Ryle High School is a Class 6A, District 5 team which went 8-3 last season, dropping its first round game to Butler 20-14 at home in an upset. Of course that same Butler team would beat Louisville Male the next week for the first time in program history before falling to Saint Xavier in the Regional Finals (State Quarters). Such is the life of big time Kentucky High School football for the teams which play in Kentucky’s largest
classification. The Raiders lost from off of that 8-3 ball club one of Kentucky’s most productive running backs. Jake Chisholm rushed the ball, last season, 269 times and gained 2,315 yards with 33 rushing TDs, personally scoring 210 of the Raiders’ 394 points for the entire season. If you think any of that was easy, you try averaging over 8.6 yards a carry and 3 rushing TDs a game against 6A competition when everyone in the stadium knows it being handed to you. Chisholm was richly rewarded for his efforts with a full ride to Dayton, Ohio to play for the Flyers, who may take up driving with a vehicle like Jake Chisholm on the roster.
What probably got overlooked last season, which is common as the Lord knows we love offense in football, was the play of the Class of 2019 OLB, Jackson Saladin. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, Saladin played offense too. In fact, he was the team’s third leading receiver with 16 grabs for 219 yards and two TD receptions. With the team only throwing for 1,056 yards all season long, Saladin‘s production was nearly 21% of the team’s total aerial accumulation. Where most people see Jackson landing at the next level, as he is being targeted by numerous schools presently from Butler to Murray State to Austin Peay, is on the defensive side of the ball.
The Florence, Kentucky native tallied 107 tackles a season ago with 71 of those tackles being solos. The outside linebacker also registered 15 tackles for loss and 7 quarterback sacks. Jackson is listed at 6-0 and 190 pounds which is really more strong safety size, but he has the frame to get to about 210, if the weight is added the right way, and at 6-0 and 210 pounds, with his nose for the ball, excellent pursuit skills, and good speed and quickness, he would make an outstanding linebacker at the OVC level or higher.
All too often football fans become so obsessed with a player’s measureables that we forget the kid has to be able to play the game of football. I really believe fans obsess over measurables more so than college coaches at certain levels. Regardless, Saladin’s measurables are within the range of the positions where he projects and there is no question about whether the young man is a football player. Don’t know how in the world Ryle replaces a Jake Chisholm without it significantly affecting the team’s fortunes going forward. I am willing to bet head coach, Mike Engler, probably doesn’t know either; but hey, it’s 6A football and we don’t know there isn’t another Chisholm around just waiting for his chance to shine. For the sake of the Raiders, let’s hope there is. In the meantime, at least they will be right stingy on the other side of the football.
This is Fletcher Long, reporting for KPGFootball reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!
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