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University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

First Pass to National Signing Day

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Since joining KSR, Matt asked that I evaluate recruits and provide detailed, understandable analysis prior to National Signing Day. This task is right up my alley. Roster/personnel evaluation has been a hobby of mine for many years. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the past two UK Signing Day Shows and I have to admit, they’ve both been an absolute blast. Organized chaos overwhelms the facility as adult coaches behave like sugared up toddlers on Christmas. I was told that while walking by the set, DJ Eliot slugged me in the back of the head. I’ll give him that one.

But if that happens again next February, I’m throwing haymakers. If you watched the shows, you may have noticed that I’m continually shuffling a stack of papers. Following a completed segment, I toss a piece of paper on the floor. I spend countless of hours assessing both committed and uncommitted players. The number of prospects can fluctuate between 25 and 50. For each prospect, my evaluation starts with a “First Pass” sheet. I write these documents without interruption as I’m a firm believer in trusting my initial impression. Highlight films are not conducive for a thorough evaluation. I peruse Hudl to find actual game footage. (Hudl is an internet service designed for coaches to view prospective athlete’s video and is the greatest invention since the VCR.)

After the video session, I take a quick look at the recruit’s social media tendencies. Twitter provides a descriptive peek into an athlete’s character. Unlike professional recruiting folks, I’m not enthralled by the summer camp circuit or combines. While basic skills are certainly identified at these events, football is still a collision sport. The mere threat of physical contact can totally change a prospect’s assessment. I’ve watched 4.3-40 prospects with a 40-inch vertical leap that wouldn’t bust a grape in an actual football game.

To finalize my pre-Signing Day notes, I host a teleconference with fellow recruiting analysts. This group doesn’t include Rivals, 247, or Scout contributors. My confidential advisors are comprised of a car manufacturer, two doctors, a soldier, two attorneys, my wife, and a bean counter. We disagree on everything from pizza toppings to pulling guards but the diverse group offers quality control through opinionated and at times, heated discussions. To illustrate a “First Pass Sheet,” I’ll use 2016 QB commit Gunnar Hoak as an example. He’s a QB, and going to be a darn good one. He needs to get used to leading from the front.

2016 NATIONAL SIGNING DAY FIRST PASS SHEET

Name: Gunnar Hoak

Position: Right handed, pro-style quarterback

Measurables: 6’4 192

Hometown: Dublin, Ohio

High School: Coffman

Coached by: Mark Crabtree

Team record: 11-1

Home field surface: Artificial

Recruited by: Vince Marrow

Commitment date: 25 April 2015

Commitment status: Solid

Current star rating: 4 star

Film strengths: Intelligent passer with pocket composure. Technically sound in spread offense responsibilities. Suitable hand size. Quick, fluid delivery without hitch. Advanced sense of anticipation. Adequate torso strength on deep passes. Deceptively mobile with better than average speed. Natural leader, comfortable in pressure situations. Maintains focus throughout scramble drill to find open receiver. Efficient in immediate, shot-gun snap throws, three and five step drops. Can locate receiver and throw into tight windows vs. man/zone coverage. Familiar with passing tree, capable to make all required throws. Not influenced by rush.

Areas to improve: Typical of all incoming freshmen quarterbacks, requires upper body strength and development. Needs to add weight for durability.

Compares to: Connor Cook, Michigan State

Social media conduct: Respectful

Supportive teammate: Yes

Senior year honors: N/A

Academically eligible: Yes

Projected immediate impact: Dependent on Patrick Towles’ development/draft status. Best case scenario to redshirt but not mandatory. If necessary, could be a capable freshman back-up.

Miscellaneous: Threw for over 2000 yards and 30 TD’s as a junior. One of 12 Ohio commits. Multi-sport athlete that also excelled in baseball. Once broke his nose/face on outfield fence. Selfless competitor. QB with “it” factor. Excellent fundamentals, perfect fit for Dawson’s system. Cerebral football player with SEC quarterback ability.

Periodically throughout the summer, I’ll post committed player’s First Pass sheets. Please note that these documents are not proofread for grammatical or spelling errors. Merely summaries for me to use when the camera light turns red and producer yells “go” into the annoying thing in my ear.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

26 Comments for First Pass to National Signing Day



  1. fatbrat
    8:12 pm July 1, 2015 Permalink

    ” Deceptively mobile with better than average speed?” At 5 flat in the 40 yard dash I don’t associate that with mobility and great foot speed. What is your definition of better than average speed. Hoak can be a great passer but a down field runner, I don’t suspect he will ever be.



    • Tampa satchel
      3:06 pm July 2, 2015 Permalink

      In his preamble he mentioned he doesn’t use the stats that are recorded at cobine events because they aren’t indicative of on field performance. He studies the game video instead. I imagine his comment was based on what he saw on the field.



  2. Catdaddy78
    8:41 pm July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Great to have Freddie mags analysis! I care less what our pro- style QB’s 40 time is. What’s important is what he has between the ears



  3. fakinnomah
    8:57 pm July 1, 2015 Permalink

    I like to consider myself a knowledgeable football fan and Mr. Maggard is straight killing it with his posts. Brings great football insight and layman’s terminology with each post. Dramatically improving the football coverage on this site and I love every minute of it. Thank you Freddie from a football junkie who now knows where to get his fix. Lol



  4. Deuce
    9:22 pm July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Great info Freddie! Fatbrat, a bit critical, what kind of speed do you think the average NCAA QB’s has? Besides, I’m with Catdaddy, and would much prefer a QB content to stay in the pocket to a guy depending on his legs. I’m pretty sure I could outrun Woodson carrying a case of beer and he’s the last stud QB we’ve had



    • fatbrat
      2:21 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

      The AVERAGE speed of a D1 QB is in the range of 4.7-5.0. All I was getting at is Freddie said he had “better than average speed” which would have put him in the group of fairly swift signal callers. I too enjoy the Maggard football analysis and look forward to future pieces. Nothing against Hoak, I believe he is a fine addition to the Cats’. I do have a grasp on the times of college qb hopefuls, I have hosted speed camps three times every summer for the last twelve years. Five flat in the 40 is not,” better than average speed” for a major college quarterback.



  5. clancyhat
    10:18 pm July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Dear Freddie – we love you, and we want more – a lot more.
    Dear fatbrat or anyone else – 40 times are great and all but they are done in shorts and t-shirts. I always thought they should put the guys in full pads, put 11 ( or 12 just for the heck of it ) guys on the field, give him the ball and tell him to run as fast as he can.
    Receivers and backs, sure – 40 times are telling. Linemen should run an 10 yard dash. Duh.



  6. Carter
    10:38 pm July 1, 2015 Permalink

    I love that you are writing about football but I prefer to hear you talk about it so I don’t have to listen to Matt talk 2 hours every morning about basketball.



    • gradcat
      8:18 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

      You do realize that you don’t have to listen right?



  7. Carter
    10:40 pm July 1, 2015 Permalink

    By the way, he doesn’t understand why I’m so passionate about football. All he has to do is ask himself the same question about the thing he loves so much.



  8. Henry
    12:16 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Great read. Freddie Maggard Rocks when he writes. His details are very interesting. To sum it up, Gunnar Hoak led his team to a 11-1 season as a Junior. And he threw for over 2000 yards and 30 TD’s as a Junior. And his best is yet to come as a Senior. He is currently classified as a 4 star recruit. All Wildcat fans needs to rally hard and rise up and show support and interest as UK recruits this great football player.

    UK’s 1st football game is against Louisiana-Lafayette on September 5th. It’s just 2 months away. Go Cats.



  9. dan simon
    6:38 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie,

    Can’t tell you how happy I was when you joined KSR- always respected you as a player who always gave 110% and whatever talent you had you always seemed to bust your hump for us- meant/means a lot- don’t
    put a lot of stock into “highlight videos” cause that’s just what they are HIGHLIGHTS- as poor an athlete as I was I could compile a highlight reel although it would have to be very short



  10. fairplay
    7:16 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Great article —- MORE FREDDIE, MORE FREDDIE!



  11. Deuce is loose
    7:52 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie- I’ll take you serious when you show the ability to actually be critical of a commit vs your typical cheerleader stance. I’ve never seen nor heard you be critical or question a UK staff for taking a certain kid through the yrs when it’s obvious many had no business being asked to play in the SEC.

    If you want to be someone that people truly respects their opinion, start being objective and take the blue tinted glasses off on occassion.

    If you want to be seen as another internet UK football fan, keep doing what you’re doing.

    When evaluating a prospect, start asking yourself where would this kid fit in on the rosters of our conference peers. Start asking yourself why is UK the only sec school to show interest in this kid even though the other schools have evaluated him.

    By the way, how do know the size of Gunnar Hoak’s hands?



    • bluetwo2
      8:53 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

      Repeat sprint ability, speed burst, and escape-ability are a few terms I like to use when evaluating a quarterback. Speed is very important to all football players. This kid does not possess better than average speed, when it comes to power conference play caller. I agree that Mr. Maggard tends to embellish the facts when evaluating talent. In an earlier post he referred to a UK running back commit as weighing 195 lbs. when in fact he weighed only 165 per a rivals combine just the month before. I’m just saying, don’t sugar coat the facts.



  12. Deuce is loose
    7:57 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Matt jones is a great example- he has no problem publicly questioning the basketball staff taking certain kids. He’ll put himself out there by objectively questioning many of Cal’s decisions vs just being a cheerleader. Are you willing to do the same? If not, you’re no different than the posters on catspause.



    • woah
      8:08 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

      Bro…

      I get that it’s important to be critical but how about let’s not start bagging on Mr. Freddie on his FIRST POST in a long series of posts, especially when he clearly started with one of the best commits from the class, ergo one with the fewest weaknesses.



  13. Deuce is loose
    8:02 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie- you list Gunnar Hoak as a “4 star” commit. Is that fair? He was given that ranking by ESPN, a service not known for being thorough in their football recruiting rankings for individual prospects and never scouts kids up close and personal.

    Hoak is still rated a 3 star by the 3 services that actually do evaluate these kids in person, rivals, 247, and scout. All 3 services did live evaluations of Hoak this spring and summer, and all say he’s a 3 star talent. Why did you chose to call him a 4 star?



    • cracka
      10:06 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

      i would say you could call that fair because they updated their rankings most recently … just a thought



  14. rockatao
    8:42 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    are we already throwing drew barker on the trash heap?



    • ClutchCargo
      9:05 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

      Are you saying we should hold a spot for Barker by not taking the best talent we can get in every class? It doesn’t work that way in football. Barker could blow out his knee during an air soft shootout in a Richmond bar tonight. Then what?



  15. RICK
    9:29 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Thanks again Freddie, great reading. The quarterback slot should be good for the next few years.Give us an update on Barker when you get a chance.



  16. MrSleeCat
    10:01 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie, like the commenter said above, you’re straight up killing it. You’re the best KSR hire since Mark Maggard (Sorry – I couldn’t resist the old school KSR reference. Ask Matt.). Keep these great posts coming.



  17. Josh
    11:18 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Would love to hear Lamarius kinslow’s name more from scouting services but he hasn’t been to many camps. He’s a 6’3″ 225lb mlb/wr/te/s/whatever else you can imagine ftom fern creek in louisville. Any thoughts on him Freddie? Will surely play lb in college. Fantastic kid.



    • fatbrat
      12:32 pm July 2, 2015 Permalink

      Kinslow has excellent size, however, until he gets to the camps/combines he will remain unrated. He won’t get much love from the big boys’ sitting at home.



  18. [email protected]
    11:30 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Guy tries to give a great inside look at football and catches a lot of BS in the process. Hope he avoids the comment section so we can keep getting good info. I wonder if the Andy Griffith blog gives him this much grief.