Fanbase, Staff Win Over Ga. WR/S

Marietta (Ga.) was the sight of strike-out city for Wildcat fans last year as Kentucky failed to lock up the additions of Richie Rich and Boyd Coleman down the stretch. Not to be deterred, 2005 brought them much better luck, as the Cats locked up near-by Walton High School superstar Michael Strickland.

In Strickland's commitment, the Wildcats aren't just getting arguably one of the top 5 receivers in the Peach state this season, but a guy that has been notably a combine freak, oozing with ability and talent; one in which many believe will lead to a very bright future.

"I've got good vision on the field and I see what most people don't," Michael Strickland said. "I've also got good hands and I love jumping up for the ball. This year on defense I'm just trying to work on not letting myself get beat deep down the field."

Strickland chose Kentucky over Oregon and Miami (Oh.) for many reasons, but one reason which was previously indicated maybe the Wildcats willingness to allow Strickland to play wide receiver.

"I'm being recruited as both a wide receiver and as a DB," Strickland said. "I really like both of the positions and I don't have a preference for one over the other."

The Wildcats have been in contact with Michael since Oregon offered him this past summer. The Strickland family went up to Kentucky for the summer camp scene, which eventually warranted a scholarship from the staff.

According to Michael's father, Kendall, the recruitment job done by coach Phillips and the staff was the reason for Michael's coming to UK.

"Joker has done an absolutely fabulous job of recruiting Michael," the elder Strickland said. "He came to visit Michael in the spring and he watched him play in a real game setting. I think once he saw that, he put the hoof on the horse and went ahead and pulled the trigger on an offer."

With an offer in hand, the 6-foot-1, 190 pound athlete decided to take the five-hour trek to Lexington and meet Coach Brooks in person, prior to the season, as well as on an unofficial visit to Lexington for the UK-UofL game.

"He really loved Coach Brooks," Strickland said. "Not only as a coach, but on a more personal level."

Strickland and his family took in two additional unofficial visits. One for the USC-Oregon game and for the Miami (Oh.) - Bowling Green game. While the Strickland family enjoyed their visits, they were in awe of the overall family setting at Kentucky, as well as the fanbase.

"They really wanna win at Kentucky," Strickland said. "They really support their program and they impressed me with how much they back their team."

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