Can Private Schools in neighboring states help themselves to our Kentucky Talent?

Jordan Steele, formerly at New Harlan Middle, just finished his freshman year at Pace Academy in Atlanta, Georgia

So you have a big time middle school football player, or maybe a very accomplished and promising freshman player, and you think the future couldn’t be brighter for your high school program. I mean, after all, they live in your zone, why should you bother with being nice to them? They’re locked up for the next three to four years anyway. They’re stuck with you. They have two choices, basically, they can play for you or not play football at all, right? Wrong! I wonder how many of you know that our immediate neighbors to the south, Tennessee, has Division II, private school football which permits them, not only, to provide tuition assistance but, in some cases, employment for a player’s parent or guardian provided, of course, the parent is sufficiently qualified. You might should read this: We have seen this anomaly before, haven’t we Harlan County.

Jordan Steele, in Kentucky no more

Who here is familiar with New Harlan Middle School? New Harlan had a 6’2″ 260 pound 8th grade lineman who helped lead them to a Division III, Middle School State Football Championship, in 2016. Jordan Steele was a Team Kentucky FBU fixture as well as a former Team Kentucky Future Star and made both the East Bay All-American Team and the FBU All-American Team as a middle schooler. Things were certainly rosy for Harlan County High School. The Pace Academy in Atlanta, Georgia swooped in and offered Jordan Steele the opportunity to play his prep football in Georgia’s largest city and, in the words of Lee Corso, the famous former coach and football analyst employed by ESPN, [n]ot so fast my friends [at Harlan County High School]! Your superstar just moved to Georgia. Oh well, Harlan county’s loss was Georgia’s considerable gain. Who can argue the Harlan county community can afford the Steele family the same advantages and opportunity as Atlanta, Georgia?


Kentucky has done its share of poaching sister-state talent in football too. In three notable instances Kentucky High Schools have greatly benefited from superstar talent existing within easy reach of a certain Kentucky High School’s tentacles.  Justice Dingle played for Oakland High School in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, before moving and attending Bowling Green High School in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Both Rondale Moore and Stephen Herron, Jr., started as freshmen for New Albany in Indiana before finding their collaborative ways to Trinity High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Newly minted Mr. Football, Rondale Moore, was initially deemed ineligible immediately following his transfer, by the KHSAA, during his Junior season up until the State Playoffs’ second round. In four games, Moore caught 20 passes for 464 yards and 9 TDs. Moore committed initially to Texas before re-negging and pleadging to become a Boilermaker in last week’s Army All-American Game. I predicted on this site, in an article published June 29, 2017, that Moore would be the Trinity Program’s 5th Mr. Football Award recipient. Here’s the link to that article, see if I didn’t Of course, as I before indicated, Moore didn’t come alone to Trinity as Stephen Herron Jr., joined Moore in the southernly trek from Indiana to Kentucky. Herron, who many believe to be the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s top prospect in the 2019 class and whom has committed to Michigan, holds committable offers to Stanford, Texas, and Ohio State, among others. Both Rondale Moore and Stephen Herron Jr. started as freshmen at New Albany in spite of that school playing Indiana, Class 6A football. Bet no one at New Albany saw that migration coming.

We live in an increasingly migrant society and there are numerous opportunities that affords. Owing to the internet and the instant publicity and avenues of publication it permits, people, especially in my field, can pretty much do the same job they are doing now from anywhere. There are almost limitless possibilities and opportunities for players like Steele, Dingle, Moore, Herron, et al., to use the enormous ability with which they have been endowed and the attributes they have, through tireless industry, developed. They decide to ply their skills to the benefit of any football program, at any school, they choose. In today’s world, it doesn’t have to be the school down the street. Maybe the high school down the street should be tasked with developing programs, football or otherwise, which demonstrate why it should be the local high school, and not some high school somewhere else, which affords the student-athlete better opportunity to realize his goals and dreams. It’s not like these players are devoid of choices.

This is Fletcher Long, reporting for Kentucky Prep Gridiron, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!


About Fletcher Long 1532 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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