In the weeks leading up to the UK-UL game, we spoke a great deal about how the game had potential long-term impact for both programs. For Louisville the reason was obvious, as the loss has taken the program further into a spiral and has caused all the boo birds to call for Coach KragCooper’s head. But for Kentucky, there also existed many reasons why the game was of extreme importance. The game could end up key for any bowl potential, stakes the Cats’ claim as leader of the state and gives Micheal Hartline the experience he needs going into these next few weeks.
However even more than any of these reasons, the game was crucial for one reason, recruiting. As we wrote earlier today, the momentum that UK has right now in recruiting in football is nearly unprecedented. With two top QBs, the second rated center in America and a host of three star gems, the pathway is open for top success. And now the hits keep coming. Ridge Wilson of course committed on Monday and now according to a TCP article, we hear that Ed Hazelett, the ULTRA large 6’8″, 275 Tight End (yes you read that correctly) from Indiana is considering committing to UK as early as next week. Hazelett has always been one of my favorites in the class, in large part because of the huge possibilities he would bring to any program. He is tall and relatively quick, which makes him a potential beast at the TE spot, where he could dominate with his physicality. However if he is moved to the OL as some have suggested, his quickness and agility could make him helpful against the new generation of quicker defensive linemen. In short, he gives versatility that is unmatched in the class and would be an athlete like none other to add to the program (and oh yeah, he can play basketball a bit too).
Hazelett is considering UK along with Louisville, Cincinnati, Arkansas and Indiana. That school list showcases what UK has been able to do in recruiting. Becoming a rising SEC school does not require UK to beat out the Florida, LSU or Ohio States of the world consistently. But being a top school does require consistently beating other mid-level BCS programs. And for the first time in my lifetime, that is happening….not just once, but over and over. If Kentucky can find itself ahead of the Big East neighbors (Ville, Cincy, Pitt, etc) and beating out the SEC bottom half (Vandy and the Mississippi schools), while also getting players from the middle teams (South Carolina, Arkansas) and occasionally stealing from the near-elites (Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia) then they can be a mid-level power in the SEC…..which would be an amazing accomplishment. That can only happen with recruiting and it is getting done…..which continues to surprise and please me every day.
Ed Hazelett makes his decision soon….and he could be the 20th commitment for UK (Louisville has 6). Never has UK done so well, so soon. But get used to it….I dont see this staff letting it slip.
More throughout the day…..we look back at Week 1 of the Pick Em challenge, look at Norfolk State a bit and other tidbits….