It’s been a crazy twenty-four hours for Kentucky football fans. An emotional roller coaster. Most of us went to bed last night expecting January 4th to be a glorious day for Big Blue Nation on multiple fronts .The Army All-American game had finally arrived, we would get to see Drew Barker live against the best players in the country and finally get that commitment from Matt Elam. A host of other prospects were going to have Kentucky on their minds. Charlie Strong would be moving to Austin, Texas and James Franklin would be taking the Penn State job.
Then we all went to bed and woke up to a different world. Elam was no longer announcing. The other players firmed up their previous commitments. Strong called a meeting to tell his staff that there was nothing to tell them at this time. Al Golden took Franklin’s job. People rejoiced and lamented. Here is my take on all that happened today:
- Elam- This was the most anticipated recruiting event for UK fans since Barker picked the Cats in the Spring. All week the signs pointed toward Elam choosing Kentucky, it had seemed apparent for quite some time that his heart was in the Bluegrass State. Then he announced that would choose on Signing Day just hours before the game he was supposed to commit at. Elam told KSR that he was still undecided, and there is no reason to doubt him on that. It’s no secret he loves Kentucky and the players in their class. But it is Alabama we are up against here. He’ll likely take an official visit to Tuscaloosa now. This isn’t a good sign for Kentucky’s chances but this fight isn’t over. It wouldn’t have been over if Elam committed today. This thing was always going to Signing Day.
- Travonte Valentine- Valentine swapped his official visit from Alabama to Kentucky for 1/24. As long as that holds up, Kentucky has a chance here, with or without Matt Elam. (Landing Elam would have helped a lot though). Valentine decommitted from Miami today due to speculation about Al Golden leaving. It’ll be a fight but UK has a shot if they keep that OV.
- Glenville Trio- A week ago all of these kids were expected to attend Ohio State, but during bowl practices rumors started to leak out that there may be some interest in the Cats. Erick Smith and Marshon Lattimore delayed their expected announcements. Then put them back on. Marcelys Jones was found to have sign financial aid paperwork with UK. In the middle of all of this, Glenville coach Ted Ginn Sr. flew to Texas and suddenly the Kentucky rumors went away and all three appear to be Buckeyes again. No wonder it’s called a pipeline. Jones was quoted after the game saying he would not enroll early in Columbus this week but later tweeted he was 100% Buckeye. So anything could happen there.
- Franklin- It’s really a matter of when, not if, Franklin leaves Vanderbilt for a better job. He says all of the right things when asked, but nobody wants to coach at Vandy forever. It looks like Penn State will go to Golden, but that only opens up Miami for Franklin. He also has several NFL opportunities to look at, the Redskins and Browns are said to be interested and Nashville’s own Titans just fired their coach today. Personally I think Franklin would make a fine NFL coach, maybe even better than a college coach.
- Strong- Charlie has possibly accepted the Texas job, or not or he is pretty interested or he wants everyone to leave him alone. All of the signs out there point to the idea that Strong will be the next head coach in Austin. He called a staff meeting this morning, you don’t bring everyone in during Christmas break to tell them you don’t have anything to tell them. The national media is pretty unanimous with the news. But the truth is that he hasn’t taken it yet, at least not publicly, and Tom Jurich is flying across the country to try to save the day. For reasons that I can’t fully disclose, I find it hard to believe that Strong will leave Louisville for another college program prior to 2015, so I’m still waiting to hear about him getting another raise and how he loves it in the Ville. If nothing else, this weekend has proven two things: 1) Charlie Strong is not a Louisville lifer, despite what you’ve been told and 2) Louisville fans will turn on him in a second. Frankly, I don’t care if Strong stays or goes. He is losing the core of his team and graduating to a real schedule for the first in his career, it will be interesting to see how he copes. I know he has beaten Kentucky several times, but I’m really not that impressed with Strong as a coach and recruiting has fallen off after Clint Hurtt was suspended. It might not be bad if Charlie sticks around.