By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer
It looks like the UK Football recruiting class of 2019 is starting to take shape. There are currently some very nice recruits in that class including Moses Douglass, a four star safety from Ohio, and a couple of three-star linemen from Kentucky and Florida along with a couple of three-star defensive players from Georgia and South Carolina.
But the most interesting commitment so far is from a three-star quarterback out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, named Nik Scalzo. Nik is rated as the 16th best dual threat quarterback in the country. He is also 5-foot-11 and weighs 185 pounds.
Both of those facts are interesting but not as interesting as this one. Nik plays for Cardinal Gibbons High School in Ft. Lauderdale. Cardinal Gibbons runs an Air Raid offense. In fact Scalzo has thrown for over 4,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his two seasons at the school.
It seems interesting that Eddie Gran has gone “all-in” on a quarterback that does not fit the prototypical size and weight measurements for an SEC quarterback. And that quarterback has the skills suited to run an Air Raid offense and run it very effectively.
Based on the past couple of recruiting classes it appeared that Gran and Stoops had given up on running a pass-oriented offense in favor of a run-pass option offense with a big, fast featured running back, tall wide receivers that can stretch the field and a quarterback that has the ability to manage the game, make plays with his feet and throw the occasional deep ball to keep the defense from loading the box on the run game.
Now with the commitment of Scalzo it appears that may not be the case. Here’s how Scalzo describes his game, “I would like to say that I’m a pocket passer, but I have the ability to extend plays as a dual-threat quarterback. I can stay in the pocket and make those throws — but when I’m on the run, that’s when I think I’m at the top of my game. I feel like I have very good field vision and I can get the ball to where I need it to be.”
It will be interesting to see one, if Scalzo actually signs on signing day – he says he is 100 percent committed to UK – and two, if Eddie Gran adjusts his offense back to more of a pocket based short pass-oriented offense with smaller, quicker receivers that can break loose on the edges after they catch the ball or will he stick with the current model and ask Scalzo to take the beating required of a quarterback that uses a lot of run-option in the pass-run game.
Here’s hoping that whatever Coach Gran decides to run as an offense it will allow UK to score more than the 25 points per game average that helped them finish as the 10th place offense in the SEC last year.