With the Combines now complete, what KPGFootball knows or, at least, thinks it knows…

We have been to Bowling Green, to Louisville, to Mason County, and then back to Louisville, and we have seen the very best the Bluegrass has to offer in the classes of 2022, 2023, and a smattering of hopeful 2024s most of whom are a year away from factoring. Here’s what we know and I am going to try to break it down by the position groups and players whom stood out. This isn’t meant to be a forecast of whom is going to make the team, and some of these players might not. After all, I really don’t get a vote; but the players I am featuring here impressed a lot of onlookers and me personally and would make the team if I had a vote. I will begin with the offensive standouts and then seamlessly transition to defensive stand-outs. I am telling you right now that not all position groups will be featured and there may be some positions where I have nothing to report in the 2023 class. That just means that was information about which either I wasn’t informed or workouts I wasn’t fortunate enough to take-in at the combine I did attend (Bowling Green). Hey, I can’t be everywhere. Anyway, this is what I did see and some of which I was told and most of what we, at KPGFootball, either know or think we know.

Quarterbacks…

Class of 2022…

He is now being referenced across the Commonwealth of Kentucky as the tall kid from Hopkinsville. Well his name is TreVon Jefferson and I would suggest learning it. He’s 6-4 and weighs 165 pounds and ran a 5.24, 40 yard dash on poor footing in Bowling Green. A QB coach and friend of mine said after the BG combine…Truthfully, I thought he was the best football player at the combine, regardless of position. Jefferson stood out at QB, WR, and FS. I could see him making the team at any, or all three, of the listed positions. TreyVon showed off a strong arm and made all the short, intermediate, and deep throws expected from top-level QBs. His deep tosses, down-field, were well placed and seemed effortless. He is the best QB prospect in Kentucky’s 2022 class. No way, in my estimation, he doesn’t make this team.

Preston Agee came and competed at both the Louisville and Mason County combines and made quite an impression. One onlooker said Agee looked as good or better than he did in Louisville throwing the ball and showcasing his mobility and ability to throw, accurately, while rolling out to either side. Preston is a known commodity and, we believe, will be one of the quarterbacks selected for the 2022s. Agee is more of a dual-threat, than Jefferson, as Agee was clocked at 4.9 in the forty and shuttled in 4.52.

Class of 2023…

Bertrand Kiwaba was the best of the QBs at the Bowling Green combine in his class. He also could make the team as a corner. For a seventh grade kid, Kiwaba has elite athleticism for his position.

Cole Hodge is a 6th grader who might pull off something incredibly hard to do. He just might make the Kentucky Future Stars team at QB as a 6th grader. Cole attended the make-up tryout in Louisville at Ballard High School and looked strong. Now it should be noted that Hodge was having to throw a high school, regulation football and not the Middle School ball the 7th graders use during the 7th grade game. Can’t say this didn’t negatively impact his throwing to a degree. He is still a fantastic prospect and we think he slips on the roster.

Running backs…

Class of 2022…

JaWaun Northington, widely considered the best RB 2022 has in Louisville, if not the entire commonwealth, is also the top middle school athlete in Kentucky in two outdoor track events, one in-door sprint, and one field event.  Northington is ranked number one in the commonwealth in both the 100 & 200 meter sprints in outdoor, is the in-door State Champion at 55 meters, and, in the field portion of track & field is the returning State Champion in the shot put. Northington, at the Louisville combine, ran a 4.75 second forty, and at 5-10, 175, that is a big back with plenty of separation speed. He is a Team Kentucky FBU player who was on Kentucky’s 7th grade Future Stars team a year ago. It is completely befuddling that more ink hasn’t been spilt detailing the athletic exploits of what amounts to Kentucky’s best RB in the 2022 class. Oh well, I guess I should be glad of that. If other outlets properly covered football in the commonwealth of Kentucky, you probably would have no need for us.

DeShaun Hamilton, made the make-up combine and ran a 4.7 second, 40 yard dash, and also shuttled at 4.6 seconds. Hamilton was on last year’s team and was a star then. He plays at Highland Middle School and at the make-up combine at Ballard, last night, I am told Hamilton and the top receiver in the 2022 class, Vinny Anthony, worked against each other in the one on one portion. From what I hear, it was quite the show. Hamilton is one of the premier athletes in the Commonwealth and plays DB in addition to RB.

Xavier Brown, from Lexington, Kentucky and a key cog for the LCA Middle School State Champion D-3 football team was someone at the northern Kentucky combine who shone at three positions, one of which was RB. Brown, the son of a coach, measured 5-9 and 160 pounds and demonstrated he could make the squad at RB, WR, and even at Safety. Xavier, also exhibiting speed (especially for an 8th grader), clocked a 4.89 forty.

Class of 2023…

North Pulaski’s Korbyn Goff ran a near 5-flat forty on the soggy turf in Glasgow, Kentucky. Goff’s 5 flat was really impressive considering he is a seventh grader who is big and solid enough to double as both a LB and FB (versatility). Goff could give the 7th graders a big back with speed to pound away at the Tennessee Defense or he could make the team as a LB, who knows?

Linemen…

I have lumped this group together because this group is the position about which I know the least. right off the bat, some of these guys could be deployed on either side of the ball. Here are some of the linemen who stood out to me.

Class of 2022…

The two guys I have pictured to the immediate left of this paragraph were the class of the respective lines of scrimmage. Both of these guys played with good leverage, and violent hands, quick-burst get off (for linemen their age), and both had good and active feet. They battled each other all day so I decided it would only be fitting to picture them together. On the left is the King of the Mountains from Belfry, Kentucky, Jacoby Thornsbury, 5-10, 270 pound DT, who doubles as an OT, and to his left is Bret Cooper Junior, All-American OG, William Hughes from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Hughes, like Thornbury, is a two-way player as he also plays DT back home. William is 5-10 and weighs 260 pounds. His 260 pounds are packed on a wide frame which can hold considerably more weight in the future. Hughes looks lighter than he is, which denotes his carrying a lot of dense muscle fiber on his body. William Hughes, among the linemen in the 250 plus pound class, was the quickest, most fluid moving, and fastest Jumbo player at the combine. Between the two, Thornsbury is probably a more polished D-lineman with a larger repertoire of moves and Hughes looked to be a better and more polished O-lineman. Now, Hughes is considerably faster than Jacoby, but each of them has way more quick-twitch than you would expect from middle school bigs. Hughes, as polished an offensive guard as Thornsbury is at DT, showed as impressive of ability to drop and intercept pass rush as he showed getting his studs in the ground and driving opponents off the line. I believe both of these guys get roster spots.

I also liked Bowling Green’s Bridger Knee. Knee didn’t have the jaw dropping size of Thornsbury, Hughes, and Burke, but he certainly isn’t small at 5-11 and weighing around 195 pounds. Knee told me he, also, played on both sides of the ball back home, doubling as a DE and an OG. Bridger has a slight frame and looks lighter than he is. Knee has nice length and looks to be, somewhat, of a late bloomer, physically. I have no problem believing he still has significant growing left to do. Oh well, my mother is fond of saying the rose which blooms last often blooms longest. Check back on this kid in a couple years and see how he develops. My guess is one will be very impressed with his physical development.

Class of 2023…

In the class of 2023 a kid I would make sure to have on the roster is center, Matt Alex Ladd, from Trigg County, Kentucky. Ladd is 5-11 and weighs 250 pounds, and though only a seventh grader, squats in the neighborhood of 300 pounds. This means he has good core strength and can sink his hips and transition out of his stance in the blocking game in both a seamless and fluid manner. Now, this is my fourth year of experience with the Tennessee-Kentucky Future Stars Classic and my second year to cover it. It seems, every year, Kentucky gets to camp, wanting to run Spread out of the pistol, and no one thought to insure there was a player on the roster proficient at a shot-gun snap. Nothing interrupts offensive flow like yack-king the damn snap over the QB’s head. As important as the QB-Center exchange is, it would certainly be nice if we would think to include, on the roster, at least one kid who has performed a snap, before the big game, in live action. Just saying…

Wide Receivers…

Class of 2022…

Have to start with the top of the class in Kentucky and that is Vinny Anthony (picture attached as the featured shot for the article). Vinny is 5-11 and 160 pounds of smooth, coordinated, and fast. Vinny was clocked at Ballard, last night, at 4.8 seconds in the 40 yard dash and 4.6 in the pro agility shuttle. Anthony is a veteran on the big stage too having played for multiple Team Kentuckies. Anthony and Hamilton went back and forth competing against the other in the one on one portion of the tryout. As the turnout was small, and they were the only two attendees with the speed and athleticism to check the other, they naturally were forced to compete against the other throughout. The show of speed, agility, and athleticism was described to me as a battle between Lipizzaner stallions.

Frankie Knight from LCA tried out in Mason County, Kentucky and the WR/DB, who stars on his track team and recently clocked an 11.9, laser timed, 100 meter at Tate’s Creek High School just a little over a week ago, fully exhibited his blazing speed clocking the fastest 40 at any of the Combines at 4.68. Hard to not put speed like that on a roster for any 8th grade all-star team. Not sure where you put the next two athletes, but both Devan Anderson and Clayton Williams, in the Class of 2022, ran 5 second, flat, forties in Bowling Green in standing water and muck. One would have to think they make the team with that type of speed with the potential to help in a variety of ways offensively and defensively.

Linebackers…

This is a position where Kentucky, especially in the 2022 class appears exceptionally well manned with both size and speed.

This year’s Justice Thompson (last year’s defensive player of the game for Kentucky at MLB) is Selah Brown. Believe it or not, he’s a bigger kid than Thompson. Justice Thompson made our AFI-KPG All State football team this year as a freshman and also made the first team MaxPreps Freshman All-American football team. Selah, who was at the make-up combine but didn’t officially tryout owing to his not being cleared from injury yet, is 6’2 and weighs a solid 245 lbs. Brown, from Louisville, played at a middle school which has stocked Kentucky teams with a lot of previous talent in Barrett Traditional and has competed for Team Kentucky previously. Brown was on the Team Kentucky’s FBU team this past year, leading them in plays made on the defensive side of the ball. He is best described as a monster. Brown is set to be cleared shortly from injury reserve and, should he be healthy, there just may be a roster spot for him. Selah has plenty of speed for 245 and has before run close to Thompson’s high 4.9’s to 5 flat in previously timed forties.

The top outside linebacker in the commonwealth of Kentucky, in this writer’s opinion, is Will Darragh from Oldham County, Kentucky. Will tried out at the Louisville combine and has been timed as fast as 4.72 on turf, inside. The 6-0, 185 pound linebacker/running back, who is 14 years old, ran the 40 in 4.84 in Louisville (outside on grass) and shuttled (5-10-5) 4.63. Darragh has just started lifting to get ready for high school football where he is benching 185, squatting 275, pulling 315 (deadlift), and power cleaning 185 (explosive). He’s only been lifting since February. What those number will be by the Future Stars’ Classic in July is anybody’s guess but I am guessing pretty scary.

Probably the second best linebacker in his class, throughout Kentucky, or the number one strong safety, however you choose to deploy him, is Ben Vaughn from Campbellsville, Kentucky (Taylor County). Vaughn is 5-11 and weighs 185 and ran a 4.84 at the Louisville combine. With Brown in the middle should he be healthy, flanked with Darragh and Vaughn, that is going to give Kentucky a group of linebackers as imposing as Thompson flanked by Lavell Wright and Austin Gough were last year and as fast too. Size and filthy speed, that’s about all one can say about that.

Make sure you are with us as we announce the rosters, Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. EST! This is Fletcher Long reporting for KPGFootball reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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