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The San Antonio Significance




For the University of Kentucky Football program, the goings on in San Antonio have provided Mark Stoops with a fictional recruiting billboard that stretches from the Commonwealth to the Alamo. At their respective positions; Center Drake Jackson, LB Kash Daniel, and OT Landon Young all have been named as top performers. Going a step further, Daniel and Jackson were named two of four game captains. In all-star game environments, the week of practice leading up to the bowl is the most valuable in terms of evaluation. Game day is normally a “don’t get injured and have fun” scenario before departing for home or for early enrollees, their college dormitory.

I’m not sure that the message has been effectively communicated just how vital the trio’s performance has been not only for the University of Kentucky but the overall perception of Kentucky high school football.

Five reasons why Kash Daniel, Drake Jackson and Landon Young’s performance and subsequent social media coverage by recruiting services have been so critical for Mark Stoops leading into National Signing Day:

  1. In the absence of a bowl appearance, the UK brand has been less visible than that of their competitors that participated in the post season. The trio being prominently featured by recruiting services has acted as an unofficial public relations platform for the Wildcats. This non-UK affiliated social media campaign validates and promotes the Wildcat football program leading up to National Signing Day. Momentum leading up to the first Wednesday in February can now be best described as energetic. Some teams manufacture positive vibes by postseason performance or through coaching changes. Others do so by cliché laden and mostly ineffective marketing crusades. Regardless of how, high level prospects have taken notice of UK by and through the trio’s actions. By having trusted and knowledgeable recruiting analyst writing the script, national eyes have been on the UK commits.
  1. By February 3rd or National Signing Day, Landon Young could realistically gain a fifth star. Going into the US Army All American Game Week, Young was listed as the Class of 2016’s 4th ranked OT and 54th overall. Practice performance has earnestly advanced his recruiting service stock. Folks have taken notice. It’s highly probable that Landon Young will be UK’s highest rated signee since the inception of the recruiting service star system.
  1. 3-4 star players Kash Daniel and Drake Jackson have out-performed higher ranked players at their position. At this point, it’s uncertain if star or ranking increases are on the horizon. But in the world of college football recruiting, perception is reality. Being named as US Army All American Bowl game captains speaks of their intangibles and ability to lead the elite. It also tells me the pair won’t back down from lining the brakes of diva teammates. Both traits will be a welcome addition to the Kentucky locker room.
  1. All three UK commits are Kentucky natives. For years, the state has been disrespected in terms of the production and quality of high school talent, coaching, and player development. That myth is being exploded by the Alamo. You’ve read it here before and based on years of high school all-star game experience, the level of Kentucky high school football coaching is at an all-time high. What Daniel, Young, and Jackson are accomplishing are proof of such improvements and providing motivation as well as validation for future Kentucky football prospects. Just at Tim Couch revolutionized KHSAA football in the 90’s, these three are bringing credence to player development.
  1. Let’s be honest, prior to Monday’s press conference when Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw were introduced to the BBN, the existence of UK Football positivity was scarce. Much like perception; in terms of recruiting, timing is everything. Gran/Hinshaw unquestionably impressed the BBN and prospects in the same week as three future Wildcats are opening national eyes on high school football’s biggest stage. After the press conference I wrote that on Monday, Mark Stoops had a good day. After this week, it could be argued that the past few days have been the best stretch of Kentucky football recruiting publicity in the program’s history.

Am I overreacting? I usually do so probably. But again, when’s the last time that three UK commits played in the same national all-star game? Never. Same can be said about the trio being named as top performers at their positions and being named as team captains. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. The nation has taken notice of young Kash Daniel, Landon Young, and Drake Jackson. None have made a college football block or tackle.  But in terms of perception and promotion, they’ve exceeded expectation and brought national attention to Kentucky’s Class of 2016.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

15 Comments for The San Antonio Significance

  1. shelby
    7:04 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

    That’s an awesome read Freddie: always enjoy your insight.
    Having three Cats in this game is huge; i imagine a LOT of high profile class of 17 recruits will be watching. If just a few take notice and want to see what’s going on in Lexington, then that’s a huge positive for the program in terms of future recruiting.
    I wish we’d be able to redshirt all three of these guys but as u well know, they will likely be needed immediately.
    I’d love to see you do an article about what the current players SHOULD be doing right now in terms of lifting, working out, hitting the practice center and running routes for drew, etc… I would like to see the coaches tell Elam to report in the spring and fall under 320 pounds–i think he’d be much quicker if he’d drop a few lbs.

    • BluKudzu
      8:25 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

      These guys will help. We need dudes that are nasty on the OL and we need all the power defense we can get. the line, both sides and the defensive front has got to pick it up, flat out, big time. Any of the current players in these positions not hitting hard every day in core strength and speed/agility/technique, catching some film, and watching their diets, need a major boot up the backside. This is the SEC folks. This is the real deal.

    • inside info2
      8:28 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

      Freddie, Shelby has a good idea for articles during the off-season. What are the players doing now? How does off-season training work? What are the coaches doing (hopefully not out partying at bars like the last 2 off-seasons). What will/should Drew and the WRs be doing to improve? You have played and I would love to hear behind the scenes stuff.

  2. Bill the Cat
    7:21 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

    I want to see Kash Daniel bring nastiness to our LB position like we haven’t had since Jeff Snedegar! I loved watching Snedegar play the position like every play was his last! Dude was as nasty as we’ve had and that’s what you need at LB.

    Will be okay with the O-line developing some nastiness as well!

  3. cats paw
    7:31 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

    quick. what is the only school in the country paying its coach 3.6 million to not make a bowl?

    • UK Big Board Update
      7:41 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

      quick. what is the only school in the country low enough to rehire sleazy Bobby P?

    • dean winchester
      7:47 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

      Ahhh….CP. I got to give you props for consistency at least. Just curious, what would Stoops need to accomplish at UK for you to get off his back?

    • dean winchester
      7:50 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

      And UKBB…….nice one.

    • lexwildcat
      8:03 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

      Texas pays Strong more than 3.6 million

  4. kyjohn
    7:59 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

    Can’t believe Freddie writes a positive column about three UK future players and Kentucky high school football and some fool responds with a negative remark about the current coach.Some how i fail to see the connection.
    Anyway congratulations to these three youngmen and as a Kentuckian i am proud that they have been chosen to represent Kentucky in such a high profile game.

    • UK Big Board Update
      1:10 am January 7, 2016 Permalink

      Thats cats paw. He’s the resident dumbass who thinks he knows it all.

  5. lex cath
    8:27 pm January 6, 2016 Permalink

    This is really good news at a time when we need it, Kash has the biggest hooks I’ve ever seen on a incoming freshman, bring the leadership with you

  6. bartolocolon
    1:18 pm January 7, 2016 Permalink

    Certainly a nice read, and I look forward to seeing these guys blossom under a new staff. But if the lack of in state talent is a myth, why havent we done better over the years?

  7. Stopover
    2:19 pm January 7, 2016 Permalink

    I’m thinking those boys are taking more than just time in the weight room.

  8. Rsn2GoBlu
    8:27 am January 8, 2016 Permalink

    I saw Landon Young twice this season, against Trinity and Male. I was very impressed. No doubt in my mind he will be a starter from day 1 and probably an AA by his junior year. I don’t say this lightly and have seen some very good offensive linemen in the Louisville area, Young has NFL talent.

    Lafayette had another offensive tackle that we are recruiting. He is a junior. I was not as impressed with him as I was with Young.