Elijah Sindelar is one of 3 Quarterbacks in the state currently ranked 4* or higher.
For years, people have talked about Kentucky being the biggest hindrance to the University of Kentucky having a good football team.
“The talent level in the state just isn’t high enough to sustain an elite SEC program.”
And for years, they would be right. Generally speaking, in any given year, you may only have 5 SEC level recruits, if that. Usually UK would have to offer some under-the-radar Louisville kids and hope they turned out well, and go all in for talents like Shaun Alexander and Lamar Dawson, only to watch them head out of state on National Signing Day.
Those days are coming to an end. The talent level at the high school ranks is on the rise.
Last year may have been the best example of that. Kentucky had 3 4* or higher players, including Jason Hatcher and James Quick who both ended up at Kentucky schools, and played for the same high school team. Hunter Bivin was a 4* OL who went to Notre Dame. On top of that, there were 6 3* ranked players, all of which signed BCS scholarship offers. Even Logan Woodside, a 2* kid, signed with a D-1 program (Toledo).
This season, you see more of the same. Kentucky starts the rankings out strong, with a Rivals Top 100 player in Drew Barker, and a future one in Matt Elam, who is ranked as the #10 player in the country according to 247 Sports. Kentucky has also got a commitment already from Adrian Middleton, who is a 3* player out of Bowling Green, and two other players in the state, Reggie Bonnafon and Lloyd Tubman are certainly BCS quality. Filling out the top 10, Robert Jones and Austin Davis are both 3* kids with BCS potential. The #9 player in the state of Kentucky, a kicker, is currently committed to Ohio State. This is all coming off a season that may have been one of the best for the state.
There’s no slowing up in 2015, either. The state of Kentucky currently has 5 players with a 4* Composite ranking according to 247 Sports, starting with Michigan commit Damien Harris, and including Reese Ryan, Elijah Sindelar, Emmitt Smith, and Eli Brown. Having that many highly regarded BCS prospects in the state of Kentucky for a single year is almost unheard of. Yes, some of those guys are already committed elsewhere, but I don’t think Kentucky is done trying to change their minds just yet.
Still, there’s not enough depth in the state to compare to Georgia or Ohio, but the point is that the talent in the state is getting better. Kentucky can move forward building the foundation for their recruiting classes in the state of Kentucky, and filling the class with their new home state, Ohio, and filling the rest out of various parts of the South.
Part of the reason for the change has been the change of culture in the Western parts of the state. Both Bowling Green and Louisville have become breeding grounds for talent. The Bowling Green area alone could feature up to 10 D-1 prospects from the 2014 and 2015 classes this year. Louisville is still Louisville, and always has some of the top talent in the state. Lexington has taken a step back in recent years, but still boasts several of the top schools in the state, and once Lexington gets back up to what Bowling Green and Louisville are doing, you could see a state with as many as 20 legitimate D-1 players in any given year. That will certainly go a long way in helping Kentucky compete in the SEC, when they can pull that kind of talent from their own backyard.
No matter how you look at it, the talent in the state of Kentucky is rising, and with it, so will the University of Kentucky (and Louisville, for that matter).
Go Big Blue!