Friday, July 2, 2010

Sorting it all out MLB

UK goes into the 2010 season with several question marks in a few spots. One of those key spots is at the MLB position. For the last several years, Micah Johnson has manned the middle of the defense with a death grip.

This year, Kentucky finds itself in the midst of transition at the position. Ronnie Sneed returns as the player with the most on field experience and has been the main back up to Johnson, but when training camp starts, he will be pushed hard by several players. To this point, Sneed has had minimal impact on the field, but he now has the opportunity to show the faithful that he is indeed the man for the position.

The 2010 recruiting class brought in some players who will push Sneed hard. Among those who are thought to have a chance to stake a claim to the starting MLB position are Qua Huzzie, Avery Williamson, and Jewell Ratliff. Each of these players bring tenacity and play making ability to the program and to the position, yet each has a major concern entering the season.

Qua Huzzie (recruiting class of '09) was called the best linebacker ever to come through LaGrange HS in Georgia which is a pretty big claim. Huzzie is considered undersized yet would hit a freight train with reckless abandonment. His greatest assets going into the season are that he has been here for a full year, and should know the playbook better than the other 2 players who will be pushing Sneed. The major concern regarding Qua is that he is recovering from a major shoulder surgery, so the concern would be, "is he healthy?". At this point, Qua is probably considered as the most likely to either unseat Ronnie or to be the primary backup for him. As a minimum, Huzzie will be a special teams demon.

Avery Williamson is a true freshman at UK this fall. Like Huzzie and Ratliff, he too would hit a freight train and beg for more. Avery's greatest assets for the position are his size and strength (the staff has already told him that he was as strong as the players on the team) which should make him a contender for the position as well. The greatest concern for Avery would be the fact that he may not know the playbook as well as Qua.

Jewell Ratliff is basically he same player as Williamson only a slightly smaller version. Also, like Avery the question swirling around him would be about how well he knows the play book. Even with that, do not count Jewell out of the race.

Seriously, this will be one of the more contested position battles for playing time for the 2010 season. Kentucky has great talent and depth at the position, but the position lacks experience and field time. Sneed may start the season, but he will be pushed hard and if he drops, Ronnie may never see serious playing time ever again.

The talent at MLB is young and the future is bright for the 2011 class UK, still UK has hopes for Lamar Dawson to commit (class of 2011) and for Blake Terry (out of Texas) who has already verballed. Either way, depth, talent, and playmaking ability will make this position one of the deeper positions for the next several years.

(Photo is of Ronnie Sneed)

1 comment:

  1. Can some of these players be moved to
    outside linebacker spots?