Minton is the second huge "get" for Brooks

Coach Rich Brooks and his Kentucky staff recently received a commitment from Scout.com's #1 defensive end Micah Johnson, a five star player from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The Kentucky staff hasn't stopped at one highly ranked Bluegrass defender. This week the staff secured a commitment from four star defensive tackle Josh Minton, of Somerset Kentucky. KSR recently caught up with Minton and discussed the recruiting process that led him to choose to become a Wildcat.

Micah Johnson was a huge get for Rich Brooks in the 2006 football recruiting class for Kentucky. There is no question that getting Johnson was the number one priority this year. Give the coaching staff credit for knowing what to do, from starting Micah's brother on the offensive line last season, to courting Micah's other brother, Nathaniel, with a chance to walk on soon from the junior college level. And the talent UK is getting in Johnson, despite warnings from some rankings "gurus", is immediate impact type of talent. One player I had the chance to meet last summer, and get to know a little, was linebacker Josh Minton from Southwestern High School in Somerset. Minton held his press conference on Wednesday and let everybody know he would be a Wildcat. If Micah Johnson was priority one for Brooks, then Minton was 1A.

After struggling with a back and forth decision all fall, between Kentucky and Virginia Tech, Minton said it came down to who he cheered for in his heart. "I think it really came down to the priority of me getting to go to a school that I have rooted for my entire life and make a difference. That really sold me."

It was close between the two schools in the end, Minton would not say just how close. "They both offered, they both had the field of study that I plan to major in, which is sociology, and I think both universities are going to excel in that department, to give me the best education. Of course, Virginia Tech is a great team. They have been to a bowl game (every year) since 1993, and you just can't compete with that. I really couldn't make an assumption on how close it was, but I could say that it was back and forth throughout my whole recruiting process. It's been hard because I've had relationships with both guys that recruited me, Coach (Charley) Wiles of Virginia Tech and Coach (Chuck) Smith of Kentucky. And it just came down to how I was going to be able to adapt."

Minton was very close to other players in the recruiting class Kentucky is assembling. "I think the relationship" said Minton, "I've had with some of the recruits…other than Micah (Johnson, the Ft. Campbell star who committed to Kentucky last week), everyone asks me about that, but other than Micah, I've had relationships with guys like Chris Cessna and Will Fidler, and I just wanted those guys to be my teammates, because we could do something with this program."

The close relationship between Minton and Johnson developed over the past few months and was widely publicized. But when Johnson made his commitment public, Minton said Micah was low-key about it. "You know, he never really put any pressure on me. He told me what he was going to do, and said that UK was going to need me. It wasn't just Micah, though, that convinced me to come. It was the university, in general."

The Johnson commitment caught Minton a bit off-guard. "I would definitely say it did. He is a great player and a great guy, in general. I could just see him being my teammate, as well as all the other UK football commits."

Next up for Minton is a spring and summer filled with weight training and conditioning. His goal is to be ready, just in case the coaches tell him to get in there. "What I really want to accomplish is getting SEC strength," said Minton. "I think I can always get stronger and faster. I need to gain some weight. I would like to report in at about 255 (pounds), just so I can compete with the extremely athletic guys in the SEC, in case I were to be called upon my first year. I will always say that I want to be the guy who contributes next year, and if I have the chance to play then I will take it. But I will trust the coaching decisions. If they think I should sit out a year, or if I'm only going to play ten plays a game, I'm going to trust their decision and respect it, too."

Speaking of the coaches, Micah Johnson raised a few eyebrows when he said publicly that he would not have picked Kentucky if Coach Brooks and his staff had not been brought back for another year. What about Minton? Does he share that sentiment? "I think about that, and I'm not sure it would have had as much of an impact on me as it would have some of the guys. I still think that Kentucky is Kentucky. Coach Brooks staying was a big plus. I think what this program has lacked was stability. With Coach Brooks staying, it gets stability. But, I would still have given UK a hard look if he were there or if he were not there."

Minton told me that he picked Kentucky from a handful of schools that he really, seriously considered. Virginia Tech, Florida, Wake Forest, Clemson, and Alabama were in the running.

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