The Best of the Bluegrass

The talent within the state of Kentucky, which is highlighted by a deep pool of offensive linemen, has once again made it difficult to select which in-state prospects should make our preseason top 25 list. After watching many in-state athletes perform at the combine in late May, plus watching countless videos, our initial Best of the Bluegrass has finally come together.

With the spring evaluation period now a thing of the past and with the camp season well underway, debuts it's preseason state of Kentucky prospect rankings.

We've poured through player video, spoken with numerous high school coaches and observed many of the state's best at the All-American combine. We were on hand taking notes at University of Louisville's QB/WR and lineman camps, as well at the Cardinals annual 7-on-7 passing tournament. Toss in the many games personally attended last fall and we've seen much of what the Bluegrass State has to offer for the class of 2007.

In recent years, the city of Louisville has dominated the top spot in the rankings with athletes such as Brian Brohm, Michael Bush and Earl Heyman, so after a one-year hiccup, the honor returns to the River City as Male High School's Doug Beaumont gets the preseason nod over Victor Anderson, Chase Dumphord, Stuart Hines and Brad Durham.

#1  Doug Beaumont
Louisville Male
Wide Receiver

Male High School head coach Bob Redman isn't going too far out on a limb by describing his senior standout as Michael Bush in a smaller body. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Beaumont, who currently holds scholarship offers from Louisville and Kentucky, is ranked among the nation's top 30 receivers and is a four-star prospect by

St.X running back Vic Anderson
#2   Victor Anderson
St. Xavier
Running Back

Great explosion, excellent vision and deceptive strength have made the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Anderson one of the top running back prospects in the region, as evidenced by being named to the All-Combine 1st Team following the Louisville outing in late May. The Midwest Hot 100 selection verbally committed to West Virginia over early offers from Kentucky, Louisville and Tennessee.

#3  Chase Dumphord
Offensive Line

At 6-foot-5, 300-pounds, Paris High School's Chase Dumphord has the raw athletic ability and quick feet which has quickly made him one of the more sought-after prospects in the state. Dumphord, who currently holds scholarship offers from Auburn, Cincinnati, Kentucky and Louisville, was selected to the Midwest Hot 100 team.

#4  Stuart Hines
Bowling Green
Offensive Line

An All-Region, All-District and All-State performer as a junior, Hines has picked up scholarship offers from Baylor, Kentucky, Marshall, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and West Virginia. Louisville and Tennessee are also expressing an interest in the 6-foot-5, 275-pound lineman.

#5  Brad Durham
Rockcastle County
Offensive Line

Yet another member of a deep pool of in-state offensive lineman prospects, Durham, who measures in at 6-foot-5, 300-pounds, is still learning the position and has plenty of upside. The All-Combine choice has seen Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville and Purdue extend scholarship invitations.

#6  Chase Minnifield
Lexington Henry Clay
Defensive Back

Minnifield recorded 5 interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown as a junior. The 1st Team All-City performer also notched over 20 receptions and totaled 18 touchdowns in 2005. Virginia received his early pledge, while Louisville, Illinois, Stanford, Michigan and Kentucky also extended scholarship offers.

#7  Billy Joe Murphy
Monroe County
Offensive Line

Another in a large collection of offensive line, Billy Joe Murphy picked up quick scholarship offers from Kentucky, Louisville and Vanderbilt. At 6-foot-7, 265-pounds, the Monroe County product can easily be molded into an imposing and dominant offensive tackle.

Bell County's Brent Slusher's
stock has been on the rise
#8  Brent Slusher
Bell County
Tight End

Projected as either a tight end or linebacker on the college level, Bell County's Brent Slusher upped his stock by performing well at a number of combines and camps this spring. He pulled in 14 receptions for 353 yards and 5 touchdowns from the tight end position his junior year, while at linebacker he came just short of establishing a new school record for total tackles with 102 solo stops. Cincinnati, Marshall, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest are the early offers for Slusher.

#9  Zach Kiernan
Newport Central Catholic
Defensive Line

At 6-foot-6, 240-pounds, Newport Central Catholic's Zach Keirnan has the size to play on either side of the line on the college level. Louisville was the first to offer and have since been joined by Cincinnati and Kentucky.

#10  Steffphon Pettigrew
Wide Receiver

Despite joining the Elizabethtown football squad for the first time as a junior, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Pettigrew appeared comfortable in pads pulling in 28 receptions for 363 yards and 7 touchdowns in only seven games. Also one of the state's top basketball prospects, Pettigrew may choose hoops over gridiron, but he has the potential to become an impact player should he choose football.

#11  Wes Caldwell
Lexington Catholic
Wide Receiver

As a junior, Caldwell helped guide Lexington Catholic to a state championship by hauling in 64 catches for 1,191 yards and 21 touchdowns. A number of schools are expressing interest in the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder, with Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State and Troy having extended scholarship offers.

#12  Rodney Haddix
Scott County
Wide Receiver

At 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, Scott County wide receiver Rodney Haddix has the physical tools to become a top flight wideout on the college level. Haddix pulled in 38 receptions for 598 yards and 8 touchdowns last fall and was named as a member of the Class 4A juniors All-State team. Also an All-State basketball player, Haddix is drawing interest from Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee and others.

#13  Paul Millay
Owensboro Catholic
Offensive Line

With offers already in hand from Kentucky and Troy, Owensboro Catholic offensive lineman Paul Millay is expected to be one of the most watched seniors this fall. At 6-foot-4, 285-pounds, Millay has the agility to play anywhere on the line and others such as Auburn, Louisville, Michigan State and Vanderbilt are keeping tabs on how he progresses throughout his final year of prep ball.

#14  Keith Tandy
Christian County

A pure athlete that is capable of playing a number of positions, Tandy set a number of school records at quarterback as a junior. He threw for 3,284 yards and 31 touchdowns. Tandy received early scholarship offers from Middle Tennessee and West Virginia, while a host of others have him on their must-watch list for this fall.

#15  Kaelin Ammons
Franklin County

As a junior Ammons led his Franklin County team in passing and rushing yards, earning honorable mention All-State honors. The QB/S prospect, who also excels at baseball and basketball, threw for 3,355 yards and 41 touchdowns, while also rushing for 836 yards and 15 additional scores. A number of in-state programs, including both Louisville and Kentucky, are among those interested in the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder.

Central defensive lineman Joe Scott
#16  Joe Scott
Louisville Central
Defensive Line

At 6-foot-1, 265-pounds Scott will anchor the always tough Central defensive line this fall. Scott posted impressive testing numbers and performed well during the All-American combine in Louisville, earning 2nd Team All-Combine honors. Scott has plenty of schools keeping tabs on him and he will only see that list increase as more become aware of impressive strength and quickness.

#17  James Shephard
Christian County
Offensive Line

The talented offensive lineman just keep coming. At 6-foot-6, 310-pounds, Christian County's James Shephard has a number of colleges in the region taking a long look. Purdue has already extended a scholarship offer, while others, including both Kentucky and Louisville are showing considerable interest.

#18  Sam Webb
Louisville Male
Offensive Line

In a class full of talented offensive lineman, Male's Sam Webb is often overlooked by in-state observers, but the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder is no secret to many outside state borders. Webb recently camped at Auburn and is drawing heavy interest from the likes of Boston College, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and Purdue. Still somewhat raw at the position, Webb has plenty of upside and should expect a number of scholarship offers to come his way during his senior year.

#19  Justin Collins
Louisville Western
Running Back

Leading rusher in Jefferson County despite missing two games as a junior. He rushed for 1,926 yards and 23 touchdowns, while also pulling in 662 receiving yards and an additional 11 scores. He averaged a staggering 14.1 yards per carry. Collins, who recently claimed three gold medals at the state track champsionships, improved his stock during the spring by having strong outings at both the All-American combine and Louisville Senior Day. Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville are among the schools showing interest.

Boyle County LB/TE Josh Miller
#20  Josh Miller
Boyle County
Linebacker/Tight End

As a junior Miller totaled 86 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions and a forced fumble from the outside linebacker position, while also recording 942 yards and 11 touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder attended junior days at Louisville, Kentucky and Tennessee and all three, plus others such as Auburn and Boston College, will continue to evaluate Miller throughout his senior season.

#21  Duran Jefferson
Covington Holmes

While Jefferson earned honorable mention All-State and All-Northern Kentucky honors for his play behind center as a junior, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound athlete projects as either a receiver or cornerback on the next level. Last fall he threw for nearly 1,100 yards, while also rushing for an additional 700 yards and five touchdowns. Kentucky has extended a scholarship offer.

#22  Nick Petrino

As a junior Petrino led Trinity to the Class 4A finals, where he helped the Shamrocks defeat rival St.X for the state crown. Despite his 5-foot-10, 180-pound frame, Petrino is arguablely the state's most effective quarterback, completing over 60% of his pass attempts as a junior. He excelled at the All-American combine and had one of the best arms at U of L's QB/WR camp. Eastern Kentucky, Nevada, Richmond and Southern Miss are among the schools expressing an interest.

#23  Avery Hibbitt
Bowling Green
Running Back

Rushed for 1,433 yards and 28 touchdowns in 13 games, averaging 9.7 yards per carry. Also the team's leading receiver, pulling in 14 catches for 319 yards and 5 touchdowns. His 16.4 points per game average was 5th best in the state. Western Kentucky has extended the 5-foot-10, 175-pound back a scholarship offer, while many others will keep tabs on him throughout his senior campaign.

#24  Tucker Jackson
Bowling Green

At 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, Bowling Green linebacker Tucker Jackson received an early scholarship offer from Western Kentucky and saw coaches from Baylor, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State and Tennessee visit his school this spring. Jackson, who projects as a lineman on the collegiate level, totaled over 120 tackles as a junior.

#25  Wayne Stevens
Bath County
Running Back

One of the state's most productive running backs is on the move. Wayne Stevens, who finished second in the state with 1,810 yards as a junior at Class 3A Rowan County will suit at Bath County for his final year of prep ball. As a sophomore he led the state with 2,025 yards. A number of smaller in-state schools are expressing an interest in Stevens, while Cincinnati, Louisville and others are keeping in touch.

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