VAUGHT: Fidler, Cessna commitments big for UK

They are not the two most highly-rated high school football players in Kentucky, but Henderson County's Will Fidler and North Laurel's Chris Cessna could well be important players for the Kentucky football program.

While the Cats would have loved a commitment from Lexington Catholic quarterback Justin Burke, who picked North Carolina State, and still hope to get a yes from Fort Campbell star Micah Johnson or Southwestern standout Josh Minton, no one at Kentucky is complaining about having Fidler and Cessna.

They are players who grew up Kentucky fans. They are players who liked Kentucky from the start. They are players who believe not only in Rich Brooks and his staff, but they believe in the Kentucky football program.

No, I'm not one that can readily evaluate how good a player will be three years from now. That's what Brooks and his staff have to judge. But I do remember that no one was overly excited when UK signed Aaron Miller two years ago and all he did was start in the offensive line as a true freshman despite not being a big name in-state signee. Or what about in-state products Jacob Tamme and Ricky Abren? Former UK coach Guy Morriss withdrew scholarship offers to both. When Morriss left, Brooks quickly offered both players scholarship and they both will be key players on this year's team.

Sure, it would be nice for Kentucky to sign all the blue-chip, can't-miss players in the state. But those days are over. However, I do believe in-state players that grow up bleeding blue have a spot at Kentucky and Fidler and Cessna are obviously two of those players. Maybe it will be two or three years before they make an impact on the UK program. But they were willing to commit now to a program that struggled mightily last year. They didn't have to wait to see how Kentucky does this year to know they wanted to play for the Wildcats.

That doesn't mean it's not important still to land players like Johnson and Minton, but don't underestimate the value of adding Fidler and Cessna, either.

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