June 17, 2017 in Clarksville, Tennessee, the Future Stars Classic will be played at Fortera Stadium on the campus of APSU. For both the State of Tennessee and the Commonwealth of Kentucky the best 2021 football players will be matched one against the other. Every member of both rosters are special players as they would have not been selected otherwise. However, the editorial staff at Kentucky Prep Gridiron has chosen to focus on 4 talents in the Commonwealth who appear to have separated themselves from the rest of the All-State, All-Star selections for Kentucky.
- Austin Gough, (pictured above) LB/RB, Owensboro, Kentucky, 6’2″ 190 pounds…Gough is a multi-sport athlete who excels at football, baseball, basketball and track & field. His athleticism is just ridiculous. The State Middle School Javelin Champion, who also excels at Triple-Jump, throws the disc and throws the shot-put nearly 44 feet. He has been timed at 4.75, hand-timed on grass, in the 40 yard dash and bench presses the high school rep weight of 185, 13 times, and squats nearly 350 pounds. Austin was selected for the High-Rollers All-American Game in Las Vegas, though he opted not to play, but he did play this year in the Bret Cooper Junior All-American Game in Dallas, Texas, where he rushed for approximately 150 yards from scrimmage as a RB and excelled on Defense from his OLB position. This is, without question, the best OLB in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and in the top three RB’s. Austin is also arguably the best football player in the Commonwealth, and if not, he may be the best pure athlete. Austin has it all; strength, explosiveness, speed and agility.
- Justice Thompson, (pictured above) Louisville, Kentucky, MLB/DE, 6’1″ 240 pounds…I have coached at two national Middle-School, All-American Games and, let me assure you, the only reason Justice Thompson wouldn’t be an All-American is the selection committees of the various games didn’t know about him. Justice either hasn’t been combining enough for them to see him or THEY HAVE LOST THEIR COLLECTIVE MINDS. He is at least as good, and in many instances, better than most of the All-American LBs who have played on any team I have coached. Justice is a multiple selection to Kentucky’s very prestigious FBU team. Justice bench presses over two plates (225 pounds) and cleans nearly 200 pounds. While I don’t know how much he dead lifts or squats, it is clear to Kentucky Prep Gridiron, based purely on his build, that Justice is strong as Hell and is no stranger to his High School’s Strength & Conditioning program. Though this is his first sojourn into Future Stars, that is just because he didn’t tryout last year and not because he wasn’t Future Star material. Thompson is built like a brick, crap-house and turned in a blazing 5.0 forty on grass, into the wind, at the Louisville Future Stars’ Combine. You just don’t see 8th grade, rising 9th grade kids who are his size and build but yet run like he does. The scary part is he has plenty of “dog” in him too. Bad news for Tennessee ball carriers. Justice Thompson, like all four of these featured players, could lay convincing claim to being the best football player in the 2021 class in the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky.
- LaVell Wright, (pictured above) Elizabethtown, Kentucky, OLB/RB, 6’1″ 185 pounds…LaVell is a 2X Future Stars’ selection, a 2X FBU selection, and an FBU All-American selection. Should anyone wonder about his reported 4.8, hand-timed, forty yard dash consider this…it has been reported LaVell Dead-lifts over 400 pounds. LaVell and I have gone “round and round” about this but I see him as a receiver/safety going forward mostly because his length is such that I can easily see him adding 3-5 more inches of height to his already tall stature and because he combines speed, quickness in space and verticality with soft, nimble hands. Nevertheless, he is outstanding at both RB and OLB right now and has a combination of strength, explosion and speed which makes him easily within the four best players in Kentucky’s 2021 class, if he isn’t the very best; and he may be.
- William Long, (pictured above) Hopkinsville, Kentucky, OL/DL/MLB, 5’10” 250 pounds…I am aware, as a member of the editorial board of Kentucky Prep Gridiron, there may be pressure on the other guys to include my son. Daddy Ball is distasteful and I refuse to promote my son should he not be worthy of the promotion. If you can find me another National POY, 2X All-American (High-Roller, Bret Cooper), 3X Future Star selection (having made the team as a 6th grader in Tennessee and then last year and this year for Kentucky), JJ Watt Award winner for outstanding Defender in the All-American Game (Bret Cooper, where he played MLB) who has been featured in national articles published by both Youth 1 and 4.0 Sports Media, the latter of which included him in its National Top 100 for the 2021 class, and who bench presses approximately 300 pounds (12 reps @ 225; 7 reps @ 255 and a max press of 285 where he racked it with no problem) and squats 405 with all of the before mentioned lifts documented on video, I will be happy to take William off the list and include your player. The problem is…there isn’t another one…at least not in Kentucky. I have no idea whether William is the best 8th grade football player in Kentucky; though that very thing has been said by knowledgable people who aren’t his father. Austin Gough, Justice Thompson, LaVell Wright, Isaac Dimmock (who is nationally ranked prospect and a member of the National Team for U.S. Football) or even Bryce Yates (who is rated No. 4 nationally in a recently released Top 100, 2021 ranking service) could all make that claim and convincingly. What I do know is William makes every team for which he plays better, is a leader, is freakishly strong and powerful, while surprisingly fast, agile and athletic and is in the discussion for the best player in the Commonwealth. What I feel sums up William best is a Coach from a very prestigious FCS school was over at my house visiting recently with William and me. I asked him if he thought William would get any taller, as William is self-conscious about being short, and his response was, “Goodness, I hope not.” Thinking that curious, I asked him why he responded that way and he said, “For every inch William gets over 6 feet, my chances of getting him to my school decreases. My best shot is for his growth to stunt, though looking at your father and you, I realize that isn’t very likely.”
Like I said before, the rosters for both Tennessee and Kentucky contain middle school players who are both special talents and anatomical freaks. This game is quite a showcase and will completely bedazzle and amaze many who watch it. It is very difficult to believe you are watching middle schoolers and many of these 2021 participants will be High School Starters next year wherever they attend and they will all, most certainly, be Varsity Letter-winners. The four players above detailed aren’t just among the best we have in Kentucky, they represent the best in the 2021 class anywhere in America; or, at least, we at Kentucky Prep Gridiron feel so.
Remember ballers…PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!