Vaught on Sam Simpson: Part 2 of 5

Many thought Simpson would commit early to Kentucky, especially since UK assistant coach Chuck Smith played at Kentucky with his father. However, the Henry Clay senior waited almost until his final season started to pick the Wildcats.

Many thought Simpson would commit early to Kentucky, especially since UK assistant coach Chuck Smith played at Kentucky with his father. However, the Henry Clay senior waited almost until his final season started to pick the Wildcats.

"He could have made the decision 15 months ago but it would have been for the wrong reason. Just going somewhere because it is close to home is not the right reason. Because they been to bowl games two years in a row is not reason. I wanted him to go out and take the risks of exposing himself to other schools and then from there see how does Kentucky compare," his father said. "If Kentucky was the best, then go to Kentucky. He can now stand up in front of group and say he is going to Kentucky and be happy because he did compare.

"He sat in all the coaches' office and asked questions. He ask (Rich) Brooks if he be there if he came. He asked questions of the coaches at Alabama. He ask the coaches at Tennessee and Vanderbilt things."

The player and father both appreciated the way Smith approached recruiting. He didn't play on his friendship with the family or ask for any special treatment or favors.

"Back when Henry Clay first played Boyle County (when Smith was head coach and my brother was playing against them in 2003 is probably the first time I met him. Dad told me then they were teammates at Kentucky, but I never dreamed he would one day be recruiting me," said the Henry Clay standout. "But Dad is friends with so many coaches and welcomes them all in. He just happened to have an ongoing relationship with coach Smith. But Dad stayed neutral on the recruiting."

The Henry Clay coach says his son knew how much he respected Smith.

"I think my son has always had a very high opinion of him. When we battled him head to head, and I think Chuck won every game, he knew how much respect I had for him. When Check went to Kentucky, I asked him if I could bring my staff to talk to him about defensive philosophy. He is an outstanding coach and a very passionate person. He makes you get after it and I think Samuel did pick up on that," Sam Simpson said.

"But our friendship did not cloud or impact Chuck's attitude about my son. He introduced himself to Samuel early on and saw what he wanted to see and what other people saw. I don't think I could pay Chuck a greater compliment as a coach. He always called a spade a spade. I don't think there was any friendship connection that greased the tracks so Samuel could get in or anything like that.

"To me, Chuck is a very loyal Kentucky person and wants to see Kentucky succeed. I don't think you can get a better guy to do what he is doing. He's a great coach, he's passionate, he did the right things to get hired at Kentucky and he's still doing the right things."


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