Having trouble getting registered or subscribing? Email us at info@kysportsreport.com or Private Message CitizenBBN and we'll get you set up!

  • Recruiting Evaluation Could Pay Dividends on Defense

    Recruiting is very important but it’s not everything. Five-star football recruits have to be developed and that’s is the job of the coaches at the college level.
    At the end of the signing day flurry for the 2015 recruiting class, the books on that year appeared to be closed. About two weeks later a very tall youngster appeared in the Nutter Training facility. It became know that player was Calvin Taylor then 6-foot-9, 265-pounds. A former basketball player with only one year of football experience and was considered to be a project. Taylor red-shirted in 2015, played a few snaps last season. Now he is 295-pounds and in the two deep rotation defensive line. “We are starting to create some depth with the young guys,” defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc said. “I think we will look different than in the past.”

    The coach said Matt Elam is doing well. Is he where he wants to be? Leblanc said – “We will find out in the last big scrimmage Saturday. We have been working on pad level. He’s playing a little bit more forward and more aggressive. We took away that pop up and look thing.” Pad level has been a work in progress with Elam and Taylor. “They are big men and it is hard for any big man.”

    There is a term for them “Natural Bender.” A flexible, athletic offensive or defensive lineman who bends at the knees, not the waist. They’ve been working on the chute (mechanism) to keep low.

    LeBlance said for a guy (Taylor) who is 6-foot-7 he’s tall, he’s got long arms, and he’s coachable, and he doesn’t make many mistakes. With those things he will be playing. He wants his players to take some chances – playing within the system but not being afraid to shoot your gun and go and make plays.

    It’s not expected either of these guy to be “Dancing Bears” – A huge defensive lineman with the agility of a ballerina but it will be interesting to see what these big guys can get done on run-plays.

    “I knew when I first got here it was going to be an uphill climb”, “Taylor said since I hadn’t played football since my sophomore year. I think I’ve learned the game, gotten plenty of reps and I think I’m ready know. When coach LeBlanc came in he emphasized pad level. Taylor said it helps all of the defensive front practicing against one of the best offensive lines on the SEC every day and two thousand rushers last year.

    The defensive linemen had a total of twelve sacks last season and the team as a whole ranked eleventh in the SEC in sacks. “Since coach LeBlanc’s been here we are a lot better defensive line and we will get more sacks this year, I promise you,” Taylor said very poignantly.

    So if Taylor proves to be a good football player it will speak very smart to recruiting evaluation. Former Kentucky Head Coach and fourteen year NFL veteran Guy Morriss once conveyed to me that thirty percent of the NFL players in the Pro Bowl were formerly free agents coming into the league.