Justin Day, OT
FR 6’8, 305
The Kentucky coaching staff is hoping they’ve got a real diamond in Justin Day. When Joker Phillips and his staff were let go, the new staff elected to reassess the offensive line targets that had previously committed and Day was one of only two that was retained. With the offensive tackle position in a state of flux, he comes to Lexington at just the right time.
Where fellow 2013 classmate Kyle Meadows is expected to challenge for a starting job as a freshman, Day’s expectations are much more grounded. He is a project player that needs some fine tuning but has the type of size that you just have to be born with. Darrian Miller is entering his junior season at UK and is the clear-cut starter at left tackle and that alone should take some pressure off of Day.
While he is a massive player, nearly all freshman offensive linemen need to seriously improve their strength and technique to compete at any college level, especially in the SEC. The team will need Day to work hard this year (in what is likely to be a redshirt season for him) and develop physically to compete the following season because Miller’s return is not assured. In the event that he elects to forgo his senior season and head off to the NFL draft, Day may be counted on as early as 2014, but this shouldn’t be all that concerning to fans.
At 6’8, Day has the length that teams desperately seek in their tackles and remember that his 305 pounds is spread out across that frame, so he’s surprisingly athletic for a player his size. His basketball background will certainly help and should lend itself to his ability to pass block in college.
Fans should remember that Day is still very new to offense in general (not just the tackle position) and was only moved to that side of the ball last fall from the defensive end position. If he can continue to learn and fine-time his skill-set, Justin Day could very easily be the steal of Coach Stoops’ first signing class.