One of the commonwealth’s most decorated football players, and the leading tackler in Owensboro High’s History, transfers from UK to Centre…
Praying Colonels land Big Fish from Portal
Austin Gough, a highly decorated high school player from the ’21 graduating class was offered by numerous D-1, FCS programs out of high school. Gough, who started his career at UK, has elected to continue his academic and athletic careers down the road at Centre College. Centre has been ‘red hot’ on the recruiting trail and has become a ‘destination school’ for many of the Bluegrass’s top-level football talent. The investment Centre both has and is making in its athletic facilities tends to greatly impact recruiting. Landing Gough is a ‘get’ of seismic proportion for any in-state college football program. This signature hits the Kentucky college football world…right, dead, Centre!Fletcher W. Long, KPGFootball’s Senior Scout
Austin Gough accepted a “PWO (preferred walk-on)” to the University of Kentucky a couple years ago. Since arriving in Lexington, Kentucky in the summer of ’21, the Owensboro native has convinced myriad onlookers he is capable of contributing at the FBS, Power-5 level.
Gough has the size. Lots of Power-5 linebackers are in the 6’0,” 220-pound range.
Gough has the strength. Gough reps the college “rep-weight” of 225-pounds on the bench press an impressive 21-times and squats 500-pounds for three (3)-repetitions.
Gough has the speed. Gough clicks off the 40-yard dash in 4.68-seconds and shuttles in 4.3-seconds.
Gough has the explosion. Gough is a 300-plus pound power cleaner and boasts a standing broad jump of close to 10-feet with a vertical leap of 34-inches.
Gough has the playing pedigree. Allow us to state our case under the “pedigree” portion of this article.
After making the Freshman All-State football team in ’17, Gough made the AP’s All-State football teams in ’18, ’19, and ’20. Gough left Owensboro (Sr.) High its all-time leader in tackles (413-stops). Gough missed 13-career games to either injury (lost nine (9)-games in ’19 to injury) or a nationally declared pandemic shortened schedule (season was shortened four (4)-games in ’20).
Gough helped lead the Red Devils to the 5A title game in ’20. Gough was the team’s Defensive MVP in the championship game.
Gough had the 3rd most tackles ever recorded in one season in ’18 (as a sophomore) and had the 6th-highest tackle output in a single season in ’20, in only 11-games.
That is the case for playing pedigree. Hard to argue against it, n’est pas?
Gough was one of Kentucky’s most sought after prospects in its ’21 class. Gough boasted (out of high school) offers to SIU (Southern Illinois), Austin Peay, and SEMO (Southeast Missouri), among others, before spurning the FCS, Division-1 level to focus his efforts on the SEC (Southeastern Conference) and the University of Kentucky.
Attempting to get on the field as a “walk-on,” even the “preferred” type, is a difficult proposition. In the end, Gough felt very strongly he had a lot of football left to play. He has elected to play that football at Kentucky’s hottest small-college program.
In Centre College, Gough is getting a program not on the rise but one which is “already there.” The Colonels are coming off an 8-2 season, a play or two from being an at-large NCAA selection. Centre College yearly competes at the top of the SAA (South Athletic Association) and is one of the winningest football programs at its level of play.
The Colonels return a bevy of starters from off its ’21 team. They will compete for the SAA title in ’22 with or without Gough. Make no mistake, the Colonels would much prefer “with.” With players like Gough, a conference championship is considerably more attainable.
In Gough, the Colonels are getting quite a pick-up. Gough is an athlete with the brains to flourish under intense, ivy-league-like, academic rigor while still permitting the Colonels to plug in a 2nd-level defensive piece which moves, hits, jumps, and runs like an SEC-level football player at best and a solid FCS, Division-1 player at worst.
KPGFootball was able to catch up with a somewhat breathless and very excited, big-time addition in Austin Gough and the newest Colonel was pleased to provide us some enlightening commentary. Gough told us, “I am thrilled to be joining the Centre football program and can’t wait for August 9th and the opening of camp.”
Gough continued, “I am looking forward to reuniting with some long-standing friends and former Team Kentucky teammates which makes this move seem even more appropriate. Make no mistake, however; I am transferring to Centre College to help the Colonels compete for championships.”
We talked with the director of Future Stars Football in Kentucky, Ricco Hughes, who had Gough as a multiple-year member of Kentucky’s most influential and talented team. The team’s Director, who has cleverly branded Kentucky Future Stars both far and wide with #Brotherhood, had the following to say about his former protégé. “Austin Gough is everything you would want in a student athlete. Gough is an exceptional athlete, person, and football player that will exceed all expectations both on and off the field!”
This is huge news for the Colonel faithful on the eve of the ’22 season. Provided Gough can get quickly indoctrinated into the Colonel-defensive system, we believe this is a player who could see significant playing time sooner rather than later. We believe linebacker play is a defensive need Gough hits for the Colonels, right dead-Centre.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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