Freshmen running backs' road to Kentucky

Prior to the hiring of Joker Phillips big SEC type backs were devoid of the roster of the UK football team. There's been many calls from the big blue nation for UK to get away from the smallish type running back. In Josh Clemons, who last year was 5-foot-10, 208-pounds, now 215-pounds, the staff managed to get a larger back last season.

Unfortunately for Clemons got injured early in the season. Until late in the season when Jonathan George 215-pounds started to assert himself, UK had to rely on smallish backs Raymond Sanders who wasn't healthy all last season and Coshik Williams who Joker Phillips says may be the toughest guy on the team. With the new additions the running back position is the deepest position on the team with quality players.

Now in comes two freshmen running backs that are SEC size, every down type of backs Dyshawn Mobley, 5-foot-11, 225-pounds and Justin Taylor, 5-foot-10, 215-pounds. They were players with different and interesting recruiting stories as to how they landed at UK.

At the UK 2011 Friday Night Lights Camp we spotted Dyshawn Mobley, which at the time was 205-pounds and looked impressive in every way. His junior year he had amassed 1300-yards in the only six games he played. But with good old Google, Powell, Tennessee, where is that? Excellent numbers but perhaps it a small school against weak competition. Come to find out it's a suburb of Knoxville and the school is a 5A school the highest class in Tennessee. All he did was gain 3,068 - yards his senior year, 12.2-yards a carry, which is an all-time single season rushing record in the state of Tennessee.

The character check and relation building method of recruiting employed by Phillips, when other schools converged on Mobley, he was rock solid for UK. He said most of the added weight went to his legs. Question was, after seeing this youngster in the camp, it was six weeks before an offer came to Mobley? "I didn't know coach Joker at all," Mobley said, "and I didn't really think I was coming to this camp until one of my long-time friends back home Mitch Rowe my recreation coach told me ‘you should try to get up to the UK camp.' Then I ask my mom as she said yes. We came up here, I loved it, I felt like I did pretty good and that's why I'm here now. Coach Joker came and talked to me and said we would offer you right now but we don't know anything about you. He said why don't we build a relationship and he kept his word."

He said after his big senior year other school came after him but Vandy pushed hard right up until the last minute but I'm said I was going to keep my word to coach Joker." We asked how he put the weight on? He said by eating breakfast which was something he had never done before. He also said by lifting weights he knew he couldn't lift but having someone to spot him.

Justin Taylor was coerced into coming up to UK by two teammates on the academic team. "I was still committed to Alabama," Taylor said. "I came up here and then Tyler Sargent took me and this dude Ashton, he's in the eleventh grade, around Nutter and I say ‘man I'm going to Bama, they are way better than this. And now I'm here and happy and I said, man that's crazy. I don't have a problem with it but....." The key to the entire happening was the fact he had suffered a knee injury after he had committed to Alabama and they wanted to redshirt him. "Man, I wanted to go to college. I was the first in my family to graduate from high school and go to college and I can't wait."

After de-committing why Kentucky?

"After I committed to ‘Bama Georgia and South Carolina tried to recruit me and after the injury they backed so the only schools were Tennessee, Wake Forest, and Ole Miss but I wanted to stay in the SEC. I had told coach (Hugh) Freeze I was coming up until the last forty-eight hours. Kentucky beat them. My coach who is my guardian and was coached by coach Rock (Oliver) knew Joker Phillips and everything just fell into place. And another thing, coach Rock told that he wasn't going to bring me out here unless he was confident my knee was okay and I said dang, they are concerned about my health."

He said he is fine and 17% stronger. We asked what kind of back is he? He said a power back. "I run down hill, north and south," he said smiling. "I give you one move and then run over you." He said that Jonathan George and Josh Clemons have been very help. "When I need help with anything they see that I get it. When I ask to go to the film room they go with me and point things out to me."

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