Okay, this article is being written primarily about Ryle’s outstanding DE, Wilson Pendleton (’21). However, it could easily apply to any number of prime-timers from across the commonwealth of Kentucky.
Slippery Rock, one of the top football programs in NCAA Division II, and a team which would run a great number of FCS schools plumb off the field, announced it was not taking a signing class at all in 2021. We have heard through our contacts there are FBS, Mid-Majors contemplating similar announcements. The University of Memphis’s football program announced it wasn’t signing but 10 ’21s.
For one, the NCAA is going to let seniors come back and play another year if they wish because of the pandemic. Also, the NCAA has announced players can transfer from one school to another free of penalty, again because of the global health crisis. Some of these transfers are arriving with multiple years of eligibility remaining.
So, if you are a college coach, do you want to sign a kid who might help you in the future, or take a transfer or welcome back a senior who will help you immediately? We may not know your answer, or argument, but multiple levels of football competition have spoken quite loudly about its preference.
Big-time Kentucky recruits are “pulling the trigger,” especially where the college program boasts a prestigious academic curriculum to go along with the competitive advantages. We reached out to Wilson Pendleton from Ryle High School, a recent winner of the Mingua Beef Jerky Protein-packed performer of the Week, and interviewed him about a visit he had recently taken to Georgetown College.
Pendleton told KPGFootball, “I am up to 235-pounds presently and I am being recruited primarily as a DE. My bench is up to 290, my power clean is 305, and my squat is 470.”
“I have visited Georgetown, with plans to see Hanover College and Kentucky Wesleyan,” the defensive standout told us. “I really enjoyed my Georgetown visit and could see myself there. I plan on committing next weekend (January 23rd).”
We asked Pendleton what were his primary recruiting “concerns.” He told KPGFootball, “Primarily, it will come down to my connection with the coaches and my being able to continue to play on the defensive side of the football. My wanting to study economics, and the school’s academic reputation in that discipline is a key component.”
Schools like Georgetown are far from the only ones “cleaning up.” Centre College, which keeps its recruiting pretty tight-lipped much of the time, just struck a huge hit in gaining the commitment of Louisville Trinity High School’s, Evan Elder, a hard-charging, ball-hawking linebacker.
Elder can best be described as a 6-0, 220-pound, 2nd-level missile. Evan is coming off quite a season. Elder was one of Trinity’s statistical leaders in several key categories along the second-level of what many “experts” have termed the finest Kentucky High School defensive unit to ever walk on a KHSAA gridiron.
We weren’t able to get up with Elder for an interview. What we do know is Centre College has an early signee and between 22 to 25, 2021-commitments with tremendous buzz and excitement around the football program which opens its 2021 season on the road at Berry College February 6.
Looking around the commonwealth there are still some huge gets yet to get. If there was ever a year where a smaller school could stockpile some bone fide, Division I, football talent and skill sets; this would appear to be the opportunity. there are teams across Kentucky looking like they intend to do just that very thing.
One prospect out of Owensboro, Kentucky is a guy on whom we have our eyes fixed. Austin Gough, who we have as KPGFootball’s top LB in the ’21 class, has been active out on the trail. He has offers from several FCS-types, Southern Illinois has been thought to be the leader with him.
However, one thing to keep in mind going forward. Austin Gough is a “Straight A” student. He is a guy who has options open to him, because of his academic prowess, run-of-the-mill prospects don’t enjoy. Gough, like both Pendleton and Elder, is quite the physical specimen.
At 6-1, 210-pounds, Gough boasts a bench press of 325, a squat of 425, and has repped 225-pounds, 17-times. Gough runs the 40-yard dash in the mid-to-high 4.6s consistently with a 32-inch vertical.
Gough led Owensboro with 112-tackles this season, including quite a performance against Bowling Green in the 5A-title game (15-tackles). Gough leaves the Owensboro program having made numerous All-State football teams and one of the program’s all-time leading tacklers and lost 9-games his junior season to injury. Had he not…
So there is a phenomena occurring around Kentucky. The Division-I kids who would ordinarily be headed to FCS, or even FBS-programs in any other year, are finding both options and opportunities, in-Kentucky, much more appealing. The simple fact of the matter is, these prestigious academic institutions with top-flight football programs have a lot to offer any prospect, particularly during these uncertain times.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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