On Sunday Kentucky football fans received some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news.
Early Sunday morning three-star Florida athlete Shocky Jacques-Louis withdrew his pledge to Kentucky in light of recent offers from Michigan, Louisville, Tennessee and many more. Even though fans did not know him for long — he was only committed to UK for six weeks — he was an elite athlete from Florida with a memorable name.
A few hours later, three-star Lakota West defensive tackle Tyler Bentley committed to Kentucky after camping with the Cats over the weekend. One of the most sought after defensive linemen in the midwest, few expected him to make an early decision after Louisville, LSU, Alabama and many other traditional powers extended offers. Despite the push, the Cats presented enough to convince Bentley to commit to Kentucky.
There is a crowd of fans that say, “Wait till Signing Day!” after every commitment. Jacques-Louis’ decision only fueled their fire, leaving them unable to enjoy an important and impactful decision that happened just a few hours later.
That crowd is relatively small, however, for a majority of fans that are not football nerds (the equivalent of Cal’s “Basketball Bennies”), it’s difficult to get excited about a player who performs in the trenches. It’s much easier to notice elite athlete when you see breakaway speed on a highlight reel, but it’s tough to tell if a defensive lineman is a stud unless they’re plowing over opponents on a regular basis.
I’m here to tell you not to get distracted by the fancy lures explosive athletes bring to the table. Even though it’s important to see recruiting progress in South Florida, there are dozens of players just like Jacques-Louis in his neighborhood. They don’t make many like Bentley. It takes a special talent to take on two blockers, read a backfield, shed the blocker, react and make a play in the backfield.
For the second consecutive year, Mark Stoops has lost a starter on the defensive line, the weak link in UK’s defense, in the preseason. Bentley is the ideal player filling an ideal position for the Cats.
He is the lowest ranked commit in the 2018 recruiting class, but he’s the third-most important commit in the class and that’s worth being excited. Yeah, I gotta say it was a good day.