DEMAREE: UK recruiting presence in Louisville

Often when a dog is down, he gets kicked in the head. And he often fails to get credit for his positive accomplishments. Because the University of Louisville is winning with a couple of Louisville's most decorated stars, there's a illusion that they have been dominating the Jefferson county recruiting. That illusion is not accurate.

Recruiting pundits will tell you that for a school like the University of Kentucky playing in a conference like the SEC, good evaluating is paramount in program building. As U of L gains more prominence a higher premium is put on evaluating in a state such as Kentucky, which has a limited recruiting base. For the last two years, Kentucky has put approximately 30 players in Dl schools. There are always a few mid-major signees that make a mark worthy of major Dl recognition.

So, let's give credit where credits due to Rich Brooks and his staff for excellent evaluations. Aside from such name high school stars from Louisville on UK's roster as Corey Peters, Justin Jeffries, and Maurice Granter, let's talk about some lesser name players coming out of Louisville that U of L ignored.

At the head of the class is Keenan Burton from Louisville Manual. Coming out of high school, Burton was a quarterback whose passing game did not put fear into many defenses. Like so many high schools, he was the best athlete on the team playing quarterback. The University of Kentucky's Joker Phillips, who last year was recognized nationally as one of the top ten recruiters in the country, converted Burton into a wide receiver, where he is destined for the next level.

Next is Myron Pryor, a big defensive lineman from Louisville Eastern High School. His overall strength was never in question. Between Pryor's junior and senior year, we observed him at a high school combine held at Ballard High School. One the events within the combine is the bench press. The total weight of the bar including plates is 185-pounds. We observed Pryor lift the weight up 30 times. The formula used to calculate a one time max out puts that lift at 395-pounds. He was already the state record holder for the dead lift in the high school weight lifting competition. A few weeks prior to that event, playing fullback at 295-pounds, he was the leading rusher in his school's spring game. Pryor is well on his way to becoming a star at UK.

Next there's running back Alfonso Smith from Louisville Waggener. The high school stats were there but speed kills. In Smith's senior year, he won the state championship in the 100-meter dash. We interviewed him after his championship dash in which, he exhibited no lack of confidence in what he could accomplish at UK as a running back. A run he had against the Florida Gators showed the speed to run with the big dogs. In his first extended action of the season Saturday at Mississippi State, in a Starkville restaurant after the game, some Bulldog faithful were talking about Smith's speed and asking, who is that guy?

Football afficionados will tell you the hardest position to play early in college is the offensive line. Garry Williams, a Louisville Seneca product, as a true sophomore is getting his baptism under fire. He is the starting left-tackle that protects the backside of quarterback Andre Woodson. U of L ignored him and their loss was UK's gain because those kinds of players are a rare commodity in the state of Kentucky. Fellow UK offensive lineman Trai Williams said Williams is the most athletic lineman on the offensive side of the ball. So, as Williams gains size, strength, and most importantly experience, he has a bright future at UK. His exposure in the Florida game is invaluable.

Every staff makes mistakes, Louisville's included, but for now let's give UK credit for capitalizing on U of L's mistakes.

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