GIDEL: Cats extend offer to Somerset DE

The Wildcats received a rude wake-up call last week as SEC powers Alabama, Auburn and LSU beat the hometown Wildcats to the punch in offering Pulaski (Ky.) Southwestern defensive end Josh Minton a scholarship.

Tuesday, they took the official first step in moving their way back into the race, when they decided to no longer hold out on a scholarship offer to the talented defensive product.

"Chuck Smith called and said Kentucky was sending a letter today and have offered Josh a full scholarship," Pulaski Southwestern High School coach Dale Anderson said.

"Josh is a special player and a special young man. When you send out films you just never know. I knew that Auburn was very interested in him from the beginning but there are a lot of great defensive lineman in the south. The guy at Forbes told me early in February that it was one of the best films he had ever seen."

The 6-foot-4, Minton recorded 87 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 13 sacks as a junior, taking all-state honors.

"I am not sure the reality of these top level programs offers has really sunk in," Anderson said. "It is a special honor to be offered by the top programs in the country. In reality, this wasn't expected, but I thought it was a possibility. Being in Somerset we are not on the college football map like Louisville or Lexington or Cincinnati, but the colleges have found Josh anyway."

"After talking to the college coaches there are 2 things that make him special," Anderson cited, "One is his motor - he goes after it on every snap. Two, he jumps off the film as a player. Josh has the ability to be an impact on every snap from a defensive line position which is rare. The college coaches that have watched the film have been very impressed and really think he has the size and speed combo that they look for and that he can play 2 to 3 positions on the defensive line."

And now Kentucky enters the race; a school that was perceived to be the team-to-beat since late February and the hometown favorite, in an area typically dominated by Wildcat fans.

"As far as Kentucky and Louisville are concerned, I don't think either one is out of the picture," Anderson said. "Coach Nord at Louisville has been on Josh for a while. He visited up there over spring break. Louisville was very impressed with him in person."

"At Kentucky, Coach Smith has been talking to Josh a lot," Anderson continued. "I thought they were going to offer first, to be honest. He made two trips up there to meet the coaches in person. Coach Petri really liked him and of course Coach Smith knows Josh as well as anyone having coached against him 3 times in the last 2 years. Josh wanted to stay close to home when we first started talking about college but that has changed with the offers he has recieved."

Those offers are extremely impressive to date. In addition to LSU, Alabama and Auburn, the standout also sports an offer from Western Kentucky and a possible darkhorse in Virginia Tech - which oddly enough was his first scholarship offer.

"I think right now Josh really enjoyed his visit to Virginia Tech because of the coaches there," Anderson said. "There are a lot of Kentucky contacts in Coach Beamer, Coach Wiles and Coach Foster (defensive coordinator) who was actually born here in Somerset. They have the early lead with Josh right now. I expect an early decision from Josh, maybe before the season starts. We will see though, ultimately it will be up to Josh and his parents."

Kentucky hopes its late arrival won't create a disappointing setback.

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