The WBN top 10 In-state players in the 2011 class


mn   By Kyle

On Thursday, Kentucky Ink writer Jeff Drummond released his preseason top 10 players in the state of Kentucky. I decided I would sit down and compile my list as well to give everyone something to read on this Memorial Day weekend. Once you’ve read through my list and reasoning, tell me if you agree, disagree, or what you might want to change in the comment section below. After you’re done with this article, head over to Kentucky Ink and check out Jeff’s list HERE.

Zack Templin – East Jessamine – OT – 6’4/290

First off, I’ll admit that I’m a little more partial to the Linemen. While the QBs and RBs will fill up the stat sheet, a solid offensive or defensive lineman can have a major impact on a game and make the difference between a win and a loss. Templin has a great frame and is oozing with potential. He has a high football IQ and consistently finishes blocks through the whistle. He will have to work on his hand placement and footwork, but most high school offensive linemen do. He could play guard or Tackle in college.

Bubba Tandy – Christian County – ATH – 6’1/185

I’m higher on Tandy than a lot of people, but it’s not because of his athleticism. Sure Tandy can jump, juke, and outrun most of the state, but it’s his competitiveness that sticks out on film. He does a lot of different things well, but you can tell he has been well coached on the little things that can make a big difference. He catches the ball with his hands, and away from his body. He locks onto defenders when he’s blocking. He doesn’t bite on pump fakes when he’s in the defensive backfield. He’s a multifaceted player that could be a great Cornerback at the college level and has phenomenal instincts for locating the ball on offense or defense.

DaMarcus Smith – Seneca – QB – 6’0/180

I’m not as high on Smith as many others are, but it has nothing to do with him committing to Louisville. Smith is still an elite athlete (hence him making the top ten) but he is a typical spread-style QB in that he looks to take off running a little too early and misses opportunities to make the big play with his arm instead of his legs. Smith is a boom-or-bust college prospect that could fit into the QB position and be an all-star, or could struggle and be moved to a different spot a couple of years after his arrival. If he were willing to make a position switch, I would probably have rated him in the top three as a Cornerback prospect. While his skill-set is impressive, Kentucky fans shouldn’t worry too much about him choosing to go elsewhere because he really doesn’t fit the UK offensive scheme. He should be a good fit in Louisville though.

Kal Prince – Owensboro – QB – 6’2/200

Most fans and writers consider DaMarcus Smith the top QB prospect in Kentucky, but I’m going a different direction and picking Prince. This might be the first really controversial pick I made, but I’ve got my reasons. Prince gets labeled with the “ATH” tag, but he’s more of a QB who can scramble well. He’s not outrunning any defensive backs any time soon, but he has the athleticism to move around in the pocket and keep his eyes down-field while evading pressure. I picked him as the top QB because he is the clear-cut leader in making the big throw and extending the play without taking off running, and that’s difficult for a young QB to do. He is a coach’s son and has learned that pocket presence and intangibles are just as important as a big arm. Possibly the most impressive thing about Prince is his potential at Wide Receiver, Tight End, and Safety despite being a solid pocket passer. Kentucky hasn’t offered as of right now, but I find it hard to believe that the staff could overlook such a versatile team player.

Devante Parker – Ballard – WR – 6’2/180
If there was one player that Kentucky could poach from Louisville, I would want it to be Parker. He has the height and athletic ability to win just about any jump ball situation and should be one of Louisville’s top red zone targets as soon as he arrives on campus. But it doesn’t stop there. He also has blistering speed and great agility for a player of his height. Parker is a big time player and will probably have the biggest impact as a freshman of anyone from Kentucky. Now the hope is that UK can start strong and UofL struggles, then Parker sees the light and flips to Joker and company.

Zach West – Lexington Christian – OT – 6’5/305

If recruiting sites were quicker to give lineman the ATH position designation, West would likely be listed as such. No, he’s not a high school QB that projects as a receiver or safety, but that doesn’t make him any less of an athlete. West has the size and skills to play at Offensive Tackle, Guard, Center, or Defensive Tackle at the next level, and that’s a pretty diverse set of abilities. He has really blown up since the winter and he went from a small school prospect with little D1 Interest to one of the top players in the state but here at the WBN, we’ve though highly of him for a while.

Jamon Brown – Fern Creek – DT – 6’5/305

Despite the recent success of Myron Pryor and Corey Peters, the state of Kentucky has historically done a very poor job of producing high level Defensive Tackles. It’s difficult enough to find a player that is big enough and athletic enough to play the position, but when you factor in the discipline necessary to have any sort of success and it’s easy to see why so many schools covet these players. Brown represents one of the best interior defensive linemen to come out of Kentucky in a while and is the only truly elite prospect at the position this year. He’s a rare player in that he has college level abilities right now, but he also has a high ceiling and will only get better with time. He’s committed to Louisville at this point but has openly stated that he wants to keep his options open.

Darrian Miller – Bryan Station – OT – 6’6/280

Yet another Offensive Lineman on the list. Miller makes the number three spot because of his supreme length at the Left Tackle position. From the ever-inaccurate look test, I’d guess Miller’s wingspan is about 6’9 or more. With arms that long and the type of natural strength he possesses, he could be a factor in the Left Tackle battle at UK from the day he arrives on campus. He has to work hard to build up his size and get his footwork down, but he’s fast enough to play Defensive End at his size. Depending on how senior seasons go, there is a decent chance that Miller will occupy the top spot on this list come December.

#2Jon Davis – Eastern – ATH – 6’3/230

While he’s an incredible athlete, Davis just misses the top spot on my list because of his ATHLETE tag. It’s pretty clear that he will play Tight End at Kentucky, but he’s the type of player that you run your entire offense through at the high school level. The uncertainty of how he will fit into a college offense is all that’s holding him back and few would argue his immense athletic ability. Davis has the skill set to play about nine different positions at a high level and that type of versatility is something that few players have. It is very possible that Davis could have the biggest impact in college of anyone from Kentucky since Michael Bush, and he’s doing pretty well with the Raiders right now.

Lamar Dawson – Boyle County – MLB – 6’2/230

Dawson has the size/strength/speed combination of an established SEC Middle Linebacker, and he’s only a high school senior. He gets the nod at the top overall spot on my list due to his ability to have a major impact on each game, and his specialization in one specific position. Dawson has been a lifetime Linebacker and knows the intricacies of the position and understands the responsibilities as the QB of the defense. No other player on this list will be as ready to contribute from day one as Dawson will be, and a redshirt season for him is almost unfathomable without an injury. Kentucky has the inside track in his recruitment because of his family’s close proximity to Lexington and because former Boyle County coach and UK Linebacker Chuck Smith is heading up his recruitment, but it’s far from over.

So there you have it. Keep in mind that this is the preseason list and there is just about always a player or two that has a huge senior season and comes out of nowhere to catch everyone’s attention. A lot can happen between now and the end of the high school campaign.

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