By LARRY VAUGHT
Frederick Douglas High School in Lexington just keeps turning out Division I football prospects.
Six players off its 2019 team that finished 14-1 and lost to Covington Catholic in the Class 5A state title game had Kentucky scholarship offers and five of them will be back this season — if there is a season.
Kentucky made offers last week to 6-3, 175-pound freshman tight end Thomas Howard and 5-9, 150-pound freshman defensive back Isaiah Kenney.
The Cats already had extended scholarship offers to Frederick Douglas junior offensive lineman Jager Burton, sophomore athlete Dane Key and sophomore defensive back Ty Bryant. Burton is the top-rated player in Kentucky in the 2021 recruiting class and Bryant and Key both had fathers play at UK. Senior offensive lineman Walker Parks also had a UK offer but signed with Clemson.
Howard gave a verbal commitment to Louisville baseball before the start of his 2019 football season. He had eight catches for 101 yards last season but five of his receptions went for touchdowns. Kentucky was his first Division I football offer but coach Nathan McPeek says Louisville also has shown considerable interest.
“He’s a really good pitcher. I know baseball is important to him but he’s a really good football player, too,” McPeek said. “I would never tell a kid what to do other than to play all the sports he wants. He’s blessed to be good in all of them, including basketball.
“He started every game for us as a true freshman. His role will evolve this year. He was a pretty good blocker last year but he needs to get bigger and stronger. But with him being a pitcher, he’s not going to get real big.”
Kenney did not play as much as a freshman because of the players — Baylor signee Devin Neal and Bryant — in front of him.
Kentucky secondary coach Steve Clinkscale first saw Kenney play in middle school because he had a son at the same school. He had 24 tackles in 15 games last year in his limited duty and returned his one interception 40 yards.
“He was really a good special teams players for us last year,” McPeek said. “He played a lot in the state semifinals against Owensboro because Devin had some cramping issues. He played pretty much all year, just not at safety like he will this year. But he’s a playmaker and had a lot of big plays and tackles in the return game.”