Ohio lineman picks UK

November 18, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Kentucky added another offensive lineman to its 2005 football recruiting class when 6-8, 315-pound Zach Hennis of Plain City, Ohio, verbally committed to the Wildcats Tuesday night.

Hennis told Kentucky linebacker coach Ron McBride that he wanted to join teammate Ben Bates, a linebacker who earlier committed to Kentucky, and play for the Cats next year.

He is rated as the 27th-best prospect in Ohio by

"Whenever it is third down-and-short, we run over right guard where he plays," said Barry Blackstone, Hennis' high school coach. "We have done that for four years, but his best football is still ahead of him. He's a great player. He's really athletic. Kentucky hit the jackpot with him."

Hennis also had scholarship offers from Northwestern, Akron and Ball State. Michigan was evaluating film on him and he had been in contact with Purdue, Michigan State, West Virginia, Minnesota and others.


"Everybody was recruiting him," Blackstone said. "Why wouldn't you?"

Hennis said after his visit to Kentucky that he liked the "farm country" in Kentucky better than Chicago, the city near Northwestern.

Blackstone thinks Hennis has all the tools to help the Wildcats, who lose two starting linemen, next year.

"He has long arms and he moves well. When you are that big you are going to have some natural strength, but he also really works in the weight room," Blackstone said. "I don't think there is any question he can contribute as a freshman. He's mature and he has the strength (400-pound bench press) to play right away."

Hennis plays basketball, and his football coach says he runs the floor well and has a soft touch on his shot.

"That shows what kind of athletic ability he has," Blackstone said. "He weighed 340 as a freshman, but he's lost weight each year. If you see him, you would think he only weighs about 285. He's lean, but he's going to have a great future."

Blackstone says not to underestimate Bates, either.

"I really think they are two of the best players in central Ohio, or maybe all of Ohio," the coach said.

Game time changed: The start time for Kentucky's Nov. 26 basketball game with Georgia State in Rupp Arena has been moved to 8 p.m. from its original start time of 7 p.m. due to a television conflict.

The game will be seen live across the state via the UK television network.

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