Almost lost in all the hoopla over Kentucky's talented football recruiting class was one key point that should not be overlooked.
Georgia defensive players Sam Maxwell and Jamaal Jackson re-signed with the Wildcats after being academically ineligible last year. The two players did not go to junior college. They did not go to prep school. Instead, they have worked to improve their academic standing -- and resisted the temptation to maybe play their college football at another school.
"Those two were pretty solid all along with us," said Kentucky recruiting coordinator Ron Caragher. "Our coaches did a good job sticking with them. Even though they did not qualify at the 11th hour with the NCAA (in 2004), we still put our arms around them and told them we wanted them to be part of our program. We told them it didn't work out then, but here is the plan to get you here and it can still work out and now it has."
Caragher says the two will definitely be at Kentucky in August as long as "they continue to do what they have been doing."
That's good news for Kentucky. Maxwell is a 6-3, 225-pound linebacker with tremendous speed and athleticism. He played six positions his final year of high school football and was known for his big hits. Jackson is a 6-4, 220-pound linebacker-defensive end who can run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He only played two years of high school football and undoubtedly will improve a lot more under the coaching he'll receive at Kentucky.
"They most definitely look the part of SEC football players. Now the question will be how quick they can pick up our schemes," Caragher said.
While being away from football a year could hurt them both, Caragher says it could also work the other way.
"Sometimes it makes a player hungrier. They miss football and realize playing football is a privilege," Caragher said. "Playing is not a given thing. They appreciate that and it is almost like they have a second chance they don't want to waste. The kids we have brought in as grayshirts who ended up going around the block to qualify (academically), they have come in and been pretty good. I expect the same thing, and even more, out of these two guys."
Georgia duo headed to Kentucky, again
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