One of the first priorities for the Kentucky football program following the announcement of a coaching staff change at the end of the season is stabilizing its 2013 football recruiting efforts.
The Wildcats currently have 15 verbal commitments in a class that is expected to be in the range of 20 players on national signing day in February. Only one of those, however, is from the Bluegrass State.
"It was sad to hear," said Clay County defensive lineman Jacob Hyde, who was UK's first verbal commitment in the 2013 class. "It's hard for me to see him leave because I've always liked Joker Phillips. He's treated me as part of the family since the first time that I stepped foot on campus. But I understand that it's a business these days. This is just part of it."
Hyde (6-3, 325) is a three-star prospect ranked among the nation's top defensive tackles by Scout and FoxSports. He committed to the Wildcats last Feburary.
While Sunday's news was somber, Hyde said it did not affect his status with UK.
"It doesn't affect my recruitment at all. I committed to the University of Kentucky, not a coach or a coaching staff. This is my home. I bleed blue."
Hyde said he hasn't had an opportunity to catch up with other recruits that he's formed friendships, but he planned to contact some of them in the days to come.
Asked what he would say, Hyde added: "Stay strong and stay with it. Keep working hard. This game is about overcoming adversity."
Clay County (4-7) saw its season come to a close on Friday with a 4A playoff loss to Boyle County. Hyde finished his senior year with 49 tackles for the Tigers.
Hyde reacts to Phillips news
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