Prospects vs. “Friday Nighters;” Josiah Hope from North Hardin is quite a prospect- @AthleticsNHHS @JosiahHope6 @minguabeefjerky @1776Bank @KyHighFootball @840WHAS

Josiah Hope has been combining on the national circuit and with success

’26 DE/DT already getting ‘Power Five’ offers

Josiah Hope is the top-rated defensive line prospect in Kentucky’s ’26, high school, graduating class. Why? Well the 6’4,” 275-pound frame doesn’t hurt. His superior showings at prestigious, national recruiting combines doesn’t hurt either.

HB Lyon, Scouting Director, KPGFootball

Hudle Profile

Years ago there was a corner among the more recruited prospects in the South, particularly the commonwealth of Kentucky. This guy was a nationally rated, four-star who signed with a major FBS, Power Five program. We don’t get those types in the Bluegrass all too often.

I went through his team’s “official” statistics to see if all the fuss was substantiated by prodigious, on-field production. This guy’s statistics were sparse to say the least.

I called a colleague, in the recruiting game, and asked how a corner who statistically didn’t out perform the two of us (and we were both grown men over 40) by a landslide could be the top prospect in Kentucky? I will never forget his answer.

“Fletcher, it is like this…whenever this guy drew an assignment to cover one of Kentucky’s top WRs, he completely made that player disappear. He was shutting down Kentucky’s top targets and he did this all season.”

In conclusion, and almost as an aside, my colleague finished his dissertation with, “You can’t always judge a prospect, particularly a third-level defender, on Tackles, INTs, or PBUs.” He had made a fair point. I learned plenty from this exchange.

We rely heavily on statistics at KPGFootball. We apportion heavy focus, in many of our feature articles, on statistics.

We aren’t necessarily reporting on prospects. We are glorifying the Friday Night guys. That’s what we do. That’s why we are here.

However, that doesn’t mean we don’t know a prospect when seeing one. To the contrary, the inordinate number of college programs regularly reading and following our site would suggest otherwise.

Josiah Hope is a ’26 guy who…Power Five programs… contend is a major league, off the charts, high ceiling guy.

Friday Night Fletch

Josiah Hope is a ’26 guy who some Power Five programs would contend is a major league, off the charts, high-ceiling guy. First of all, he has tremendous frame and length.

Hope is 6’4,” weighs in at 275-pounds, and has already been offered by UK and EKU, two in-KY, Division-ones; one of which is a Power Five, SEC program (UK) and the other of which is an FCS, Division-one program transitioning (we hear) to the FBS.

That is two prestigious offers for a guy who just finished his sophomore season, playing 6A football, on a team with a 1-10 record carrying forward from the ’23 season. That brings us to production.

Hope made 37-tackles, seven (7) of which were TFLs and three (3) more of which were QB-sacks. Drawing plenty of double teams, being among the foci of every opponents’ scouting report, while still a sophomore and playing in only nine (9) games makes this production formidable.

Hope has demonstrated a twitchy “get-off” and upfield burst which has left tackles mystified in spite of his regularly playing against players at Kentucky’s highest level of competition. Hope has plenty of vertical explosion and power and can use his long arms to engage and shed would be blockers with the “quicks” and speed to close gaps.

Hope has demonstrated a twitchy “get-off” and upfield burst which has left tackles mystified

Friday Night Fletch

The bottom line is this, if you wish to find some HS, 6A DEs or DTs who exceeded Hope’s production and statistical outlay, you won’t have much problem. This guy wasn’t leading the state in any recognizable measure or standard.

Let me share what you may have difficulty finding. You may not find a better athlete competing at his chosen positions in the KHSAA. You may not find anyone with the same size and length who can bend and move like Hope. You may not find anyone who makes college programs drool any more noticeably.

In the end, it is Hope’s measurables, together with his athletic characteristics, which make him recruitable. Without those, Hope’s on-field production means very little to anyone,… but us.

This is Friday Night Fletch, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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About Fletcher Long 1534 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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