  15. thefan
    4:27 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Like I said doesn’t matter who we recruit we have no coaches that can make these players better. And I hate saying that but its the truth. The playing and not using players like they should be used in games is what kills UK football.



  16. John Franklin
    4:31 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Not even top 50 by rivals.



  17. Will
    4:33 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    To everyone going “Oh wow, bottom of the pack in the SEC!” Shut up. For the rest of us who actually understand what is going on, please shut up. First, it depends on what site you look at as our ranking. I could come back with, actually we are being ranked 10th out of 14, so we got better! Also, regardless of 10 or 14 to still be top 50 in recruiting with a class like this shows exactly how strong the SEC is. It is a fact that, barring some turn of the system that is NCAAF itself, we will not be an Alabama in football. This is a huge step for the program not only getting a class with this talent, but that the talent was also taken away from other proven SEC teams (and they were highly sought talent to boot). I for one am excited about this class and am anxious to see where it leads us.



  18. string music
    4:34 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    #15 I’m sooo with you on that. I wish nothing but the best for these kids and the whole team for that fact, but how can I be excited to see more unprepared and uninspired football? I put it all on the coaches. I hope I am wrong in fact, I hope I’m so wrong that I will even kick myself in the nuts if Joke turns this program around but I just don’t see it.



  19. bigcombs
    4:35 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    #16….that is why those ranking are not the be all. Heck Scout has UK ranked 31 and Vandy 41 but ESPN has Vandy at 25.



  20. Jon O
    4:39 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    write it down, Morgan Newton will be the starting QB come next season. Towles will need some time to adjust to the college game and learn UK’s offense. Wouldn’t surprise me if he redshirts.



  21. Kentucky Gentleman
    4:45 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    20 – I agree. He needs some time to adjust before he is thrown out there. If they are depending as much as it seems on Pat, it could be a good idea to bring in someone to help him transition to college football. Someone such as his HS QB coach who also played at UK… Lorenzen.



  22. John Franklin
    4:46 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    19. be all be all.be last team in SEC for a while. Only team we can hang with is Ole Miss. we do not have a chance agaisnt Vandy. Coaching does wonders.



  23. UKfansNKY
    4:47 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    THANK YOU #17!!!! BACK THE BLUE OR SHUT UP!!!! GO CATS!!! BTW…..#20 Newton will be a tight end.



  24. John Franklin
    4:47 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    20. do not write anything down. Newton is garbage and everyone knows it. We put a WR in at QB last gme of the seson and he dosent even throw it and we win. newton is beyond awful.



  25. Bernie Fine's Wife
    4:54 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Too bad all the freshman can’t be redshirted like at a real football program.



  26. SeoulCat
    5:00 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    #3, My reaction exactly. Jim is a great guy (regardless of whether or not you like his politics, he is an exceedingly nice man) and was a topnotch athlete. I hope Patrick has inherited both qualities from his grandfather.



  27. jpgott2
    5:00 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    I am not a negative person, for I am just a realist, but, until I see it on the field, I will just call it as I see it, PROPAGANDA. Actions speak louder then words! The UK fan-base has been top-25 in attendance for years (except for last year), and wants a respectable program, but, the reality is, that will never happen with a coach like Joker, who might get lower-level talent (compared to the SEC), yet has trouble actually developing it.
    He talks about how they got “guys that fit their program”, and how they got “high character guys”. That just means they got a bunch of unheralded recruits, that were not on the radar of most. Will there be some surprises? Yes, but not enough to make us competitive in the SEC!
    See, the thing is, UK fans are not expecting UK to become an Alabama of football! All we hope for is for UK to field a COMPETITIVE team, that has a shot at winning when they take the field. That has rarely been UK football, and under Joker, I doubt it ever will be.
    What will next seasons operation be? We have lost are 2 best tacklers, and some offensive linemen that underachieved. If you thought this year was bad (we had a very easy SEC schedule), next season is going to be a headache, especially with that addition of 2 more SEC teams.
    Like every year, I will support the players, hope for the best, yet, still expect the worse.



  28. Jon O
    5:03 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    24, i agree Newton struggled last year. Keep in mind Woodson struggled his junior year, and most thought he wouldn’t be the starter the following year. He ended up leading the football program his SR year to the most succesful season in recent memory. Let’s not write Newton off as of yet, lets at least see what he does during spring ball.



  29. jpgott2
    5:11 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    20. Maxwell Smith will start over Newton, easily! He showed how deficient Newton was, and he was a Freshmen that was thrown in there because Newton got hurt. Ask Matt Roark who he liked throwing to him? Smith is a true QB, and Newton is a guy that does not have a great arm, and is not that fast (as a scrambler). Remember when Joker stated that Newton was ‘night and day better’ last pre-season. He would talk about all the throws he was making in practice, and all of his improvement. That evaluation turned UK into one of the worst offensive team in D-1 football, when it came to actually performing!



  30. Blue Jesus
    5:12 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    I hope Towles redshirts this season so that after Joker is fired and we have a real coach he can have a full four years with Patrick, unless of course he is drafted after three…



  31. wrap it up
    5:24 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    I would bet anything that Towels redshirts this year. Morgan will be the back-up sr. and Mad Max will start. I would drop 5k on it..any takers???



  32. Tony Greene's Spleen
    5:34 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Max Smith starts next year.
    Towles will reshirt, which is a good thing.



  33. BigBlueFan31
    5:43 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    21. Andre Woodson or Tee Martin ca’t help a Qb? I’m pretty sure Woodson was on a team that was ranked 8th in the country and Tee has a National title on his resume.



  34. Ghostofbearbryant
    5:46 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Oh, I get it: if we keep saying ‘great job staff, great job’ enough times it will become true. Dead last: SEC.



  35. JBR
    6:03 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Exactly 27…this is the happy time of the year for those blue colored glasses folks, like over at BBK. They talk about how great this class is, COMPARED TO OTHER UK CLASSES. That means exactly nothing until we start competing in our conference. AND, this time of year is great because everyone forgets that the rosy part is over, and spinning this info is rampant…now Joker has to actually go prove he can COACH a team and not waste talent…something he failed at miserably this year. Remember, it is tough to lose a football game in February or March…let’s talk about this around October.



  36. chroix
    6:43 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    specific profile = just like Randall Cobb



  37. lw
    8:48 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    2 very solid classes in a row, coaching til the bitter end in a season that was a downer, Kentucky man with a solid resume and solid football men as assistants.Could end up being a good one.



  38. Cat scratch
    9:09 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Jon O

    Look back at your facts…Andre Woodson did not struggle as a junior. He struggled as a sophomore. We beat Clemson his junior year in Nashville.



  39. radtech04
    9:46 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t care if we were #1, will still SUCK as long as that idiot is our coach



  40. bubba
    9:49 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    John O, get your facts straight next time before you go making a fool of yourself. woodson began to excel his JR year. and Newton wont even be on the practice field this spring because of his shoulder injury. this spring will be Max Smith, Russel, and Bookie at QB. Max Smith will be the starter too come fall. He looked exceptionally good last year once given a chance as a true freshman. He was able to put up some solid numbers with the same offensive line blocking for him as Newton, the same receivers catching the football as Newton, and with a RB that was a walk-on! I truely believe our offense will be better this year with Max getting more time in the system. the real question marks this year are on Defense but I think a 2nd season into Minter’s scheme will really help out some of the young guys that MUST step up and contribute this year, and believe me there are plenty of young guys ready and willing to fill the void that has been left.



  41. Tampa Satchel
    9:49 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    I hope Towles can be red-shirted. If he plays much this year, it means we are not playing well with the more senior guys we have. Those who believe he is ready to start from game 1 are ignorant. No need to start that chatter. Wait until the 3rd or 4th game to see how things are panning out.



  42. bubba
    9:54 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    and those calling for Towles to start week one are CRAZY. Give the guy a break. his time will come. let him have the year to learn our system, get adjusted to the speed of SEC football, get conditioned, and let ROCK mold his body before we just throw him to the wolves. That goes for all the members of this class too, not just Towles. To take that next step up we have to start being able to redshirt as many of these kids as possible. I understand a few will be forced to contribute though due to a lack of depth at WR and CB.



  43. Kentucky Gentleman
    10:58 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    33 – I’m pretty sure Tee is a WR coach and that Lorenzen has a Super Bowl ring. I’m just saying if Pat is expected to come in right away and start, it’d probably be a bit less stressful on him if there was someone around he has known for years.



  44. kentucky realist
    11:28 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Wow. I can see the line forming for season tickets. UK football is a joke. 0 wins in the SEC this coming season. Are you going to let this Joker continue to fool you? Last in total offense, last in passing offense this past season. Joker won’t make it until the end of next season.