KY-TN All-Star Game Must Be Moved

Rodney Paulk might be a name that rings a bell amongst Kentucky recruitniks that follow football recruiting, but if it isn't a name of note to the organizers of the Kentucky - Tennessee All-Star game it should be.

Paulk out of Richland Northeast HS in Columbia (SC), had one scholarship offer from Kentucky before he accepted his invitation to participate in the East-West South Carolina Shrine Game in December.

Weeks later after an MVP type performance, Paulk would receive over 25 offers in a two-week span that followed, which eventually led to his signing with South Carolina over one-time dream school Florida State just two months later on signing day.

What's the moral of the story? Exposure leads to opportunity. Paulk wasn't a combine standout and didn't have the vitals to become a household name on appearence, but what Paulk did have was a non-stop motor, something that was relatively hard to find in the class of defensive ends in 2006.

The exposure received by the annual All-Star appearence in December helped Paulk land himself at his dream school. Could the same had been said about this year's oddly misplaced standouts Sean O'Brien or Quintin Borders?

Or better yet, would it have kept obvious Kentucky attractions Ricky Lumpkin, LaRay Foote or Preston Brown at home?

"I'm a proponent of somehow moving this game to December," Maryville coach George Quarles said publically after the Kentucky-Tennessee All-star game in Chattanooga last Friday. "I wish we'd do it then. They're more in shape, just like North and South Carolina do the Shrine Bowl. I think you'd get more that would play."

Participation was an issue for the Tennessee team this year, as only two Division I scholarship players - Ravenwood's T.C. Jennings (Arkansas State) and Pope John Paul II's Alvin Ingle (Middle Tennessee State) - played in the All-star game. In comparison, Kentucky did not play with arguably two of their higher profile participants Justin Burke (NC State) and Luke Stocker (Tennessee).

Even if December isn't an option, June shouldn't be.

Schools are pressuring their signees to enroll earlier and earlier and the opportunity to get to their respective university and start their courseload has become almost the norm. Since NCAA rules prevent kids from participating in the All-Star game while being enrolled in college, some prospects are therefore unable to play.

Such was the case of Justin Burke, Kentucky's top quarterback prospect and arguably the state's second best player outside of Micah Johnson. Burke, who graduated from Lexington Catholic, enrolled at NC State early and therefore wasn't allowed to attend the All-Star game festivities in June.

By having the game in June, you are preventing individual kids from playing or enrolling in school. Why not give them the option to do both?

Have it in May. Have it in December. Have it indoors, outdoors or on a space-ship. Just don't have it in June.

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