Mom helped Kentucky land Mike Hartline

Had it not been for Ohio QB Mike Hartline's mother encouraging him to take an unofficial visit to Kentucky last summer he might now be Big 10 bound. Hartline came to the Bluegrass, checked out the top rate facilities and found a team on the upswing. Kentucky linebacker coach Chuck Smith was tenacious in his recruitment of Hartline, and helped lure him away from Wisconsin, Michigan State and Illinois, all of the Big 10.

Two unlikely sources deserve a lot of credit for Kentucky getting a commitment from talented Canton, Ohio, quarterback Mike Hartline last week.

It was Hartline's mother who persuaded him to take an unofficial visit to Kentucky last summer when he really had no intentions of making the trip. Once he got to Lexington, he was reassured not only that he was UK's No. 1 quarterback target, but that UK's facilities really were as good as he had heard.

"She told me I needed to see what they had to offer (at Kentucky). I was not totally open to the idea, but I went and really liked what I saw," Hartline said. "After that, they kept their interest in me alive."

That's because UK linebacker coach Chuck Smith was persistent in his recruitment of Hartline even though it was no secret he wanted to play in the Big Ten. He had scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Michigan State and Illinois. His older brother is also a freshman on Ohio State's football team.

"Coach Smith was just there to help me and keep me interested to get me to Lexington. He was interested in what I thought. He was very open minded and made it easy to believe what he was saying," Hartline said.

While Hartline didn't base his decision on who else UK had recruited, he was impressed with the number of quality commitments the Cats already have this year to go with their talented players already on campus. Plus, he also liked what quarterback coach Kurt Roper told him about the offense and his ability to fit in quickly at Kentucky.

"We mostly run a spread offense. Kentucky runs some shotgun. They do more things like you see in the NFL with two tight ends and two backs one time and then five wide receivers the next play. Learning those multiple formations will make the jump to the next level (NFL) easier," Hartline said.

Hartline's high school coach, Jack Rose, says he's confident coach Rich Brooks and his staff will turn the Kentucky program around and that Hartline can help do that.

"They've got to give coach Brooks time to develop the program. He was short on scholarships. In that league, that's a big problem. You better have all your bullets to compete in the SEC. Mike understood that and believes in where the program is going," Rose said.


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