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So as we wait for a decision from Jodie Meeks, we can’t forget that football season starts in just a couple of months so this is as good as any to start looking at the new Wildcat recruits and how they may mesh with the returning Wildcats. I will do these sporadically through the summer and we start our look at the football Cats with:


Help was definitely needed here as the Wildcats still look to replace Andre Woodson. UK QB’s in 2009 were young and untested and the pressure showed as the group of Mike Hartline, Randall Cobb, and Will Fidler struggled on the field. After the lofty seasons of Woodson, UK signal callers managed only 11 TD’s vs 13 INT’s. UK averaged just 172 yards through the air and a depleted WR corp was unable to help take the pressure of the running game, so UK’s offense as a whole struggled, averaging 22 points a game, and just 18 points a game after the 4-0 start to the season.

Mike Hartline led the team with 1666 yards passing and 9 TD’s. While heavily criticized, Hartline at times showed good grasp of the short game and seemed to be a QB that can control the game. It is hard to judge whether the disappearance of the long pass game was the fault of Hartline or the WR corp, but I would say it would be equal blame. Hartline averaged a full 2 yards less per attempt than Woodson and he seemed to lack confidence in both his receivers and his ability to throw downfield. As a fan it was maddening, as Hartline had some nice games last year (MTSU 28-47-254-2-0, Arkansas 17-32-239-3-2) and some excrutiating ones (Florida 7-16-33-0-1). One would hope that his strong appearance late in the East Carolina game would be a sign of things to come.

Randall Cobb, a true freshman, was a breath of fresh air as he dazzled us with his versatility. Cobb passed for 2 TD’s against 5 INT’s and 542 yards passing, but racked up 316 yards and 7 TD rushing, most of them from the QB position. For 2010, it appears that Cobb will be a WR and may see some action in the “Wildcat formation” but for all intent and purposes, he will be a WR next year.

So what does 2010 hold for the QB corp? For starters, UK’s recruiting class ranked 6th for QB prospects so let’s see how they may fit in.

MIKE HARTLINE – looks to be the starter for UK entering the season. I am not ready to give up on Hartline just yet but hope that he was able to bulk up over the offseason. He has great height for a QB but at 204, he still needs to add to his frame. For his credit it looked like he did go from 180 when signing with UK to 204 last year. Hartline, a junior, will be expected to be more of a leader this year and take charge of the WR corps. The big number for Hartline is that he had a 6-3 record as a starter.

Hartline was the 16th rated QB coming out of HS so he does have the pedigree to make an impact. He does have good control of the short passes and has shown a nice setup in the pocket and a penchant for quick releases. He did seem to have trouble finding receivers deep and on more than one occasion overthrew wide open receivers. There were a few games where he was able to take control and he could be a nice ball control QB for the Wildcats. If he can show the accuracy on long throws, he can develop into something special.

MORGAN NEWTON – Newton is the gem of UK’s recruiting class and there could be some competition for the starting job in camp. If Hartline is the starter, expect Newton to get some playing time as both QB’s would be a nice change of pace. Newton has good size (6’4, 220) and is a true dual threat , passing for 1938 yards (22 TD’s) and rushing for 1664 yards (28 TD’s) as a senior at Carmel High School. He was rated the number 15 QB in the country and was listed in the top 150 players in the country.

There is a lot to like mechanic wise as he shows great zip on the long pass and can throw downfield on the run and is a threat in the open field. He is a better passer than Randall Cobb and having him allows Cobb to be an asset at WR. “Newton to Cobb” can be a dangerous combination for the next few years.

RYAN MOSSAKOWSKI – ‘Ski became the second Top 25 QB (#22) signed by UK and like Newton, there is a lot to like about the Texas Gunslinger. He put up big numbers in HS (despite missing time with a shoulder injury) passing for 6834 yards and 49 TD’s his last 3 years in school and rushed for an additional 787 yards and 19 TD’s. He also has good size (6’4, 201) and extremely accurate (67.4 %).

He is a good pocket passer and given time, can pick a defense apart. He is not as accurate on the run, but he can throw a good deep ball and can take a hit or two. As of now, there are indications that he may redshirt his freshman year to recover from shoulder surgery but that should be decided in the next few weeks.

WILL FIDLER – Fidler, the JR QB from Henderson opened some eyes at the Blue/White game this year with 110 yard passing and 2 TD’s. He saw action in 2 games last year and adds nice depth at the position. Fidler had a prolific HS career, passing for 9395 yards and 92 touchdowns and led Henderson to a 43-9 record. He is a big (6’4, 216) pocket passer with adequate arm strength and a nice release. While projected to be the 3rd string QB (if ‘Ski redshirts), Fidler should get some looks at camp this summer and could engage Hartline in a battle.


While still very, very young and inexperienced, the QB position is upgraded for UK this season. Best case scenario is that Hartline doe bulk up and develops better rapport with his WR corps and becomes a true field general. Look for him to start the season but he will be tested in summer camp by Newton, who could win the position outright. More than likely, Newton will be eased into starting and if Hartline does not improve over last year, Newton could take over by midseason. Look for Fidler to be a sold third string QB and he could move to second string if Newton becomes the starter. Mossakowski would make camp interesting if he does not redshirt and he could also be the backup if he is active and Newton is the starter. Expect a very competitive summer as this will be the big story to watch.

To get your appetite whetted for the season, here is some video of incoming freshmen Newton and Mossakowski.

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