By LARRY VAUGHT
Alabama persuaded Madison Southern running back Damien Harris and Lexington Lafayette offensive lineman Jedrick Wills to leave the Bluegrass to play college football. Alabama coach Nick Saban has also managed to get a commitment from Glasgow offensive lineman Tanner Bowles for the 2019 recruiting class.
That’s three big in-state losses for Kentucky coach Mark Stoops to Alabama since he’s arrived at UK. However, don’t forget that Stoops has managed to get two quality offensive linemen — Bunchy Stallings and Logan Stenberg — to leave Alabama to play for Kentucky.
Offensive line coach John Schlarman won’t deny that it feels like UK “stole” two big-time players out of Alabama.
“We felt like that pretty early on with both of them when they got here. From being at Troy six years (as offensive line coach), I was able to make some connections down there and those connections are the reasons we got those guys,” Schlarman said.
“We got on Stenberg pretty early in the process. With Bunchy it was kind of late because he transferred from Mississippi to Alabama and was kind of an unknown commodity there his senior year.
“With Logan, his O-line coach had two other linemen I recruited to Troy and they were both very good for us. When he said he had a real good one, I trusted his opinion, went down there, recruited him and it worked out.”
So how good can Stenberg be? He started all 13 games at left guard last season and his redshirt freshman season in 2016 he had 37 knockdown blocks and only one missed assignment all season.
“He has the potential to be very, very good. The thing about Logan is he has to hone in on his technique. He has to get better at the finer details, the little things that make a big difference,” Schlarman said.
“He is a very aggressive guy by nature and he wants to go after guys. That is a good thing, but at times he can be over aggressive and that hurts you. He has to make sure he does a good job of honing in on some details.”
Could there be more recruiting “steals” out of Alabama for Kentucky?
“We hope so. We are going to go down there and work on it but with coach Stoops, he has made it a point to recruit all over,” Schlarman said. “We are just going to try and do a great job all over. I have north Alabama and looking forward to doing more recruiting down there and finding more great players like this two.”