By LARRY VAUGHT
Three-star offensive lineman Jager Burton of Frederick Douglas High School in Lexington understands Kentucky’s “hometown hero” recruiting pitch to him and other in-state players.
However, Burton thinks Kentucky’s overall pitch to all potential recruits might dramatically change in the next few years.
“As they keep improving and winning more games, it is a lot easier to get more players,” said Burton, who has 15 scholarship offers including Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson along with Kentucky.
Burton believes Kentucky going 10-3 last season with a Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State had an impact on 2020 UK commitments from John Young, Andru Phillips, Beau Allen, Jordan Watkins and others.
“Being able to stay home and win games is really important. I don’t know about a lot of other people, but I hate losing no matter what it is. I don’t think I would want to go somewhere that I thought I was going to lose and Kentucky is not like that at all any more,” Burton said.
One has to think that comment has Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow both smiling. That’s a key statement from a player who has offers from some of the nation’s top programs and has grown up watching UK football have years where it did not win.
But it gets better.
“You have the opportunity to compete for pretty much everything you would want to compete for in college football now at Kentucky,” Burton said.” I think that is really important and a big reason they have gotten a ton more four- and five-star recruits.
“I think that is really cool to see and see the progression of the Kentucky football program from Joker (Philips) to Stoops.”