The Colonels score another ‘huge get’ for its ’21 class with more looking poised to join…
It started in-state with the pledge of Breathitt County’s, William Long, a fixture along the offensive and defensive fronts over a storied career as a high school football player. Long, someone who has made 44-consecutive varsity starts in a high school career in both 4A (25-starts at Hopkinsville) and 2A (19-starts at Breathitt), made it official on a recent on-campus visit.
This past Thursday, the Colonels from Danville, Kentucky struck gold a second time. The Colonels collected a commitment from one of Kentucky’s highest respected and decorated offensive linemen in 6-5, 320-pound, Johnathan Blackburn from Paintsville, Kentucky. Blackburn is long enough to play at tackle in college and athletic and powerful enough to play inside too, should that be where Centre would like to deploy him.
Like Long, Blackburn has been a four-year fixture along the line of scrimmage for one of the 1A classification’s marquee programs. Like Long, he sported division-one interest and offers. Like Long, he has been decorated with numerous All-State distinctions over the course of his career.
This weekend, the Colonels, manifesting for all to see its willingness to “throw its hat in the ring,” regardless of which schools may also be in hot pursuit, had (arguably) Kentucky’s very best high-school linebacker on a campus visit. Austin Gough also has numerous division-one offers, has been a fixture on post-season All-State football teams for years, and is a player who has piqued interest from many other division-one suitors, both from the FBS to the FCS.
People wonder, how can this be? How is this happening? Prospects like these are hardly “overlooked.”
There can be no valid argument here to the contrary but Austin Gough, Johnathan Blackburn, and William Long are ALL marquee players in their graduating class. They are all three, all-state caliber players. They are all three among the “definitive players” at their respective positions playing high school football today in the commonwealth of Kentucky.
By the way, Centre offered Gough soon after he got out of the car for his on-campus visit. Centre could care less who else has thrown its hat in the ring for Gough’s services.
Centre College doesn’t intend, nor does it expect, to take a back-seat to any program. The success it is enjoying on the recruiting trail presently is a genuine reflection of this reality.
We’ve talked to Austin Gough as he was traveling back to Owensboro from the Centre visit. We talked with his parents.
All of the Goughs couldn’t stop raving about being impressed with Coach Frye and the staff. They were equally impressed with the pitch. They were very impressed with Centre, its academics, its campus, and its facilities. Well, what did you expect?
We received a curious phone call yesterday. The caller wanted to know why all these talented and sought after prospects, pursued by “bigger programs,” are being spurned in favor of the NCAA, Division III program securely fixed among the nation’s most elite, all-time liberal arts colleges? Our answer was, “You’re kidding, right?”
The answer seems rather obvious. The fact the question is even asked seems rather short-sighted.
Centre College needs no defense. Someone availing himself of an opportunity to attend Centre College, play football for Coach Frye and his staff, and, thereby, become among its esteemed raft of alumni are all options any Kentucky football player would find thrilling. Jumping on such an opportunity to experience Centre College, and all a degree from there represents, is something we don’t believe needs defending.
What is the point of attending college? Isn’t it to get set up with the skills, connections, and the where-with-all to succeed in life after college? Which college in the commonwealth of Kentucky provides a superior opportunity to achieve these all-important goals any better than Kentucky’s Centre College?
Go ahead, you may say it aloud. We already know; and so do you.
It’s called “Student-Athlete.” There may be schools with bigger stadiums, but are there schools, in Kentucky, with better all-around situations for setting up its graduates with successful and fulfilling lives? In our minds, the second of the two questions is the actual sixty-four dollar inquiry, if you will pardon the pun.
It isn’t exactly like Centre College doesn’t know a thing or two about playing college football successfully. Centre has quite the football history.
The 1921 Praying Colonels went 10-1 and 5-0 in the SIAA and own one of college football’s most storied upsets. The ’21 Colonels, also called The Wonder Team, defeated Harvard 6-0 for an upset considered one of the most daunting in history. Centre’s winning that game is still considered one of a trio of upsets which signaled the changing competitive balance of power in the sport.
Centre has done well in recent years. The Colonels were 5-5 in 2019 but the five years prior to the 2019 season, beginning with the Fall of 2014, the Colonels were 10-2 (2014), 9-1 (2015), 8-2 (2016), 8-2 (2017), and 10-1 (2018) respectively. One has to go all the way back to 2004 to find a season in which the Colonels fielded a football team finishing under .500.
Centre College ranks in the U.S. News top-50 national liberal arts college. It also boasts a ranking as a Forbes top-15 college/university in the South, seven years in a row, and is included in Colleges That Change Lives.
That is the rub, wouldn’t you agree? Even where you are a football star, the goal is to go to a college or university able to change your life and for the better.
For some people, the goal maybe to become a professional football player. Few FBS, power-five, football players realize the fulfillment of that dream. Even for those who do, there will be a day when the fans stop cheering and the player’s body has run out of plays.
When that day comes, one has to be prepared. That is the day one learns the value, or relative lack, of the sheep-skin on which his degree has been printed.
Choosing schools like Centre College to gain both a degree and a college football experience is looking increasingly attractive to some of Kentucky’s most highly recruited prospects. Who can honestly say they blame any of them?
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
If you enjoyed this article and wish to gain full-access to the site, then subscribe monthly to Kentucky Prep Gridiron by following the prompts!
© The information contained on this site is the copyrighted intellectual property of KPGFootball. Any unauthorized dissemination of this material without the author’s express written consent is strictly prohibited!