With Joker Phillips

Q & A

November 22, 2004

Kentucky recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips talks about recruiting in this question-and-answer with sports editor Larry Vaught:

1. Why would a top in-state player want to play at Kentucky instead of Louisville?

"To help build something, plain and simple. Twenty-two years ago I decided to come build something (as a player at Kentucky). By the time we left we were 9-3 and going to the Hall of Fame Bowl. That's exactly what you sell, to build something from ground up."

2. Why should a high-profile out-of-state recruit come to Kentucky instead of another Southeastern Conference school or top 25 team?

"The chance to play right away and, again, the chance to build something. A chance to play right away is something we are selling and it's evident we mean what we say because we are playing nine of our true freshmen this year."

3. Is early playing time more important than anything else in recruiting right now?


"Yes. We also have to sell some positives that we are building our future on guys like Rafael Little and Wesley Woodyard along with an Aaron Miller and an Andre Woodson. Those are the guys we have to sell and tell recruits to come help these guys compete in the SEC."

4. What is the top recruiting priority for UK today?

"You always have to be looking for offensive and defensive linemen. It's probably a little bit more evident this year. We definitely have to get bigger, stronger up front. We have to be better skilled in the secondary. We are always going to look for a bigger, faster running back that is a little more physical and can withstand the punishment you take in the SEC. But every year it has to be offensive linemen, defensive linemen and defensive backs."

5. What is toughest obstacle you face in recruiting at Kentucky?

"We have to convince recruits that we are on the right track. We have to show some improvement. Kids want to know they can win two or three years from now. They want a chance to go to bowl games. We are selling a dream. Hopefully they can see the vision we have now."

6. Question you are asked the most often in recruiting?

"Who is that 6-7 receiver (Lonnell Dewalt) that you have? I get asked that a lot. Or is that big quarterback (Jared Lorenzen) still with you guys? We don't get the questions that a lot of people think you do. There is a reason why we are getting looked at by some big-time recruits. They see everything that is going on. The ones I am recruiting, I have explained to them that it will be tough the next few years, but we have to keep getting quality kids in here and improving the ones who are here. It's not easy, but it can be done and the dream we have can come true if we just all hold together."

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