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Kentucky Football Recruiting: A Profile of an Insider

As many of you have probably guessed, there are those amongst the BBN who have inside information when it comes to UK basketball and football. These insiders come in various forms. There are those who know what’s going on a day to day basis within the program and those who hold inside information when it comes to recruiting.

For football, KSR's Freddie Maggard probably knows more than anyone when it comes to what's going on within the confines of the UK football locker room. There are others out there, but Maggard informs us about the goings on. Then, there are those associated with the recruiting services: Justin Rolwand at Cats Illustrated (Rivals), Josh Edwards at the Cats Pause (247 Sports), and Patrick Loney at All Wildcats (Scout) are the most recognizable names that come to mind.

I've known (internet known) Patrick Loney for about three or four years. When I first became aware of Patrick, he had a small website and he specialized in interviewing recruits. Those associated with the recruiting services first paid him no mind, but eventually had to grudgingly recognize his efforts when he scooped them on some commitments.

I thought I'd give our readers some insights as to how a college kid in Evansville, IN can become a force in Kentucky football recruiting. There is no better way to do that than getting the information directly from the horse's mouth. Patrick has graciously agreed to an interview.

Question: Thanks for agreeing to this most likely unprofessional interview.

Patrick: Haha! Got to do what you got to do to get information.

Question: Give me some background details about yourself....hometown, your current academic status, that kind of stuff

Patrick: Born and raised in a small town in Western Kentucky.  I'm actually taking a semester off this year. Hoping to return for the spring semester, but that isn't set in stone right now.

Question: When did you become a recruiting junkie?

Patrick: My senior year in High School. In 2007 during my study hall, I would get on the computer and read Scout and Rivals message boards for information.

Question: You started your website when and how did you go about it?

Patrick: I started my small website shortly after I graduated High School in 2007. The site wasn't professionally designed until 2011 or 2012. I had some friends who could design Kentucky Blue Sports News or KBSN for my price range. KBSN was my pride and joy at that time. I took my website very seriously.

Question: Tell me about the obstacles you confronted and how you overcame them.

Patrick: Some misunderstandings between competitors and my site. I just had to prove that I was doing everything by the book. I started posting Q&A interviews, just like this one. I didn't want to hide any of the information. Eventually, I had to leave my site for greener pastures.

Question: When it comes to recruiting, I think most people know that you and your competitors have developed relationships with the coaches who "leak" information as to who they are recruiting and the status, to some degree, of their recruiting efforts. You also have to build relationships with the recruits and earn their trust. How are the relationships built?

Patrick: It starts with respect. As a recruiting reporter/analyst you have to give these kids respect. We make a living off these kids. Personally, I ask them what they want reported and not reported, because in the end it is the recruit's moment, not mine.  With respect and trust between the recruit and me,  you'll see that I usually have an inside track where the recruit is going even if it's not Kentucky.

Question: You abandoned your site when you began writing for Varsity Preps. What prompted you to begin writing for Varsity Preps?

Patrick: My site wasn't doing very well after misunderstandings with a recruiting service reporter. I felt I needed to start all over again and show the BBN what I can do on a bigger scale. At that time Varsity Preps was averaging in the hundreds of thousands hits per month.

Question: When did you move over to All Wildcats?

Patrick: I moved over to AllWildcats in October, 2013. I was determined to prove all the hate of the past was BS by becoming recruiting analyst at Scout. The move settled any credibility issues.

Question: Things have changed a lot since you started out. Twitter has become the major form of communication. Do you still do interviews with recruits or has that pretty much become old school?

Patrick: I still do interviews with recruits. I don't ask the same drawn out questions from when I started, but we all have to do interviews to get the key information that might give us the scoop in the end.

Question: You recently became a paid professional at Scout by taking on Penn State recruiting in addition to Kentucky. How has that affected you?

Patrick: Honestly, not much. My workload has doubled, but I still know what is going on with Kentucky football recruiting, while I'm learning who is Penn State was going after. I would say first two weeks on the new job, I was slightly overwhelmed, but now I am comfortable covering Kentucky and Penn State.

Question: It obviously has almost doubled your workload covering more than one school. Have you had to seek help or do you think that won't be necessary?

Patrick: At  first, I did seek some help. Jeff Drummond, the publisher at AllWildcats, filled the void with information while I was getting myself in the rhythm with Penn State recruiting. Mark Brennan and Mark Harrington at the Penn State site also helped me. They still do to an extent with me being on the job less than two months.

Question: One of things you do that I really like is engaging your membership on the free forum. As far as I can tell, you may be unique in this practice. How did you come to the decision regarding this?

Patrick: My point of view is there is no difference between a paid UK Fan to one who one on the free forum. Both want accurate, breaking news. I feel as a reporter, I should interact with everyone on the site, not just paying members. No interaction on the site, equates to no mouth of word spreading around. Word of mouth is the biggest marketing sale, I can sell. Interacting with free members might make them want to bring other members, who eventually become paying members.

Question: Scout reported during an interview with Rashan Gary that the consensus number one player is interested in visiting Kentucky. Kentucky hasn't offered him for whatever reason. I would assume this is because the staff felt it would be a wasted effort. What are your thoughts on this?

Patrick: I don't think UK has a chance with Gary, but getting a visit from him would be huge. Think of the attention it would bring to the program.

Question: What kind of advice would you give to someone who would want to follow in your footsteps?

Patrick: Don't let the outside noise to get to them. Stay on the grind and build their credibility. Who knows, maybe down the road they will be taking my job.

Thanks for taking your time for this interview. For those who are interested, you can read what Patrick has to say over at the All Wildcats forum, or you can follow him on twitter at @PatrickLoney.