Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2009 Recruiting Class Impact Players Part 1

In this installment, we look at the Recruiting class of 2009. This particular class looks to have the most players in the 2 deep depth chart for the 2010 season which will ultimately make the team better in the long run, but there will be issues as far as inexperience and growing pains for the 2010 season. In part #1, we will look at the players which had an impact/field time for the 2009 season.


DeQuin Evans: Defensive End. DeQuin came into a Division I, major college program with only 3 years of football and was the 2nd best D-lineman on the team. He had 6.5 sacks and 12.5 TFL, not bad for someone who is still learning the game. DeQuin returns for his senior season and will look to position himself for the 2011 NFL Draft. Barring injury, he should really become a dominant player for the Wildcats this year.

Larry Warford: Offensive Guard. Larry came in as an overweight O-lineman that was naturally strong. He played extremely well as a freshman and looks to be the anchor at ORG for the next 3 years. At the spring game, it looked like he had dropped 30 lbs (from about 350 or so) and was beginning to resculpt his body into a Division I SEC Football player. The sky is the limit.

LaRod King: Wide Receiver. LaRod came into the season as a long rangy player that many suspected would redshirt. At the end of camp, King was on the team and actually made several key catches at critical moments of the season. It was interesting in that he and Morgan Newton seemed to be able to read each other’s minds at times, which was very encouraging.

Chris Matthews: Wide Receiver. Chris and DeQuin were teammates at Harbor College in California and came to UK to continue their careers. While Matthews did seem to lack concentration at times and drop a few catchable balls, he also caught some at critical moments and had a pretty good campaign for the ’09 season. He is probably the best WR at down field blocking and returns this year in hopes of cementing a career which leads to the NFL.

Martavius Neloms: Cornerback. Neloms came into the program as an unheralded CB from Memphis TN. He received tons of playing time and even made a few important plays in the season. He returns this year after a so-so offseason and must really get serious. It seems as though that Cartier Rice had a better offseason than him, yet both will probably be invaluable to the 2010 edition of the CATS. If he continues to work hard, he will be ok. He looks to probably be a #2 for this season, but he will get better given that he has been in the program for a year at this point in his career.

Mark Crawford: Defensive Tackle. Mark came into the program as an unknown commodity to most UK fans from a JUCO in Kansas. At times, Mark looked good, at other times, he seemed out of place. One thing is for sure, he has now been in the program for over a year, and while vertically challenged at 6’ 1”, he will be an important part of the D-line rotation for the next 2 years. His game should be vastly improved this year, and he might even start, if things work out right.

Ridge Wilson: Outside Linebacker. Ridge came to UK highly heralded as a home town product which was expected to make an impact. After a tough season, in which Ridge failed to distinguish himself, he did have a pretty good Spring Game where he was in on several tackles. Ridge plays the SLB position which is in drastic need of a playmaker, if Wilson can demonstrate even average ability on the field, he might actually start this year.

Donald Russell: Donald is a very important running back to this class. He had marginal impact for his freshman year, but will most certainly be the #2 RB for the 2010 season for the Wildcats. Donald had a good Spring Game running with power and speed. Since he now has a better grasp of the offense, it would be difficult for anyone to unseat him at the position.

Morgan Newton: Morgan came in as a freshman and led Kentucky to its 4th consecutive bowl game which is a 1st in school history. Morgan has caught a lot of flack over his play in 2009, but let’s remember that he was a true freshman thrown into the SEC fire and his lack of knowledge in regards to the playbook and the speed of the game really hurt his production (I know for a fact that he was not happy with his play). Most fans were expecting to see more positive play from him during the Spring Game; however, the O-line really put him and the other QBs in a crunch due to the fact that they had limited time playing together and all of the QBs were almost running for their lives (the UK Staff admitted as such). Morgan will be a better player this year, again, due to the experience gained in the 2009 season, and spring practices.

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