Report from the Louisville Combine…

Tennessee vs. Kentucky Future Stars Game

The Louisville Kentucky Future Stars Combine was Sunday at Louisville’s historic Ballard High School.  The stars of Kentucky’s 2021 Class were well represented.  The combine featured players running the forty on what amounted to a shaggy, grass track which doesn’t lend itself, usually, to very fast times; however, there were some fast times notwithstanding the surface and windy conditions.

Austin Gough and LaVell Wright turned in some blistering times with Austin posting a 4.87 and LeVell a 4.91 in the forty on grass and into the wind.  Tray Buckner and Isiah Forrest, both DBs from Hopkinsville, KY posted 4.8’s too but probably one of the more impressive times was Justice Thompson’s 5.0 at 235 pounds.  For the bigs, William Long popped a 5.7 forty, not bad on a windy day on grass for a 250 pounder; not as impressive as Thompson, but Kentucky’s ability to block multiple levels and get out ahead of downfield runs by pulling won’t be a question with OL mobility like that.

During the route sessions Isiah Forrest was brutal against receivers at the point of Jam, and as his forty would indicate, could flip his hips and run with them as well.  Austin Gough and LaVell Wright battled on the tire against each other, and it was a battle indeed, with Austin edging LaVell out, but barely.  No one at the combine was much challenge for Justice Thompson in the tire but, being fair, the OL/DL didn’t participate in that drill.

The OL/DL did match up in some one-on-ones with two players we have before featured, William Long and Evan Embry (Bruise Brother) squaring off in what was a spectacle of power and ferocity.  Evan Embry in OL contact drills really excelled and Long exhibited his ability pretty much everywhere as his agility, speed and power offset his lack of stature.

Among the four Quarterbacks Kentucky Prep Gridiron has to concede the type of combine employed to make Future Star Selections isn’t ideal in judging QB’s.  Everyone has a chance to shine in the absence of pressure.  It is difficult to get much of a read on a QB who hasn’t any need to avoid pressure and absolve a hit while still delivering the ball.  Hopkinsville’s EJ Austin appeared to exhibit the best arm strength and mobility as well as an intangible which all QB’s need, swagger.  All in all, the athletes showed up in Louisville while the Bigs who were there were mostly from solid to a couple spectacular, but more big guys are expected at the Lexington Try-out this Saturday.  All in all, Kentucky is well on its way to fashioning a fine team to defend its victory over Tennessee in the 8th grade game from last year.


About Fletcher Long 1468 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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