The initial reports are in on Ahmad Wagner and they are not too shabby. The addition of the Iowa basketball transfer and the amendment to the redshirt rule are two of the biggest football topics of the summer. The Kentucky football coaches addressed each this morning on Kentucky Sports Radio.
“We are very excited about Ahmad,” said head coach Mark Stoops said. Stoops and the other assistants cannot be on the field while players participate in voluntary workouts, but they hear what’s been going down on the practice fields.
“He has been showing out a little bit with some of the workouts. He’s really running well. His speeds are up for a big guy. He’s big and physical. We’re not able to watch him with a ball right now, but our quarterbacks are telling us that he’s very comfortable going up and getting the football. We’re excited and we think he has a lot of upside.”
Recruited by Stoops and Vince Marrow out of Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio, in only one year of football the 6’7″ athlete caught 17 touchdowns and had more than 1,000 yards receiving. Marrow believes Wagner would be one of the best wide receivers in America, had he not played basketball at Iowa first.
“If he would’ve gone straight from high school to college, he’d be one of the top ten players in college football. He’s a big guy that’s really a high character guy off the field. That’s the kind of guys you want to bring into this program.”
Wagner will be able to play right away this fall and has two remaining years left of eligibility.
College football players can now play up to four games without losing a year of eligibility as a redshirt. Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said his boss has already created a plan to best utilize the rule change.
“There’ll be different scenarios for different people for sure,” Gran said. “You’re going to play a young man, number one, if he’s ready mentally, because you don’t ever want to hurt the team. You don’t ever want to lose their confidence. Coach (Stoops) has got a great plan for it.
“I think the best part of it, as we’re developing some guys and as injuries or depth (becomes a problem) later in the year, some of these freshmen might not be ready in September. Then all of a sudden in October or November, the light clicks on or their body catches up with their mind and the game. Now you can take and put those guys in for the last four games. They get all of that experience and they can still redshirt.”