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Quotes on Kentucky Football Signees from Head Coach Rich Brooks and Offensive Coordinator Randy Sanders




Feb. 4, 2009

Head Coach Rich Brooks

Opening Statement …
“First, a couple of housekeeping items before we go into the recruiting class. Two of our players on our current roster status will change based on some injuries. Mike Schwindel will forego his fifth year of eligibility because of the shoulder repair. For his long term health he is taking a risk (in that) if he hurt it again a repair would not go well. Also, Josh Minton who has had knee problems, a major surgery and a scope after that and continued problems through the fall with bone bruises on both sides of the knee. Again the doctors determined for his long-term health he probably should not play football. Those two will not be active any longer and will be on a medical scholarship until they finish up their school here at Kentucky.

“As always I am excited about our signees. There is probably more stars behind their names than in some of the past classes but I will again remind some that a couple of guys that played good for us named Wesley Woodyard and Trevard Lindley had two or less stars behind their names when they came in here and we have a few on that category on this list as well. Clearly, I think that this class addresses some needs and has an awful lot of playmakers and some big, big time SEC offensive and defensive lineman. A late name that we just added about 15 before I came over here is DeQuin Evans, a defensive end from Harbor Junior College and a teammate of Chris Matthews. That obviously helps us in an area where we didn't return a lot of experience. I think this particular class is a little larger in number and obviously there will be some players on this list to grayshirt or possible one or two that may be placed (in prep school or junior college). As we all know you can't have more than 25 in a given year and that will be the case come this fall. There has been some massaging of the numbers as we came down to the last week in recruiting. I feel good going forward not only that we have some really good players coming in this fall but we will also delay enrollment for some of the players on this list which will be determined later on.”


 

 

On the class overall …
“I think the first thing obviously should jump out at almost anyone who knows anything about the recruiting process is the quarterback position. I think in today's USA Today there was a listing of the top 10 athletic quarterbacks in the nation and Morgan Newton was seventh on that list. Then there was a list of the top 10 dropback quarterbacks and Ryan Mossakowski was 10 th on that list which gives the University of Kentucky the number one quarterback recruiting class in the country. I think that Morgan Newton ended up number six in the quarterback ranking in the USA Today. Local (player) Sam Simpson is ranked by Scout.com as the number three center in the nation. There are obviously some guys in this class that give us some significant hope going forward that what we have experience the last three years has a very good chance of continuing and getting better. I think that USA Today or Scout.com said something about us having one of the top receiver/tight end recruiting classes in the nation. God knows we could use that after going through what we did this year.”

On Terrell Mitchell and Anthony Kendrick and if they are the guys he is talking about when he says wide receiver/tight end guys …
“They are and I think that you can thorow Brain Adams in there too. Brian Adams played quarterback and he is like 55 th in the quarterback position in the nation. When you look at those guys like I looked at them on tape, wow. Kendrick is already 232 pounds and he can run, catch and has great ball skills. Terrell Mitchell obviously is in that category, he is more like 218 right now. He is very athletic and a rangy guy that can put on more weight. It really is an impressive looking group.”

On Ryan Mossakowski and Morgan Newton …
“I think that they both have an opportunity to come in and compete. Morgan and Ryan both are thinking that they would like to be in the quarterback mix next year and would like to compete. Based on what we have seen of them on tape I think they can come in and compete. Again a part of the process isn't how well they throw the ball but how they assimilate the offense and do their reads and protections. Morgan already has a jump start because he has spent some time down here in unofficial visits after his official visit. I think he plans on getting down here during spring practice, particularly during spring break to check practice out and understand things more even before summer school.”

On how this class is in terms of speed …
“I think that we got some really good speed in this class and I think that you have to have speed to play in this league. Anybody who has watched the national championship game the last three years can see that the SEC has a lot of team speed compared to some other leagues. Certainly this class continues what we have started several years ago in bringing in more speed to our football program. I think that we have it at all positions -- defensive line, linebacker, secondary, receiver and running back. There are some very talented and fast athletes that maybe have more size than we have had in the past, as far as skill guys.”

On running back Jonathan George …
“I have been in this business a long time and I don't think that I have ever recruited a player that won a state championship as a junior in wrestling and a state championship in the 400 meters race. Think about that now, that is an unusual combination. He came on our radar late too, we started recruiting him probably a month ago and we are very, very glad that we did. I think that he has a great future and his best football is ahead of him. He is in the category of one of those under-starred guys. I think that he has as much ability as a lot of those guys that have more stars to their names.”

On why he thinks that more and more of the better recruits are starting to choose Kentucky …
“Obviously, winning helps open doors and before we were selling the vision of trying to get things done and now we are able to sell the reality. We continue to sell the dream and vision of getting even better and competing for an SEC Championship and going to BCS bowl games. I think that the level of competition that this program has shown has opened up some doors. We were in more homes but we still didn't forget what got us here and that was evaluating talent no matter how many stars they have by their names. One of the reasons that we are recruiting better is because of the type of people that are recruiting them. I can tell you in all honesty the two quarterbacks that signed here would not have signed here if Randy Sanders was not our quarterback coach and now our offensive coordinator. The quality of the coaches that I have on this staff is as good as I have ever been around. Not only can they evaluate but they can recruit and coach and communicate with the athletes that they are dealing with. This staff deserves an enormous amount of credit for the work they have done not only with this recruiting class but for the last several years. Let's not forget that we have been to three straight bowl games and won them so Randy is three-for-three.”

On the continuing to pipe into the LaGrange High School (Georgia) pipeline …
“The thing that I have discovered about getting guys from LaGrange High School is I don't have to worry about is he tough enough, does he understand the effort level that it takes to be competitive and how hard you have to work to maximize your ability because every player we have had from there has been nothing but aces in that category.”

On the size of the wide receivers and if he wanted bigger wide receivers …
“We wanted to get talented receivers and talented and big is always better than talented and small. Yes, we did feel like we had to upgrade our size at receiver a little bit with the success that Stevie Johnson had, who was a big receiver for us at the time, and Jacob Tamme who can flex out and play in the slot which a couple of the signees can do easily as well. If you look around our league again one of the things that are difficult as far as matching up sometimes for defensive backs is those tall receivers.”

On this being one of his highest ranked classes but will still be 10 th or higher in the SEC …
“They (SEC powerhouses) have certainly signed guys with more stars next to their names than we have but let's not forget that we were ranked 11 th and 12 th the last five or six years as well and we have been able to beat a few of those teams. We have been able to win three straight bowl games and we continue to upgrade our overall talent base and levels. We aren't where we want to be in the SEC but this class in my opinion will help this program get closer to where we want to be.”

On how you convince two highly touted quarterback to come together in the same class …
“Good question. I think prior to last August we were looking for one quarterback in this recruiting class but we decided that we needed two quarterbacks. We were fortunate enough to be in the process with a couple of guys who weren't afraid of competition. They have enough confidence in their own ability that they weren't afraid to come in when the other one committed. During that process we communicated with the both of them and told them our thinking on why we know needed two quarterbacks. They both basically signed off on it.”

Recruiting Coordinator / Offensive Coordinator Randy Sanders

On the two great quarterbacsk coming to Lexington …
“Obviously I am excited about them. That is one of the good things about being recruiting coordinator because when you are you get to make sure your position is covered (laughter from audience). They are both really good young men, number one. They are good prospects that come from good families. What you see from them excited you and once you get a chance to be around them and talk to them you get even more excited. They are the kind of players that have the desire to be a good football player and a good quarterback. There are guys out there that have talent but not the burning desire to be a great player and those are the guys that I want to coach -- the guys that have the desire to be a great player. They will take what you tell them and put it to use on the practice field and if they do that you usually see the results on Saturday. I think that they can both think really quickly. I have been around quarterbacks that were very intelligent but their brain just didn't fire really fast. Those are things that are hard to measure but sometimes you throw some off-the-wall statements at them and see how they respond. If they respond quickly they can think fast. I have seen that quality from both of them. The other thing that I like is that we have a good group of receivers that we recruited last year and have some guys in this group with tight ends and running backs that can help. It is a lot easier to be a good quarterback when you have good guys around you.”

On how much it means that they knew there was going to be competition and they took on the challenge …
“In my experience those are the guys that are going to be good players. I am always skittish about guys that say I want to be the only one you recruit because when it is fourth quarter against Louisville, Georgia or whoever it is you want someone in there to compete and if they are afraid to compete in practice there probably not going to play like you want when you get in that situation.”

On why are more quality players choosing Kentucky …
“I think that there are a number of reasons. Obviously, we have won games and been to three consecutive bowl games and won those. We have been on television a bit which provides some exposure and we have had some big wins on television. Being on television has exposed the rest of the country a little bit to what Commonwealth Stadium is like on Saturday. The fan support and environment that we have comes into play. Right after we won the Music City Bowl a lot of you guys (media members) were translating success in recruiting. If you remember I said that it helped some this year but it will help three or four years down the road. A lot of times those guys that are sitting there as freshmen and sophomores what they see on TV and the emotion they feel at that moment effects the decision they make down the road.”

2014 National Signing Day Commonwealth Stadium