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  • VAUGHT: Frederick Douglas High School coaches producing special players

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    Not sure what Frederick Douglas High School football coaches are doing but whatever it is, it is obviously something special.

    Senior offensive lineman Walker Parks, a four-star recruit, has been a Clemson commit for quite some time.

    Now Frederick Douglas junior 6-4, 280-pound offensive lineman Jager Burton, a three-star recruit, has a bevy of scholarship offers including Clemson, Ohio State, Kentucky, Purdue, Penn State, Oregon and West Virginia. He will be attending camp at Alabama June 22 — his final camp for the summer. He got his Clemson offer after attending camp there earlier this month but has made it known for months he has a big interest in Clemson.

    If that is not enough, 5-10, 160-pound junior receiver Dekel Crowdus has offers from Kentucky, Cincinnati, Louisville, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, West Virginia and others. He also just landed an offer from Ohio State — and Burton was one of the first to congratulate him.

    No wonder Frederick Douglas will prepare for this season by scrimmaging Louisville Trinity, annually one of Kentucky’s top three teams.

    Burton understands the significance of high level programs nationally offering more and more Kentucky high school football players scholarships each year. He says Kentucky’s top players talk “pretty frequently about paving the way for kids coming up” to get even more attention from national recruiters.

    “The more they (coaches) see us and see others will just expand Kentucky football’s prestige,” Burton said. “I think Kentucky could be one of the biggest football states out there.”

    Burton believes Frederick Douglas is “going” to win the Class 5-A state championship this season — and who is going to argue — after being dropped from 6-A to 5-A.

    “We are kind of confused and upset over dropping down a class. We were No. 1 in the state most of last year and still got dropped (due to enrollment size),” Burton said. “I guess we just have to play whatever is given to us.”

    Burton once played on a Little League team with Virginia Tech freshman offensive lineman Bryan Hudson, a Scott County graduate; Lexington Catholic quarterback Beau Allen, a UK commit; Parks; and junior college All-American cornerback Devin Neal, a former high school teammate.

    “I think we lost like two games in five years,” Burton said. “We went everywhere for tournaments. We played games in Kentucky and Tennessee for the national championship. We won it once and got runner-up a couple of times. But it was great playing with so many great players like that.”

    Sort of like what he’s going to be doing again this year at Frederick Douglas with teammates like Parks and Crowdus.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. UKHistory's Avatar
      UKHistory -
      A few issues here...

      1) The Bluegrass is developing some quality football players that Division I schools are noticing. We are seeing the long term effects that spring football and an overall emphasis on the pig skin is having for Kentucky as a state.
      2) Population wise, Kentucky is a small state and has a smaller pool of Division I athletic talent compared to Ohio, Florida, etc.
      3) As Larry writes this article about the rise of Kentucky high school football, our boys basketball team hit a new low in the Kentucky vs Indiana All Star game getting whipped in two games by a zillion points (rounding up to a zillion to be fair.)

      I am asking the question: is the rise in quality football talent in Kentucky negatively impacting the quality of high school basketball? There are only so many athletes and all major sports really push the kids to focus on that sport year round.

      Can the state of Kentucky produce football and basketball talent? Is this a long term negative for UK Basketball?

      I recall back in the 1990s, maybe 2000, listening to a call in show lamenting that Anthony Epps is the type of athlete that would have been an excellent football player but had focused on basketball instead. The guests on this show pointed to Epps as a symbol of why UK would not be successful in football because his level of athlete played hoops.

      All of us are aware that Epps was the starting point guard on one of our best teams--some say one of college basketball's better teams historically. Anthony is also a high school teacher and basketball coach now.

      Frankly we could use a few guys like Anthony Epps mixed in with John Wall. Because a junior or senior Epps will be as good or better than a Green or a Hagans in his first year.

      As we look at the increase in quality division I football players coming out of the Commonwealth, does it weaken Kentucky's high school basketball ranks?

      From UK's point of view, I think both programs can and should be successful as we both recruit nationally. But after the one and done is gone, will the lowered quality of high basketball impact the fortunes of college basketball's winningest program?
    1. Terry Blue's Avatar
      Terry Blue -
      We have definitely gone down in the area of producing quality basketball players. I believe a lot of great athletes are choosing to play football instead of basketball, especially those 6'5 and under. Their chances of playing pro are much greater in football. 6"4 basketball players.are a dime a dozen where 6'4 wrs are coveted. Also some top chargers elect to leave the state's high schools and go the prep school route
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Quote Originally Posted by Terry Blue View Post
      We have definitely gone down in the area of producing quality basketball players. I believe a lot of great athletes are choosing to play football instead of basketball, especially those 6'5 and under. Their chances of playing pro are much greater in football. 6"4 basketball players.are a dime a dozen where 6'4 wrs are coveted. Also some top chargers elect to leave the state's high schools and go the prep school route
      Agree with this.
    1. KeithKSR's Avatar
      KeithKSR -
      Quote Originally Posted by Terry Blue View Post
      We have definitely gone down in the area of producing quality basketball players. I believe a lot of great athletes are choosing to play football instead of basketball, especially those 6'5 and under. Their chances of playing pro are much greater in football. 6"4 basketball players.are a dime a dozen where 6'4 wrs are coveted. Also some top chargers elect to leave the state's high schools and go the prep school route
      This is most definitely what has happened. Another factor is that in the old days there were a lot of high schools in the state that simply weren’t big enough to field competitive football teams. Most of those tiny schools have been merged out of existence and kids have the opportunity to play football.
    1. dan_bgblue's Avatar
      dan_bgblue -
      Another factor is that in the old days there were a lot of high schools in the state that simply weren’t big enough to field competitive football teams. Most of those tiny schools have been merged out of existence and kids have the opportunity to play football.
      Ding ding ding. There were 6 schools in the county when I was going to school, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and now there are 2. There was one school that fielded a football team but all 6 of them had basketball teams back in the day. Now there are probably 40 athletes that no longer participate in high school sports in the county.