GIDEL: Coach Brooks uses 'offer early' strategy

Football recruiting may not be a hot topic during a time of year where basketball becomes religious, but the Wildcat football coaching staff is not using that as an excuse to take the time off. As evidence by some of the early offers already extended throughout the state, Rich Brooks and company appear to be headed towards the same strategy of the successful recruiting season a year ago

As evidence by some of the early offers already extended throughout the state, Rich Brooks and company appear to be headed towards the same strategy of the successful recruiting season a year ago. 

Offer early.  

“Kids really remember the first school who offered them,” former recruiting coordinator and now offensive coordinator Joker Phillips said. “Nowadays kids are making their decisions a lot earlier, so you’ve got to get your offers out there earlier.” 

The strategy certainly paid dividends a year ago.  

Of the in-state signees from February’s class, only Elizabethtown’s Zipp Duncan and Western’s Corey Goodson did not receive their first scholarship from Kentucky, meaning eight signees from a year ago honored Kentucky’s commitment to them, by signing with the school that offered them first.  

Proving just how important the spring evaluation period is for the Wildcat coaching staff - of those in-state signatures, only Tim Masthay garnered a scholarship offer after May.

A Top Heavy Kentucky

As the staff has already found out, the class of 2006 in Kentucky will continue last year’s trend of being excessively top heavy with talent. Like 2005, the Bluegrass state will feature as many as fifteen prospects that figure to receive above average college attention for the coming year.  

Fort Campbell’s linebacker/defensive Micah Johnson and Lexington Catholic quarterback Justin Burke appear to be this year’s cream of the crop, but are followed nicely by Trigg County’s star offensive lineman Jeffrey Adams, Henderson County’s quarterback Will Fidler, Louisville Central defensive tackle Cory Peters and Fort Campbell defensive back/safety Leonard Gordon.  

The Wildcat coaching staff, understanding the critical advantage in making the first scholarship offer, has already extended offers to some of the state’s best and look to be eyeing several more. 

The place perhaps most pivotal for evaluation is Jefferson County. Home to as many as seven top prospects, the River City again will be the dividing point for the right to take the state. With Louisville being so close and the hometown favorite, it’s next to imperative for the ‘Cats to hand out the first scholarship offers.

The tactic has been successful in the past, helping to land former Louisville area recruits and current Wildcats Myron Pryor and Garry Williams.   

“I think offering first has become pretty important,” Phillips said, “but to be in that position you had got to do your homework.” 

In addition to Central’s Cory Peters, St. Xavier offensive lineman Justin Jeffries, Manual’s duo of Javare White (RB) and Aundre Henderson (DE) and Ballard’s duo of Garnett Phelps (WR/DB) and Demarco Williams (DE), could very well hold the fate of the Wildcats recruiting venture next winter.  

Other names to keep an eye on this summer are Henry Clay’s Sam Gardner, Madison Central’s Paul Warford, Louisville St. Xavier’s Justin Jeffries and Murray’s Andrew Cain. SW Pulaski’s Josh Minton, whom recently received his first scholarship offer from Western Kentucky, is a solid sleeper that with a strong camp performance could garner some heavy hitters.

Best of Times Ahead for our Members

I want to express my deepest and sincere welcome to the newest members of in Larry Vaught, Jim Tirey and Steve John.  

In Larry Vaught, our members are finally getting what they deserved in an experienced and talented writer, whom has continued to be the standard by which so many young writers like myself, aspire to become. He’s not only true to his belief in UK sports, but he exhibits a tremendous amount of professionalism and charisma that is beneficial for everyone.  

In Jim Tirey and Ryan Lemond, our members are offered one of the most intriguing and talented radio personalities in the area. In my short time in the Lexington media market, nobody has been more cordial or inviting then Jim and Ryan, and I am extremely excited that men of their status are apart of the company I bled for, during the past year and a half.

And finally in Steve John, the community is finally going to be offered the premiere atmosphere for which it deserves. More so then anything else, they are also going to be offered a very good person and leader. 

I am very excited for what lies ahead for each of these gentlemen and for the IK community. I feel very confident that these gentlemen will continue on with the great momentum that was generated by so many whom worked so hard in making our site the product that it was. To see it shine will be my ultimate reward and I’ve never felt more confident in seeing it happen.  

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