We were talking with one of our agents from around the commonwealth. We had shared some highlights with him.
We wanted him to turn around an evaluation of a linebacker from Ohio. We weren’t asking him to watch entire games which we sometime request, just watch his four (4) or so minutes of highlights.
This linebacker was a heat-seeking missile of a down-hiller. We didn’t have anything different from his reported height of 5-10 and reported weight of 215-pounds. Our scout sent us back the following in a matter of moments: “He plays good, solid football; knows his assignments; if you run in his gap, watch out!”
It was obvious to us this kid was a “college player.” We would have gladly taken him on any Friday night, playing against any team (regardless of classification) in a New York minute.
This kid was from the Cincinnati area. He would have been a top 5 MLB in Kentucky’s ’21 class had he been a Kentuckian. Ohio was as impressed with this MLB, judging from his post-season accolades, as we.
Then we started talking about what a meat market recruiting has evolved into since we were in school decades and decades ago. By the time the coaches, these days, put down the tape measure; everyone of these experts has forgotten to discover whether the kid they are scouting can actually play football.
Our agent asked me over the phone, “Coach, did you ever, in the day, go on a date with someone purely because of how that person looked? Have you ever gotten roughly mid-way through an entrée only to learn there was nothing about your date, other than looks, you even liked?”
“Many times,” I told him.
“That’s what recruiting has become,” he responded. “It’s a ‘Miss America Pageant’ where the only event is the swimsuit competition. Instead of the four points of the crown representing style, service, scholarship, and success; there’s just the one point for looks great in swim-wear.”
I knew what he meant. I have discussed it many times around the magazine. I am not so sure I had ever before made the point quite so well as he just had; but I had taken several stabs at it.
Kaylor Decker won’t win the swimsuit competition amongst college football prospects. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t wear the crown.
Decker would be the first to concede he doesn’t strike the most imposing stature among Kentucky QBs in his graduating class. His Twitter account suggests he has a certain self-awareness about that reality. However, Decker would also point out his “bag of tricks” is brimming with intangibles the sum of which still leads his team to success on the playing field.
There was something else on his Twitter page we found more interesting than his measurements which weren’t listed there. We found a saying which scratched KPGFootball right where we’ve been itching.
What was that saying? “If it were about size, the elephant would be the king of the jungle, not the lion.”
We don’t know from where Decker got this phrase. We do know it was a favorite saying of Rickson Gracie, of Portuguese extraction, but a 9th-degree red belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
Like Decker, Gracie is 5’10.” Gracie, like Decker, has never let his lack of size stop him from achieving his goals in either Jiu-Jitsu or mixed martial arts. Gracie retired undefeated from a short career in mixed martial arts, having won all 11- of his matches by submission.
Decker, a self-described “hardworking kid with a team first mentality” to whom the “…only numbers which matter…[were] wins and losses,” has embodied that attitude both fully and well. He has led his Cougars to a 5-3 record in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Decker returns in ’21 for another tour with a team he hopes to lead to even greater heights.
Grayson County is a Class 5A, 1st-district team which has to contend with Owensboro (Senior) High and Graves County yearly. They will have to do it in ’21 without its leading rusher from 2020, Cadan Woodcock. Woodcock last season had 213-carries, 1107-yards, and 15-rushing TDs.
The cupboard isn’t completely barren. Decker will get his favorite target back for his senior season. Hunter Tomes, the leading receiver in 2020, is also returning.
Every army needs a field general to accomplish its goals. Who better to fill that role than the plucky signal-caller brimming with moxie and cleverness sporting a 4.06 GPA and a 28 on the ACT? We can’t think of anyone either.
This is HB Lyon reporting for Kentucky Prep Gridiron reminding you that WE’RE JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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