2010 Signee List
Feb. 3, 2010
1 Class indicates eligibility for the 2010 season
Mychal Bailey: same as "Michael"
Defensive Back, 6-0, 185, Jr-JC, LaGrange, Ga. (LaGrange/Southwest Mississippi Community College) - Originally signed with Kentucky in Feb. 2007, he now joins the Wildcats from Southwest Mississippi Community College ... Second-team All-America during his sophomore season, also first-team all-state and all-region ... Two-year totals include 161 tackles, two fumbles caused, two fumble recoveries, two pass breakups, three interceptions, 7.5 quarterback sacks and four tackles for loss ... Played linebacker at SW Mississippi ... Having been timed as fast as 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash, should have no trouble making the physical adjustment to the UK secondary ... His speed also is reflected in the fact that he returned kickoffs in junior college, including an 84-yard return for a touchdown ... Coached by Charles Anthony ... "Mychal was, by far, our best player this year," Anthony said.em "He was our fastest and most explosive player.em He has outstanding intensity, competitiveness and work ethic." ... First-team all-state as a high-school senior as selected by the Georgia coaches association and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ... Played linebacker on defense and also saw action as a wingback on offense ... Four-year letterman and two-year starter for LaGrange (Ga.) High School ... Continues the tradition of Grangers at UK, joining current Wildcats Randall Burden, Qua Huzzie, Tristian Johnson and Pat Simmons, along with new signee Joe Mansour ... Is a cousin of Braxton Kelley, former Granger and Wildcat who is now with the Denver Broncos ... Totaled 118 tackles as a senior, 19 tackles for loss, including 11 quarterback sacks, two caused fumbles, and three fumble recoveries ... Also returned eight kickoffs for a sparkling 44.4-yard average, including two runbacks for touchdowns ... Won the "Golden Helmet Award" as his team's most valuable player his senior year ... Part of the LaGrange juggernaut that won two state championships during his four years on the varsity and lost to the eventual state champ the other two seasons ... Coached by Steve Pardue ... "Mychal is a game-changer on offense, defense or special teams," Pardue said. "He has tremendous speed and big-play ability." ... Joined the track team his junior and senior years ... Competed in the long jump, triple jump, 100- and 200-meter dashes and two relays ... Won the regional in the long jump and was second in the triple jump as a junior ... Name is pronounced the same as "Michael."
Athlete, 6-4, 220, Fr-HS, Sycamore, Ohio (Wynford) - Big quarterback who has the size and athletic ability to play multiple positions ... First-team all-state in Division VI by The Associated Press ... Second-team all-state by OhioVarsity.com ... Led Wynford HS to a 12-1 record and the third round of the state playoffs as a senior ... Dual-threat quarterback passed for approximately 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior while rushing for about 1,300 yards and 26 TDs ... Threw for 1,795 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior while running for 698 yards and 13 scores ... Listed as the nation's No. 34 tight end by Scout.com ... The No. 119 overall prospect in the six-state Midwest area by SuperPrep ... "A terrific all-around athlete with a live arm, great feet and good leadership skills," wrote recruiting analyst Tom Lemming on MaxPreps.com ... Coached by Travis Moyer ... Teammate of current Wildcat signee Teven Eatmon ... Also played basketball in high school.
Defensive Lineman, 6-4, 228, Fr-HS, Jesup, Ga. (Wayne County) - Defensive end prospect best known for his athleticism ... Has been timed at 4.6 in the 40-yard dash ... Played as a standup defensive end/outside linebacker at Wayne County HS ... Also saw action as a tight end ... Projects to play on the defensive side of the ball as a collegian ... All-region as a junior and senior ... Collected nearly 100 tackles as a junior ... The nation's No. 134 defensive end by Scout.com ... Coached by Mark Daniel ... "Alvin has size, range and long arms and legs," Daniel said. "He also has very good agility for a player with his height. He has a good frame and the potential to add a lot of strength in college. He's also very aggressive and loves contact." ... Also a standout basketball player.
Defensive Lineman, 6-5, 259, Fr-HS, Dalton, Ga. (Northwest Whitfield) - First-team all-state defensive lineman in Georgia Class AAAA by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ... Collected 79 tackles, eight quarterback sacks, seven additional tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries and two blocked punts, one of which was returned for a touchdown during his senior season at Northwest Whitfield HS ... Caught four passes for 55 yards and two touchdowns ... Graded out at 86 percent as a blocker, an outstanding mark ... Region 7 Defensive Player of the Year ... Named All-North Georgia by the Chattanooga Times-Free Press ... Helped team to a winning record each season and a pair of state playoff appearances ... Team captain who received the Bruin Award as the team's most valuable player ... Has noteworthy athletic ability, could end up as a defensive end or tight end at Kentucky ... Listed as the nation's No. 26 tight end by ESPN.com and one of the nation's top-50 tight ends by Scout.com ... "Shows good hands," according to MaxPreps.com recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, "and has already developed into an outstanding blocker." ... Coached by Mike Falleur ... "What separates Nermin is his toughness," Falleur said. "He's very tough, does whatever he needs to do on the field. He runs well and changes directions well for a big kid. The sky will be the limit for him when he concentrates on football." ... Also has played basketball ... Born in Bosnia, his family moved to the United States.
Tight End, 6-7, 280, Fr-HS, Bucyrus, Ohio (Wynford) - First-team all-state tight end for Ohio Division VI as selected by The Associated Press ... Has the athletic ability to play tight end and the size to be an offensive lineman in the collegiate ranks ... Also saw action as a defensive tackle at Wynford HS ... Helped lead Wynford to a 12-1 record and third round of the state playoffs as a senior ... Coached by Travis Moyer ... Teammate of current Wildcat signee Tyler Brause ... The No. 128 overall prospect in the six-state Midwest region by SuperPrep ... Listed as the nation's No. 62 offensive tackle prospect by ESPN.com ... Also participated on the track and field team in the shot put and discus throw.
Defensive Lineman, 6-4, 225, Fr-HS, Clearwater, Fla. (Largo) - Defensive line prospect with good athleticism ... Played defensive end, middle linebacker, tight end and fullback at Largo (Fla.) HS ... Has been timed as fast as 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash ... Made 75 tackles his senior season with five quarterback sacks ... Also caught 17 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns ... Named all-conference and all-district his senior season ... Helped Largo to Class AAAA state playoff appearances each year ... Team reached the state semifinals his sophomore and junior seasons, winning 12 and 13 games, respectively ... Played in the Pinellas County North-South All-Star Game and was called "the top prospect in this game, and the recent Kentucky commitment had a strong performance. He gets off the ball well and has good speed off the edge," wrote recruiting analyst Jamie Newburg of Rivals.com ... The nation's No. 70 defensive end as rated by Scout.com ... Coached by Rick Rodriguez ... "Mike has a great football demeanor," Rodriguez said. "He's an intense player, plays with a lot of passion, and is physical."
Running Back, 5-11, 200, Fr-HS, Miami, Fla. (Central) - The nation's No. 15 running back as evaluated by ESPN.com ... Also a national top-40 back by Rivals.com and Scout.com ... Rivals also lists him as the No. 52 player in Florida ... Rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a senior, helping Central High to a 12-2 record and the semifinals of the ultra-tough Florida Class 6A ranks ... Ran for 1,644 yards and 17 touchdowns during breakout junior season ... Earned second-team all-state honors for Class 6A ... "Combines good size with quickness and durability," wrote Tom Lemming of MaxPreps.com ... Coached by Telly Lockette.
Defensive Back, 5-10, 190, Jr-JC, Long Beach, Calif. (Valencia/College of the Canyons) - Displayed great playing instincts during his two seasons at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif. ... Beat out a returning starter at safety during his freshman season ... Totaled 45 tackles, three interceptions, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery during the Cougars' undefeated 10-game regular season ... Returned one of the pickoffs for a touchdown ... Canyons went on to a 12-1 final record, reaching the championship game of the 2008 Southern California playoffs ... Sophomore season featured three more interceptions, along with four pass breakups and 27 tackles ... Coached by Garett Tujague (pronounced TOO-jay) ... "Josh is a great player and has an uncanny ability to get to the football," Tujague said. "He has the will to prepare and the pride to finish, which will help him succeed academically and athletically." ... Played his senior season of high-school football at Valencia HS ... Actually played as an undersized defensive end at Valencia, earning all-conference honors and helping his team advance to the state playoffs ... Coached by Larry Muir ... Was a safety and a quarterback at Redondo Beach HS before moving to Valencia ... Born in Germany, both of his parents were in the United States Army ... Brother of Darlron Spead, who played defensive back at Vanderbilt from 2006-08.
Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 231, Fr-HS, Bamberg, S.C. (Bamberg-Ehrhardt) - The first verbal commitment of the 2010 recruiting class also became the first high-school signee of the class ... Having graduated in December, enrolling in January gives him an extra semester to begin his strength development and on-field progress ... First-team all-state as a senior by the High School Sports Report ... Four-year starter at tight end for Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School ... On defense he started at outside linebacker as a sophomore, then moved to defensive end in his final two campaigns ... Made 84 tackles as a senior, including seven quarterback sacks and 18 additional tackles for loss ... Notched 67 tackles, featuring 10 sacks and 12 additional TFL his junior year ... At tight end, he totaled 27 catches for 424 yards and three touchdowns over his final two seasons ... Chosen for the all-area and all-region teams as a junior ... BEHS went to the state playoffs each season, reaching the third round his sophomore and junior years ... Head coach was Kevin Crosby ... "Justin is a hard-working kid whose motor is non-stop," said assistant coach Corey Crosby. "He's a strong kid who won an area weightlifting championship." ... Played in the prestigious North Carolina-South Carolina All-Star Shrine Game following his senior season ... One of the nation's top-100 defensive ends by Scout.com and the No. 45 weakside end as tabbed by Rivals.com ... Also participated in wrestling, baseball and track in high school ... Member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes ... His father, Allen, played college football at Wofford.
Linebacker, 6-4, 235, Fr-HS, Columbia, S.C. (Dreher) - Combines excellent size and noteworthy speed ... Has moved his 6-4 frame as fast as 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has notched consistent times below 4.7 ... Played linebacker and defensive end as a senior at Dreher High School in Columbia, S.C. ... Totaled 121 tackles and four sacks as a senior, along with three caused fumbles and two recoveries ... Notched 82 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior ... Turned in an impressive performance last summer at the Elite 100 Camp in Charlotte, N.C. ... "Has a great first step and is explosive," wrote Mike Farrell, a recruiting analyst for Rivals.com ... Coached by Bill Bacon.
Linebacker, 6-2, 220, Fr-HS, Stone Mountain, Ga. (Stephenson) - Very athletic linebacker prospect ... Could grow into a defensive end in college ... " May be the best-looking kid on the hoof on a team with over 25 DI (Division I) prospects," wrote recruiting analyst Barry Every of Rivals.com, who also tabbed Johnson as a "big-time sleeper" ... Has been clocked as fast as 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a terrific time for a linebacker ... Helped Stephenson HS to an 11-1 record as a senior in Class AAAAA, the largest classification in Georgia ... Coached by Ron Gartrell ... Teammate of current Wildcat signees Raymond Sanders and Ronnie Shields ... Listed as the nation's No. 64 outside linebacker prospect by ESPN.com.
Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 280, Fr-HS, Summerville, S.C. (Summerville) - First-team all-state defensive lineman for Class AAAA as chosen by the High School Sports Report ... Class AAAA is the largest classification in South Carolina ... Also named to the all-area squad by the Charleston Post and Courier ... Helped Summerville to the state playoffs both seasons he played there, totaling a record of 20-5 ...Talented lineman with the size to play tackle and the athleticism needed for an end ... Has run the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds, an impressive time for a player his size ... "Shows a big-time future, plays the game with great heart, quick hands, strength, and determination," wrote recruiting analyst Tom Lemming on MaxPreps.com ... Projected as the nation's No. 41 defensive tackle by ESPN.com ... One of the top 30 prospects in South Carolina by Rivals.com ... Coached by John McKissick ... Played at Pinewood Prep in Summerville his sophomore season before transferring to Summerville HS ... Also wrestled in high school and was a member of the track and field team ... State champion in the discus as a sophomore at Pinewood, competing in the South Carolina Independent Schools Association.
Kicker/Punter, 6-2, 181, Fr-HS, LaGrange, Ga. (LaGrange) - First-team All-America kicker among medium-sized high schools as selected by MaxPreps.com ... Also named first team on the Georgia "All-Decade" Team by MaxPreps ... Long-range kicker had six field goals over 50 yards during his career ... Made field goals of 59, 56 and 52 yards during his senior season at LaGrange High School ... The 59-yarder is the third-longest in Georgia high school history ... Had touchbacks on 84 percent of his kickoffs ... Punted for a 42.7-yard average ... First-team all-state by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Sports Writers Association for Class AAA ... The nation's No. 2 punter prospect by Scout.com and the No. 15 kicker as evaluated by Rivals.com ... Averaged 41.4 yards per punt as a junior, with 83 percent of his kickoffs in the end zone ... Four-year starter also hit field goals of 55 yards as a junior, 53 yards as a sophomore and 50 yards as a freshman ... LaGrange, a perennial power, advanced to the state playoffs each season, with a best finish of 11-3 in the state semifinals his junior year ... Continues the tradition of Grangers at UK, joining current Wildcats Randall Burden, Qua Huzzie, Tristian Johnson and Pat Simmons ... Coached by Steve Pardue ... Played for the winning South team in the Georgia North-South All-Star Game, nailing a pair of field goals and all three extra points in a 27-20 victory ... Very good athlete in addition to his kicking skills ... Plays for the basketball and baseball teams ... "Joe is a tremendous talent," Pardue said. "He's a great athlete and could have played another position for us but he was just too valuable in the kicking game. His accuracy consistently improved over the years. He came in a good punter and left a great one."
Defensive Lineman, 6-1, 310, Fr-HS, Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Oakland) - Two-year first-team all-state performer in Class 6A, the largest classification in Tennessee ... Also a two-year finalist for "Mr. Football" honors ... Totaled 62 tackles, including 23 for loss and 6.5 quarterback sacks, as a senior ... Area Player of the Year by the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal ... Also the Regional Player of the Year his junior season while helping lead Oakland to a 14-1 record and the 6A state championship ... Collected 87 tackles, 15 for loss, during junior campaign ... Also played some tight end in high school ... "A defensive tackle that can help collapse the pocket on the next level," wrote recruiting analyst Chad Simmons of Scout.com ... "Dominates at the point of attack," noted Tom Lemming of MaxPreps.com ... One of the top-10 prospects in Tennessee by SuperPrep ... Played in the Tennessee East-West All-Star Classic following his senior season.
Linebacker, 6-3, 205, Fr-HS, Hopkinsville, Ky. (Christian County) - Combines excellent athletic ability with good football instincts and sound technique ... First-team all-state as a senior by The Associated Press and the Louisville Courier-Journal ... Named to the "Class of the Commonwealth" listing of the top seniors in Kentucky by the Lexington Herald-Leader ... Made 58 tackles, including 10 sacks ... Played linebacker and defensive end while also seeing action on offense at quarterback, fullback and tight end ... Top statistical year came as a junior when he amassed 106 tackles, including 16 for loss ... Helped lead Christian County HS to a 13-2 record and state runner-up finish in Class AAAAA his junior campaign ... One of the nation's top-50 outside linebackers by ESPN.com ... The No. 8 prospect in Kentucky by Rivals.com and SuperPrep ... Coached by Steve Lovelace ... "Malcolm's work ethic and dedication as a student-athlete will help him succeed at Kentucky," Lovelace said. "He can dominate a game. He's very coachable and will do whatever it takes to help the team win." ... A standout basketball player who helped take his team to the Sweet 16 state tournament ... Also participated in track.
Linebacker, 6-4, 220, Fr-HS, Louisville, Ky. (Central) - The top prospect in Kentucky as named by Rivals.com and SuperPrep ... Rangy linebacker with outstanding height and sub-4.7 speed in the 40-yard dash ... First-team all-state as a senior by The Associated Press and Louisville Courier-Journal ... Named to the Lexington Herald-Leader "Class of the Commonwealth" listing of the top seniors in the state ... Made 92 tackles as a senior but missed the state playoffs because of injury ... Also the top prospect in Kentucky by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who wrote, "This guy can really deliver a blow, always seems to be in the right position at the right time, takes great angles to the ball, and once he gets there, look out." ... Helped lead Central HS to consecutive state championships his sophomore and junior seasons ... Made 91 tackles his junior year, with 12 for loss and two interceptions ... Coached by Ty Scroggins ... Not surprising with his skill set, is also an outstanding basketball player; helped Central to the state finals of the 2009 state tournament.
Athlete, 5-9, 170, Fr-HS, Ulmer, S.C. (Allendale Fairfax) - Speedster running back/defensive back posted some eye-popping numbers ... Timed at 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the best time at the Elite 100 Camp in Charlotte, N.C., in the summer of 2009 ... Rushed for approximately 1,300 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior, averaging more than 10 yards per carry ... First-team all-state for Class A by the High School Sports Report ... Zipped for 1,194 yards and 12 TDs as a junior while averaging an incredible 12.1 yards per rush ... Also saw playing time in the defensive backfield ... Helped team to three consecutive state playoff appearances, winning 10 games his senior and sophomore seasons ... The No. 17 prospect in South Carolina and the nation's No. 59 all-purpose athlete by Rivals.com ... Coached by Wayne Farmer.
Tight End, 6-3, 250, Fr-HS, Friendsville, Tenn. (Alcoa)- - "Mr. Football" lineman in the state of Tennessee as a junior ... First-team all-state tight end/defensive end for perennial power Alcoa High School, which has won six consecutive state championships in Class AAA ... Considered to have exceptional hands ... Caught 32 passes for 536 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior ... Snagged 26 balls for 477 yards and seven TDs as a sophomore ... "Tyler catches everything in sight and impresses you with his surprising speed," wrote recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of MaxPreps.com ... Also a defensive standout with 89 tackles, 21 for loss, as a junior ... Had 66 tackles, 16 for loss as a sophomore ... One of the nation's top-25 tight ends as assessed by ESPN.com ... The No. 13 prospect in Tennessee by SuperPrep ... Coached by Gary Rankin.
Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 265, Fr-HS, St. Matthews, S.C. (Calhoun County/Fork Union Military Academy) - Talented lineman with the size and strength to play tackle and also the quickness needed to play at end ... Originally signed with Kentucky in 2007, he played the last two seasons at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy ... His 2008 prep season included a game against the Kentucky junior varsity, in which he made two tackles for loss, including a quarterback sack ... Coached at Fork Union by John Shuman ... As a high-school senior, earned first-team all-state honors, covering all classifications, by The Associated Press and the Columbia State newspaper ... Also first-team all-state for Class AA by the High School Sports Report ... Totaled 107 tackles during senior season, including 14 quarterback sacks, for Calhoun County HS in St. Matthews, S.C. ... Chosen for the South Carolina vs. North Carolina Shrine Bowl and played for the winning squad ... Made 65 tackles and five sacks during his junior season ... Coached by Walter Wilson ... Member of the Calhoun County basketball team which won three consecutive state championships and had a winning streak of more than 70 games ... An uncle, Chris Rumph, is an assistant coach at Clemson ... Cousin of Philip Merling, former Clemson star who is now a defensive end with the Miami Dolphins.
Running Back, 5-8, 184, Fr-HS, Stone Mountain, Ga. (Stephenson) - Shifty running back showed all-around skills at Stephenson High School, with the ability to run from scrimmage, catch passes and return kicks ... The nation's No. 15 all-purpose back by Rivals.com and the No. 41 overall prospect in the talent-rich state of Georgia ... "Very quick, has good vision, catches the ball well and runs like a 210-pound back," wrote recruiting analystBarry Every of Rivals, who also noted that Sanders "Reminds me of Rafael Little ... has the uncanny ability to break tackles and make plays." ... Honorable-mention all-state by the Georgia Sports Writers Association and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution following senior season ... Was the star of the show in a nationally televised game on ESPN, rushing for more than 130 yards and two touchdowns in Stephenson's 20-0 win over Martin Luther King HS ... Helped lead Stephenson to an 11-1 mark and the second round of the state playoffs ... Rushed for approximately 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior ... Coached by Ron Gartrell ... Teammate of current Wildcat signees Jabari Johnson and Ronnie Shields.
Athlete, 6-5, 220, Fr-HS, Stone Mountain, Ga. (Stephenson) - Combines good size with notable athletic ability ... Has been timed as fast as 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash ... Played tight end, although his athleticism could make him a possible slot receiver as well ... Has good hands, although he played in a run-based offense and did not have a large number of receptions ... Helped lead Stephenson to an 11-1 record and the second round of the state playoffs ... Coached by Ron Gartrell ... Teammate of current Wildcat signees Jabari Johnson and Raymond Sanders ... The nation's No. 70 tight end prospect.
Defensive Back, 6-0, 185, Fr-HS, Atlanta, Ga. (Westlake) - Versatile defensive back has the size to play safety and the speed and athleticism to play cornerback ... Has been timed as fast as 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has a 36-inch vertical jump ... Has good upside as he gains experience ... Only began playing football as a high-school junior ... Earned all-region honors as a senior ... Helped Westlake HS advance to the Class AAAAA state playoffs during his senior season ... Coached by Gregory Minnis ... "Eric has lightning speed," Minnis said. "He's like a sponge, soaking it all in and improving every day. He's also a great kid with a great personality." ... Also has played for the basketball team.
Running Back, 6-2, 210, Fr-HS, Independence, Ky. (Simon Kenton) - Smooth, powerful runner who rushed for more than 2,000 yards his junior and senior seasons at Simon Kenton HS ... Notched 2,227 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior ... Garnered 2,309 yards and 37 scores his junior season, leading Simon Kenton to a state runner-up finish in Class 6A, the largest classification in Kentucky ... First-team all-state as a junior and senior by The Associated Press and Louisville Courier-Journal ... "He is a dominating high school back whose talent screams big time," penned recruiting analyst Tom Lemming ... The No. 2 prospect in Kentucky by SuperPrep ... Rated among the nation's top-100 running backs by all services ... Coached by Jeff Marksberry.
Tight End, 6-5, 255, Fr-HS, Cincinnati, Ohio (Lakota West) - Highly regarded prospect is the nation's No. 11 tight end by Rivals.com ... "An exceptionally athletic tight end who can go deep down field," wrote recruiting analyst Tom Lemming on MaxPreps.com ... Second-team all-state, covering all classifications, as a senior by OhioVarsity.com ... Noted for his combination of size, outstanding hands and speed, could be a flex tight end in the collegiate ranks ... The No. 13 prospect in Ohio by Rivals.com and is the No. 43 overall player in the six-state Midwest Region by SuperPrep ... Caught 27 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns his junior year ... Coached by Larry Cox ... Also competes in basketball.
Defensive Back, 5-10, 165, Fr-HS, Gadsden, Ala. (Gadsden City) - One of the nation's top-20 corners as evaluated by ESPN.com ... Combines good speed with excellent ball skills ... Helped lead Gadsden City HS to the semifinals of the highly competitive Alabama Class 6A ranks, the largest classification in the state ... Amassed 66 tackles and two interceptions ... Most Valuable Player of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game following his senior season ... Returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown and had two pass breakups ... Part of a defensive unit that limited Mississippi to 44 total yards in a 21-13 Alabama victory ... "Trimble was probably the second-biggest surprise on the Alabama squad (with) excellent height, speed, change of direction and ball skills," wrote Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every ... Made 48 tackles with six interceptions his junior year ... Coached by Joe Billingsley.
Linebacker, 6-1, 220, Fr-HS, Milan, Tenn. (Milan) - First-team all-state linebacker in Class AAA as tabbed by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association ... West Tennessee Player of the Year as a senior by the Jackson Sun ... Led Milan HS to consecutive 14-1 records as a junior and senior, losing only in the state championship finals each year to perennial power Alcoa HS ... Made 125 tackles with one interception during the regular season in his senior year ... Also rushed for 416 yards and seven touchdowns at fullback ... Collected 119 tackles as a junior, including 21 for loss ... Set a Tennessee state championship game record with 22 tackles in the title contest ... One of the top-15 players in Tennessee by Rivals.com ... Coached by Jeff Morris.
Joker Phillips Press Conference
"First of all, thank you guys for being here. Second, we need to add a name. We always add a name at the last hour, well this is at the last minute. Mychal Bailey's LOI just came over the fax, so you guys can add him to the list of the 2010 class.
"When introduced as head coach, we talked about how important recruiting would be in the next month that we have. I also introduced Operation Win. The first phase is recruiting, and we just finished up a strong 2010 class. A lot of things have happened in the last 24-48 hours, even things that Jeff Drummond didn't find out. We feel good about the class and how it ended up. Our staff was relentless in the last two or three weeks. We feel like we fulfilled not only the things we were looking for, but we added size, speed, and athleticism. This is what, when we first came here in 2003 we wanted to build on, is size, speed and athleticism. I feel that we have added to the overall team speed and size.
"When you look at this class, it is heavy in the defensive line position. We feel like to be successful in this league, you must have depth up front. We added a lot of linebackers and tight end-type bodies, which you can never get enough of. At the running back position, we will make the announcement today that Dakotah Tyler has approached us about a position change, and will play one of the safety spots in the spring. You can never get enough of those types of bodies, because they can always play something else. With that, we were able to add three running backs in this class. We think it helps our overall team speed and team needs with this class. We are excited about it. It is a class that is long. When I talk about UK basketball, I always talk about how long they are, how athletic they are, and the last thing I talk about is how tough they are. And that's what we have. We have a long, athletic team, and now we have to build toughness in this class. Questions?"
Q: "Joker, can you talk about Tim Patterson?"
"He made his decision at 10:30. He was one of those guys that we have been recruiting for a number of years, three years to be exact. He was one of the guys that when we were recruiting Corey Peters, he was a young guy on the rise that the coaches had talked about. We felt like we were in good position, but you never know. He didn't give us any indication until this morning that he was coming to Kentucky. His teacher called me and said `I am sure you already know.' But no, I did not know. She told me. He kept it under wraps pretty well. Last night he told me `My headaches are over, now it is time for your headaches to begin.' We are happy to have him, he is another one of those long, tall, athletic guys that we have to instill the toughness. He has a lot of toughness with where he is coming from, but we have to instill that SEC toughness in him."
Q: "What about the importance of recruiting in the Louisville area, especially with that Central connection?"
"We always talk about how the heart and soul of our program has to be in the state of Kentucky. The biggest population in the state of Kentucky is the city of Louisville. We have to be successful in Louisville, and we feel like we have. If you look at our past rosters, we have done well in Louisville, and Tim just adds to that number."
Q: "Joker, could you talk about the recruitment of Brandon Gainer?"
"It helps to have his high school coach down there, who is a buddy of mine, but I have been able to watch him since the spring. He is a quality back, had a lot of good offers, and we continued to stay on him and landed him, which gives us another quality back. We haven't had success in getting big backs, but we think he is a big, physical back that can hold up in this league for 12 or 13 games."
Q: "Obviously it is a long process, but the last 24 hours seemed to change your class dramatically. How tense were the last 24 hours?"
"Very tense. It was a lot of staying on the phone, telling the kids to be strong, pray about it, and if this is really what you want to do, just be strong with it. There are a lot of people tugging. These last five or six guys that we signed were just us staying on the phone and being relentless. One of the things I think is that they feel our love. They feel what we have here. They feel it from our players, our administration, and our fans. We just continue to reassure them that what they saw when they were here on their visit, it is still here. It hasn't gone anywhere. And I think that was the difference as far as getting their faxes to come through this morning."
Q: "Joker, can you talk about Alex Smith and what he can maybe do, and how soon he can do it?"
"If you guys see him walking around here, he has a great presence about him. His mom and family have lived here in Kentucky, and when I left the press conference here the last time I was here, that was one of the spots I went to that same night. When you get to a kid's home and he starts bringing out his Kentucky gear that he has had since he was a little kid and wants you to sign it, the first thing I could think of is that he has always wanted to come to Kentucky, his dream was to play either basketball or football at Kentucky. My signature said to live out your dream - I am! At that point I thought we had a chance. We continued to stay on him; he is the type of guy that is a Kentucky type of guy. We need kids like him, who have the passion, and want to be here. He is one of those guys that we felt we needed to bring it out in him. We brought it out in the last hour, and he stayed strong also. He had people tugging against him, and that's what we want. This is a game within a game, as far as recruiting. We have to win this game of recruiting. And that is what we are starting to do."
Q: "Coach, you have seven guys from Georgia, five from South Carolina, you have been both places before. Talk about the amount of talent from those states that you continue to get in there and get better players."
"If you look at our seven states that we try to target, which is our priorities, are Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida. Those are the states that we feel like we have a huge presence in. We have had success in all the states that we feel like we have to have success in. Georgia and South Carolina are just two of those that we feel like we have a strong presence on our team now, and we can sell to those kids that we are taking them home every other year, and we are able to get those faxes in because of that ."
Q: "Coach can you talk about how the recruits can expect to come to Kentucky and win?"
"When you go to four straight bowl games, I saw a list of kids by the SEC that are in the combine, we have five. We had more than Georgia, South Carolina, etc. I think that is what has given us a chance to win some of the battles that we win in recruiting. Not only are we winning games, but we are graduating our players and they are players of character. When they get around the kids coming in, they feel the love that we have here. We are not only winning games and graduating players and putting players in the NFL, but now with the TV package also, they will be able to get themselves on the TV screen every week. We feel like that has given us a chance to win some of the battles we are fighting now."
Q: "Donte Rumph has signed again, what is his situation?"
"This is our third time signing Donte, and we feel like he will be here in May. We have to get him here as soon as possible, because we have to get him in shape and get him ready. He is a little bit older than these other high school kids, and we need to get him in here as soon as we possibly can and get him into the mix, because we think he can help us."
Q: "What does that say about his ability, that you stuck with him?"
"It says a lot. If we didn't feel like he could help us, we would have moved on a long time ago. We feel like he is a good enough kid that we have to continue to stay with him, and we promised him when we signed him we would stay with him, as long as he continues to try which he has, so we signed him again last year."
Q: "Can you talk a little bit more about the big addition of Mychal Bailey?"
"He is at a junior college in Southwest Mississippi. We signed him three years ago. He sat out a year, then he went to junior college and he will get out in May, maybe even the summer. We feel good about him. The main thing we don't want to do is to sign players we feel like don't have a chance. One of the things they limit us from doing is signing over 28. So you have to sign players that you think have a chance to be on your roster in August. Mychal Bailey has a chance to be on our roster in August."
Q: "What does he play like?"
"He runs and hits, like every LaGrange player we have had here. They all run, hit, and they love playing football."
Q: "He is a guy that can help you next year?"
"He is. He is a guy that we will start out at safety. He also returns kicks. We feel like he could have a huge presence on this football team next year."
Q: "With Gainer, he is another level of running back, is he maybe a different skill level than what you have had in the past?"
"That is yet to be seen. Obviously we wouldn't have signed a running back that we didn't feel like can help us, and we do feel like he can help us. He was a big name there in south Miami. When we went through there in the spring, the buzz was about Brandon Gainer. For us to get him, it says a lot about our program and the state of our program."
Q: "You guys try to get bigger and better classes to get to bigger and better bowls, is it kind of an eleventh hour decision (by players) that will become more and more prevalent throughout the years?"
"We will have to battle to the end. Earlier it was `what about recruiting?' We aren't worried about recruiting. We just continue to do what we do, which is battle to the end. We will sign great players, and we will be in some of those battles late in the game, and that is what we did with this class."
Q: "Did some of the better players take longer because they had more offers?"
"Yes, and they do. I explained that to Lonnie in the spring. If you want better players, you are going to have to wait it out and sweat it out some. Believe me, we sweated it out a lot in the last couple weeks."
Q: "Could Simpson work some as a wide receiver, too, since he can catch?"
"No, we feel like he is a running back. He is the big back type of player that we feel like we have to have in this league. We have been searching these types of guys for a long time, the two big backs that we have in (Brandon) Gainer and (Miles) Simpson. Yes he can catch the ball, but now one thing he can do is put his shoulders down and punishes people when he catches the ball."
Q: "What about Joe Mansour, the guy that has been coached up and said to have a very strong leg?"
"He has the strongest leg I have ever seen. The thing that he can do is flip the field in a hurry with his leg. Also you don't have to get as deep into their territory to kick a field goal. He made a field goal from 59 yards, and it could have been good from about 69. So he has that type of leg, he has that type of confidence, and he also runs a 4.4 forty. So just warning everybody, you might see some fakes. He is as fast as a lot of our wide receivers. We will have to be creative with him because we feel like he can do some other things for us."
Q: "Are there certain guys that you think will have a better chance to play next year than others?"
"That is yet to be seen. We will wait until we get them on campus to see that. I wouldn't want to put pressure on any of the kids. Obviously we thought that these kids could help us next year, or we wouldn't have signed them. We said that a couple of weeks ago, that we only want to sign quality players, and if you look at it, we didn't sign a wide receiver. We felt like we wanted to get the right wide receiver, we wanted to sign quality wide receivers, or quality people. If we felt like these guys weren't quality enough players to play for us, we wouldn't have signed them."
Q: "Can you talk about Tyler Robinson and Avery Williamson, and what you like about those guys?"
"Toughness. They are winners. They have played (against each other) in the last two state championship games in the state of Tennessee. That says a lot. I think Avery showed us four rings when we went to his house for dinner. That is the other thing; we are going to have to let Randy Sanders loose in Tennessee. One thing we get is some really good home cooked meals, and we did the same with Randall Cobb's grandma, so we have to turn Randy loose a little bit more."
Q: "Can you talk about the players a little bit more?"
"They are just tough. They are tough, hardnosed football players that understand how to win. They will do whatever they have to do to win. Whether it is in the weight room, classroom, whatever they have to do to win."
Q: "In the guys you have, are you pursuing different types of players than a couple of years ago?"
"Yes, we do. If you look at these last six, we weren't getting this type of level of player. We were getting in the top five schools, but not the last two to three. We feel like with the success that we have had, it is allowing us to get into better homes."
Q: "Looking at this list, before the ink even dries on this sheet, you are looking forward at the next class. What are some of the key areas that will need to be addressed?"
"Well you said before the ink dries. As the faxes were coming through, we had someone watching the fax, all our cell phones in front of us, and some of the 2011 guys on a conference call. It never stops. We want to be as relentless as we were in signing theses last five or six guys, and want to be as relentless in signing this next class. And we have to get on them now. You can't wait a day, two days, you have to get on them now, and we feel like we have a good jump in that class. Some of our needs will be heavy offensive line, always trying to get defensive linemen, corners will be a high priority, and a couple of wide receivers. We will try to find a quarterback in this next class, also."
Q: "What effect has the coaching change, as well as the staff change had?"
"I don't think it had any. We were all on these guys before I took over. There is not a new name on this list. (Brandon) Gainer we were on, (Farrington) Huguenin we were on, (Tim) Patterson, (Jerrell) Priester, (Miles) Simpson, Alex Smith. There is not a new name on here, so we felt like we were in good shape with these guys before the coaching change."
Q: "Does Stephenson (High School) in Stone Mountain have potential to be a LaGrange?"
"It does. We signed 25, you can only sign 28, and Stephenson signed a class of 25 guys today. They already have class of 2011 guys we will continue to recruit also."
Q: "Can you talk about Raymond Sanders, and what kind of back he is?"
"He's not a big back, but he is a fast little shifty guy. He reminds me of Derrick Locke when you look at him. He came to one of our games, and I went to watch him play on the ESPN game before our Auburn game, and I was getting pats on the back from all these 25 college coaches, saying we got a steal. And he is. His lower body reminds me of Mark Higgs. He has big legs, big rear end, big quads, and you have to have that to be a tailback in this league. The other thing he has is Wesley Woodyard-type attitude. He is a guy that can change the attitude of your football team for the better."
Q: "Can you talk about Jerrell Priester and what his role may be?"
"Priester is one of those guys where there is a lot that he can do. We will start him off at corner. He will be a punt returner, a kick returner, and he is a guy that we feel can come over and be a big jet sweep guy like Derrick Locke is in the wildcat package. We feel like he is a guy that can out-leverage the defense in a hurry with his speed. He was second in the 100-meter last year in the state of South Carolina, and we feel like he will be one of the faster guys this year."
Q: "Joker, were you looking to sign a couple of wideouts?"
"Yes, but we wanted to sign the right couple of wideouts. You don't want to take any wideout, you want to take the right one. We didn't lose any wideouts (from the 2009 team). We will lose Chris Matthews next year, and you don't want to be too far behind the count in signing a wide receiver. One good thing is that a freshman wideout can come in and play right away. At offensive and defensive line, you have to look two classes ahead. You have to look to your junior class to see how many you need to sign."
Q: "What about the two guys that are already here (Josh Gibbs and Justin Henderson)?"
"We like the way those guys are working. They love football. They will bring the same type of attitude that we are talking about. They will do whatever they have to do to get the job done."
Q: "Can you talk about all the defensive linemen that you signed?"
"Alvin Davis, a kid from south Georgia that is real athletic. The thing we want to do is sign some long ends. We have to get longer on the perimeter so we can get up in pass lanes and get our hands up if we can't get a rush. He is one of those long defensive ends. Nermin Delic is a monster. He is a big human being. We love his attitude. We watched him practice basketball, and he is a big athletic guy that loves football. Mike Evans-Douglas was MVP at the Pinellas County All-Star Game, which is in the St. Pete/Clearwater area. As a defensive end, he had a couple sacks, a couple pressures, he is a guy who has tremendous speed, and we beat a lot of people with him. Justin Henderson, who we have already talked about, his athleticism. If you watch Clemson when we play them, both of their defensive ends are from his same school. It is a really big hotbed there. We feel good about the way that he has been taught that position. We think he will be ahead of most because of the coaching he has at that position. Brice Laughlin was committed to someone else, and we changed him after he came here to see the excitement that we had in the Tennessee game. The next week later he came here on an official visit, and committed to us. He will be an inside guy, a defensive tackle. His dad played at the Citadel, so he has good football knowledge. If you look at his high school coach, he has the all-time highest winning percentage of anyone in the country, high school or college. McAdoo will line up at offensive line. Donte Rumph we think will be an inside guy. We signed him a couple times; that will be it at the defensive line. Farrington is a tall, long linebacker that we think will grow into a defensive lineman. That is yet to be seen. We have to find out how his body changes in the next year."
Q: " Just how crucial was today, specifically, getting Patterson?"
" That's real crucial for us. We've gotten those guys that have grew up fans, or not been fans of Kentucky. You know the ones that we've got, they've come over here and had success, which has opened up the eyes of the other ones, like Tim Patterson, Ridge Wilson, they were not Kentucky fans, but we've slowly convinced them that they could be Kentucky fans, and they are now. So we've got to continue getting into Louisville. There's no question about that. It's important, very important to us, why? Because Kentucky is important to us. Where is the most heavily populated area? It's Louisville. So, there's 28 schools in Jefferson County, we have to be in them, and we got to be in them heavy."
Q: " Can you just mention how important Ridge (Wilson) and P.C. (Cobble) were in that process?"
"Well I think they were real big. It was important for Tim to have some people that understood the lay of the land over here. And Ridge, and P.C., which is Mister Cobble, and Jordan Tennyson and I have been over there. And Corey Peters was a big presence in us getting Tim Patterson, with the success that all four of those guys are having."
Q: "Joker, would you like to redshirt a lot of these guys?"
"You would love to. We would, I would love to. But realistically, we're not going be able to. If you look down this list, there's a lot of linebacker, DB-type bodies, tight end-type bodies, that can play on special teams also. Whether it be kick coverage, punt coverage, punt return, kick return. So, a lot of these guys will have an opportunity to play in that area. And be back-ups, be solid back-ups for us."
Q: "Joker, will 2011 be a better year for in-state signing?"
"I think it'll be a big year next year. We feel like this class of Kentuckians next year is a lot bigger, maybe double or even triple the class that we feel like we've targeted this year. So, it's a good year, and we got a huge jump on it this morning in getting some of those guys to call over here and getting them on the phone."
Q: " Joker, you had said earlier you were confident all along, in spite of media speculations, that you were going to have a good recruiting crew..."
"Did I say confident? Sometimes you have to act a different way than you really are (laughter from audience). But I wasn't confident until a couple of them came across the board, I said `Did I promise that there would be some surprises?' I'm glad it came through."
Q: "Joker, how would you compare, the way you feel, looking at this group, compared to the groups that have been in the past, where you've either been the Assistant Head Coach, or the Recruiting Coordinator, given the fact you're in the "big chair" now?"
"The thing that we have to do, as far as me feeling different now, I feel the same. Anybody that wants to come to Kentucky, and signs at Kentucky, I'm a Kentuckian. The way I feel about this program, I think we have a chance to win if we've offered them a scholarship. We feel the same with this group here. Whether I'm the Assistant Coach, Assistant Head Coach, or Head Coach. I'm just excited that we are able to attract these young men to come play for us."
Q: "Have you ever had a class that associated with a class that has changed this dramatically over a course of a 24-hour period and adding six quality guys this late?"
"I have not. I have not been a part of a class, and that says something about our staff and how relentless we were in this last 24, 48 hours in trying to get these kids to get their faxes in for us."
Q: "I know Rich (Brooks) has commented on this before in the past, but I'd like to get your thoughts on it. Do you like the adrenaline rush, and the excitement around the whole National Signing Day, or would you prefer, to maybe see sometime in the future, a situation similar to basketball, where there is an early and late signing period?"
"I like the rush, there's no question about that. But I also would like to, like Rich, would like to see an early signing date also. I really would, I think a lot of positives would come out of that if we can have an early signing period. Especially for us, to get some of these guys signed and getting them to the next class, or maybe we get half of them. It would also give us a chance to go out there and identify the next year's class also."
Q: "Joker, just a little off topic. Are you getting any closer to finding a Wide Receivers Coach? Any idea when that might be?"
" Closer. We're getting closer. That should be announced here in the near future."