TAYLOR: UK Recruiting the Boundaries

When it comes to recruiting within its own boundaries, the University of Kentucky football coaching staff has held its own over the past five years, despite probation and just one winning season since the new millennium. The Wildcats have fared well in getting the upper tier players in the state, with this year's class featuring Will Fidler and Corey Peters, and heralded freshman Micah Johnson.

Although the Cats narrowly missed out on getting Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm three years ago, Brooks and his staff have been able to get such players as Andre Woodson and Curtis Pulley, both of whom are competing for the starting spot at quarterback.

The fact that both players are battling for the starting job speaks will for the Bluegrass. To go along with Johnson, Kentucky also snagged Chris Cessna and Paul Warford from other Division I programs throughout the region.

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said he doesn't know of the caliber of players in the state are any better than the past five years, but has always been impressed with Kentucky's crop of talent since he became coach of the Wildcats four years ago.

"I don't know that (the caliber of players) is better than it was a year or two years ago, because I think it's been pretty good since I've been here, in the state of Kentucky," Brooks said during the team's Media Day festivities last week at Commonwealth Stadium.

In the same sentence, Brooks mentioned Warford as one of the better freshman players in this year's crop. Warford, a former standout at neighboring Madison Central High School in Richmond, came to campus in the shadow of players such as Johnson and Peters.

Since arriving a few miles up the road to Lexington, Brooks has been impressed.

"I'll tell you," he said with a serious tone. "Not much has been said about Paul Warford and he's a really good football player."

Despite being able to compete with Louisville and other high-caliber programs in the battle for the upper echelon of players in the state, Brooks said as long he is coach, he will place an emphasis on the best talent the state has to offer and will work restlessly to get the best players in the state.

"We have been able to get most of the guys we want in the state," Brooks said. "We're never going to be happy until we get them and that probably means I'll never be happy." Brooks added that talent in the state has been enough to go around since he's been coach at the school.

"It's a situation where the last two or three years where high school football has been very, very good and unfortunately we haven't gotten them all," he said. "We're going to have to line up against some of them when we play Louisville. But it's good high school football."

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