As you have probably heard by now, Florida OL Ander Bodkin committed to Kentucky coach Joker Phillips by phone last night. A 3-star prospect, he primarily chose the Wildcats over South Florida and Florida International. Though lacking a huge offer sheet, Bodkin is one of, if not the most impressive OL verbal that the Cats have for 2013. Kentucky also picked up a commitment from Georgia TE Darren Dowdell over the weekend. Dowdell picked UK over Louisville, Ole Miss, and NC State, among others.
Kudos to the coaches for continuing the recruit under some very trying circumstances. Not only are they getting players to verbal but they are getting guys that have been high on their list for quite some time. Recruits are still speaking positively of the Cats. They have yet to have a player decommit. They seem to be recruiting like they will be around for a while. Coach Phillips is a Kentucky guy , and if he isn’t on the sidelines in 2013, would still like to leave the program with as much talent as possible. Of course the coaches need to recruit like they will return next season, it would be a shame to be brought back with no recruiting class in 2013.
Could there be some new development that has made Kentucky seem a more secure destination recently? Some kind of assurance that the coaches would return for another season? It’s certainly possible given Mitch Barnhart’s loyalty toward his employees and his friendship with Phillips. He does have a young team dominated by talent in the freshmen and sophomore classes. He just lost his starting quarterback. Most relevant may be that this team has improved weekly outside of the Western Kentucky debacle. They played a good game against Florida, with decent QB play , may have been in a position to win it. Against South Carolina they played the best half of football seen around here in quite some time.
So it is possible that Phillips and staff have some assurances that they will return for another round. It is still likely contingent on the way the season plays out. If Kentucky continues to improve, a bowl bid is quite possible. They would have to win 5 of 7 games but the hard part of the schedule is over. Other than Georgia, Kentucky doesn’t play a team they couldn’t beat the rest of the way.
On the other hand, maybe nothing has changed, Phillips is still on the hot seat and he is simply a great recruiter. Perhaps the two commits back-to-back were a coincidence. He has said all year that he isn’t selling himself to players, he is selling Kentucky. He was selling the fans, although that likely doesn’t work anymore. So many kids do interviews after they verbal and talk about how UK felt like a family and Lexington felt like home. This is what Joker Phillips is selling.