GIDEL: '07 Recruiting and Rumblings

Kentucky's 2006 recruiting class was impressive, but the staff has already made a presence with some bigger known products in 2007 in hopes of continuing their hot pace. With less scholarships to work with, the staff is hot on the trails of some intruiging storylines.

'Kentucky's finest' gets early offer

UK was very quick to pull the trigger on a scholarship offer to Todd Campbell from Franklin High School in Tennessee and with good reason.

The 6-foot-1, 190 pound wide receiver is not only one of the best playmakers in the South, but is coached by former Hopkinsville (Ky.) HS head coach Craig Clayton. Clayton coached current Kentucky Wildcat, Curtis Pulley before taking the job at Franklin.

The ties to Kentucky go further than that. Campbell is from the state of Kentucky, attending Todd Co. Central High School in Elkton his freshmen year.

Campbell jokes that he's "Kentucky's Finest," and contrary to popular belief, is seriously considering the Wildcats despite early scholarship offers from Tennessee, South Carolina, Kansas State and Vanderbilt. He admittingly is a Wildcats fotball fan.

Last year in Clayton's system, the Class 5A All-State caught 35 passes for 810 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Northern Ky playmaker gets offer

Duran Jefferson from Covington (Ky.) Holmes could be the one of the first commitments to the 2007 class. The 6-foot-1, 170 pound athlete is a two-sport star, but shines on the gridiron.

"Duran is very athletic and versatile with great speed," Holmes head coach David Trosper said. "His projection on the college level will be wide receiver/defensive back."

As a junior, Jefferson played quarterback and threw for approximately 1,100 yards while rushing for 700 and five scores. On defense, he had three interceptions. He was named honorable mention all-state and selected to the All-Northern Kentucky Team.

"Duran plays Quarterback for us because of his athleticism," Trosper said. "He has great speed and vision. As a sophomore he played wide receiver and in 6 games he led our team in receptions. He punts for us and had a 40 yard average last year and 5 fakes for first downs.

"I feel that with the training table and weight room access he will receive in college his future is very bright," Trosper added. "He is a game breaker."

2007 Offer Updates

Kentucky has offered five in-state players in Brad Durham, Doug Beaumont, Victor Anderson, Stuart Hines and Duran Jefferson.

Former UK recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips had previously been quoted as saying they've only seen as many as six or seven in-state products that could play at the SEC level. It appears the staff has made it a point to offer those individuals first.

Out of state, UK has again made it a point to offer their top two quarterback targets early. This season, it appears to be Charlie Russell and Nick Fanuzzi.

Fanuzzi's story is intruiging, considering his family background of blue and white. Mike Fanuzzi was a former Wildcat signal caller in the early 1970s, garnering second team All-SEC honors in 1974.

The 6-foot-3, 190 pound quarterback is an almost spitting image of Russell, whose athletic ability coupled with his throwing ability has made him one of the top junior gunslingers.

Will UK offer 4-star QB

One name that has come up alot in the early going is four-star quarterback, Chris Smith from South point (Oh.) HS. Like Russell and Fanuzzi, Smith is mobile and has a nice frame that is above 200 pounds.

Smith will be a three-year varsity starter in '06. Smith threw for 1,500 yards as a sophomore and 1,600 yards as a junior and is waiting on Kentucky to become more active in his recruitment.

"I would love to get recruited by Kentucky," Smith said. "I know coach Sanders very well from when he coached my brother and I'd really like to see them become more active in recruiting me, because I've always wanted to play in the SEC and it being so close to home, I think it would be a perfect fit."

Smith has a very strong arm but he's known for his toughness and his ability to make plays with his feet when the pocket collapses. Chris plays the quarterback position with the mentality of a linebacker.

West Virginia, Marshall and Ohio University have already offered Smith a scholarship. "Tennessee, Maryland, Michigan and Cincinnati have been sending the most hand-written mail." Smith said. "Iowa sends tons of letters also. My favorites are West Virginia, Ohio University, Michigan, Ohio State, Maryland, Georgia and Iowa."

With two offers already out on quarterbacks, it's hard to guage whether UK will offer Smith or not for the upcoming recruiting season.

Paris says he's in

Although recruits are never official until they've stepped onto campus, UK signee Jamil Paris said last night that he's gotten the score he's been needing and will head to UK in the fall.

"I got a 19 on my ACT and a 22 on the math part," Paris was quoted as saying "They said that that means I'm in. I'm in and I will see you in Lexington."

Paris is closing in on his target weight of 220 for the fall, when he arrives to Kentucky. "I dominated at 213," Paris said. "I won't be stopped at 240. They kept putting players on me at Nike and I kept beating them."

Hartline not afraid of Fidler

UK quarterback signee Mike Hartline is not afraid of the fact Will Fidler has enrolled at UK early and will have a spring practice under his belt come the fall.

"Competition is a good thing for everyone, in the program and for me," Hartline said. "That's the way it should be. The best guy should win out in the end and having more competition will just help me develop and push me to get better."

Despite rumors that Hartline had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about the fact he was passed over by Ohio State and Michigan, Hartline responded respectfully in regards to his recruitment.

"We had a bad year," Hartline said. "You know, I think if I had the same team I had my junior year, maybe things would have worked out. I know a lot of people would be envious of the situation I have - going to Kentucky. I am very happy with how things worked out, no matter what and I'm excited about the opportunity ahead."

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