GIDEL: Kentucky football notebook

Rich Brooks certainly had some individuals scratching their heads after a pre-spring synopsis included a tremendously unfamiliar name of Bankhead.

Rich Brooks certainly had some individuals scratching their heads after a pre-spring synopsis included a tremendously unfamiliar name of Bankhead.

"Terrell Bankhead has made some tremendous improvements in his numbers from last season—he's a junior college guy," Brooks said at his pre-spring press conference. "He's a good, solid player."

Bankhead who hails from San Diego, Calif. and Mesa Junior College, came to Kentucky last season, after the staff convinced him to head to east.

"I wasn't really recruited very hard because of my size, and because I really never got the ball as much" Bankhead said on Media Day last season, "the Kentucky coaches came to my junior college looking for some playmakers and got film of me and said they really wanted me to walk-on and possibly earn a scholarship."

With deflections anticipated and academic casualities looking eminent, the running back/fullback may just get his scholarship and some well deserved playing time after a redshirt season and off-season that saw him bulk up to 210 and his forty yard dash time fall to a 4.4. .

"All I wanted was a shot," Bankhead said then. "And now I got one."

He certainly deserved one.

Guy Morriss strikes again

Continue to count me among the few that look to Guy Morriss' recruiting tenure at Kentucky, as near dreadful and as much to blame for the lack of success as Claude Bassett's checkbook.

With the latest departures included, only Mike Aitcheson, Arliss Beach, Glenn Holt, Lamar Mills, Travis Slaydon, Bo Smith and Hayden Lane remain from Morriss' final recruiting class as head coach of Kentucky. That makes less than half the players signed, as currently still on campus and playing for the Wildcats.

Adding more insult to injury, signed members of the 2002 class that enrolled in January of 2003 as recruited additions of Guy Morriss were grayshirts Brad Booker, Maurice Marchman, Paul Webb and Leroy Wilson. All of which are no longer with the team.

Digging even deeper into the half Morriss/Mumme 2001 recruiting class, the current roster next season will include only eight players. The rest have either given up football completely, graduated or been kicked off.

On total, only 15 players currently on this upcoming year's football team came in on scholarship while Guy Morriss was the head coach of the University of Kentucky. A pathetic reality of the lack of recruiting success actually experienced by Morriss, whose lone claim to fame may forever be Lamar Mills, a late discovery in the closing February months of 2002 or Aaron Boone, an above average addition that blossomed in his senior year.

Needless to say, you cannot win many SEC Championships having a less than 50% return ratio on each respective recruiting class.

Abdullah changes positions

Wesley Woodyard wasn't the only guy that had to make some changes following the Wildcats influx of injuries towards the end of last season. Senior-to-be Muhammad Abdullah was asked to move to strong safety following the loss of Mike Williams, thus meaning Abdullah would have to adjust to his new position fast.

He did just that and more – successfully making the transition. A transition the coaching staff is looking to continue this season.

"The strong safety has to play more ‘in the box' (near the line of scrimmage) and make tackles. You have to be more of a physical player than a finesse player and that fits my game," Abdullah said. "It's not too much adjustment. I played there some last season."

Abdullah, a free safety for most of his collegiate career, switched to strong safety for the last three games of the 2004 season and the coaches have continued the position change this spring. Abdullah played well at both spots last year, totaling 58 tackles and three interceptions. He has led the team in interceptions the last two seasons and was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference both years.

"Muhammad is doing a great job," UK defensive backs coach Steve Brown said. "He's very good around the line of scrimmage and is a physical player, so it (playing strong safety) definitely fits his personality. This has been a good move for him and the team."


AllWildcats Top Stories