clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kentucky Football: Winning Signing Day in the Trenches

New, 2 comments

Football games are often won and lost in the trenches. National Signing Day is no different, and UK won big here in the 2016 class.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day is the most Pollyanna experience for every football fan base.

It is on this day your coach signed the best class, or the deepest, or the most united class in school history.  Every player is either a freak or a super sleeping steal of the day.  There will be evidence and comparison to past freaks and past super sleeping steals to perpetuate the good feeling.

These coaches have spent considerable time courting these young men to attend, and they deserve to brag on each and to feel good with what they have accomplished.  Here is a look at what you as the fan can expect until the first Wednesday in February 2017.

The offensive makeover from undersized lineman to those who meet SEC measurables has continued.  The measurables of height, wingspan and athleticism have  been met.  The average starting SEC offensive lineman is 6'4" and 298 pounds. Landon Young at 6'7" 298 lbs, Tate Leavitt at 6'6" 305 lbs, Luke Fortner at 6'5" 280 lbs, and Drake Jackson at 6'2" 307 lbs pass the first hurdle of building an SEC offensive line.

Measurables are nice, but ability must also be present, lest you look good getting off the bus, only to be humiliated on the field. Those that make a living scouting and evaluating these four, agree, all are capable of starting and excelling against SEC competition. Young is rated a 5 star,  Leavitt and Jackson are rated 4 stars, and Fortner rated a 3 star. The average star rating for starting SEC lines is 3.2.  The average star rating for UK's 4 signees is an even 4.

In order to become a better offensive football team UK will need to insert at least 2 of these players directly into the 2 deep rotations.  The two most likely candidates are Young and Leavitt.

Leavitt is a year older and has a more mature filled out body at this stage.  There is a good chance he will start at the left tackle spot, replacing Jordan Swindle who graduated.

As for Young, I would expect him to be in the two-deep rotation as well. He may be at right or left tackle. There are other factors such as the development of Kyle Meadows at 6'5' 298 lbs, and Logan Stenberg, 6'6" 360 lbs at the tackle position and whether George Asafo-Adjei, 6'5" 325 lbs, is able to move down to a guard position.

Jackson likely will not redshirt and he will learn a great deal from incumbent starter and tactician, Jon Toth.  Barring injuries or transfers or other attrition, I would expect Luke Fortner to be able to redshirt this season.

Below is a chart of the offensive line recruits by Coach Stoops. The number is the year the player was signed.  Those crossed out are no longer with the team, and the final column is the player's composite recruiting ranking.

Zach Myers

OC

300

2013

0.8338

Jon Toth

OC

310

2013

0.8370

Nick Richardson


280

2013

0.8723

Josh Krok


300

2013

0.8646

Justin Day


290

2013

0.8006

Dylan Greenberg

OC

308

2014

NA

Nick Haynes

OG

308

2014

0.8088

Ramsey Meyers

OG

320

2014

0.8351

Cole Mosier

OT

335

2014

NA

Kyle Meadows

OT

298

2014

0.8631

George Asafo-Adjei

OG

325

2015

0.8775

Jervontius Stallings

OC

335

2015

0.8206

David Baumer

OG

307

2015

NA

Jarrett LaRubbio

OL

297

2015

0.8600

Levon Livingston


250

2015

0.8539

Logan Stenberg

OL

330

2015

0.8587

Calvin Taylor

OT

295

2015

NA

Mason Wolfe

OL

325

2015

0.8160

Tate Leavitt

OT

298

2016

0.8833

Landon Young

OT

270

2016

0.9608

Drake Jackson

OC

293

2016

0.9331

Luke Fortner

OL

278

2016

0.8275

As can be seen, the first class suffered the most attrition. The key to a solid offensive line is to bring in players each year who are a threat to start.  As those begin to be layered, the offensive line grows from a 5 man starting unit, to a 10-12 man machine. It becomes a plug and play.

So, when you hear the Pollyanna hyperbole, feel good that it is true with this offensive line unit.