LaGrange's Bailey, Burden big-time players

While defensive end D.J. Stafford was the big-name signee out of LaGrange, Ga., that the Wildcats added to their football team last month, LaGrange coach Steve Pardue thinks UK's other two signees — Mychal Bailey and Randall Burden — also have solid credentials.

"Bailey is really an explosive player," Pardue said about the 6-0, 185-pound defensive back. "He played Will linebacker for us, the same position Trey Blackmon (of Auburn) played here. We blitzed him a whole lot because he is a big-play guy. He also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns. He is probably going to be a safety in college. You never know how much he might grow. He is so athletic. He is really fast. He is faster than (UK senior linebacker) Wesley (Woodyard). He's just not quite as tall and big as Wesley, but he's a hitter. He is a little quieter than Wesley.

"The big deal with him will be him changing positions a little bit. Physically, he can play. He has all the tools. You could see him be a special teams player and be an impact player that way next year. If you talk to anyone about LaGrange football, they hopefully will tell you we are great on defense and great in the kicking game. We make such a big deal out of it here and a lot of our big hits are on special teams. That's why our guys don't mind playing special teams in college."

Burden is a 6-2, 170-pound defensive back that Pardue thinks has plenty of potential, too. "He is not as physically developed as those other two guys (Bailey and Stafford). He is a tall, slender kid with really good ball skills. He's not afraid to hit, but he does not have as much to bring yet. He didn't play football until the 10th grade. He was always a basketball player. But he just got better and better," Pardue said.

Pardue still remembers when former UK receiver Quentin McCord was at LaGrange and didn't play football until he was a sophomore because he was always a basketball player. Kentucky fans know how well the switch to football worked for McCord. "Randall could play either side of the ball. We played him at safety and a little bit at receiver. He would have been our best receiver if we had played him there. We put a priority on defense. (Kentucky receiver) DeMoreo (Ford) was the exception. He could have play corner. But Randall is a player."

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