As much as the talk has surrounded the explosion of talent across Jefferson County, perhaps the most overlooked fact to date is the realization that arguably the best football is played in Western Kentucky.
Home to one of the nation's top linebacker prospect in Micah Johnson and arguably the state's top returning team in Trigg County, the Western Kentucky Conference is downright loaded with prospects in 2005. And with all the publicity surrounding the area, many other prospects are currently experiencing the benefits of the newfound "love fest."
That is exactly what Caldwell County's coach Anthony Hatchell is finding out about his two returning All-Western Kentucky conference prospects from a year ago. "The interest in Western Kentucky football has been just tremendous of late," Hatchell said, "we've definitely seen a rise in the level of play and the type of athlete coming out of this part of the state in the past couple years."
This season, Caldwell County could very well be a sleeper team to watch. "We've just got to get out of our division first," Hatchell said. "We've got 8 state titles in this bunch and this year's gonna be tough with Trigg County and Fort Campbell bringing back some big hitters from a year ago. If we can get out of the division, I think we definitely have a chance to go to state."
This year, Caldwell County features two prospects that have already seen their stock rise as a result of the newfound exposure to the state's area in Josh Hatchell and Allen Wadlington.
Josh, coach Hatchell's son, is arguably Western Kentucky's top linebacker and one of the state's more intriguing story lines. "He's getting some big time calls and interest right now," Hatchell said of his 6-foot-2, 240 pound son. "Arkansas, Louisville, Western (Kentucky), Eastern (Kentucky), UK, and Alabama have all been sending a bunch of stuff and have contacted me, plus the Ivy League schools are all over him because of his grades."
Last season, Josh Hatchell had over 110 tackles at the linebacker spot, playing in every game since his sophomore season. The rising senior also starred at running back, rushing for over 950 yards, in leading Caldwell County for the second straight year.
"He's been leading our team in every defensive statistic, except interceptions, since his sophomore season," Hatchell said. "He's a smart kid with great instincts and he just has a nose for the football. College coaches like his decision making more then anything else right now. He's got great hands, is strong, and is a great weight lifter."
Hatchell has been recorded in the 40-yard dash at 4.79 and is hoping to move his stock even higher with a better performance at the Western Kentucky Conference combine on May 6th. He's already fully qualified and holds a 3.8 GPA.
Accompanied in the backfield with Hatchell is possibly Caldwell's second major division one prospect in 6-foot-3, 200 pound Allen Wadlington, an All-Western Kentucky conference honoree after his first year of organized football. Wadlington, pummeled defenses in route to a 1,000 yard season this past year and averaged an amazing 10.6 yards a carry according to his coach.
Wadlington is considered the best running back in Western Kentucky and is getting significant letters from several big time schools but no real contact as of yet. He runs a 4.5 forty and could play defensive back at the next level, based on his terrific size and speed.
Look for interest to pick up on Wadlington once he attends more summer combines.
Two sleepers in Western Kentucky
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