UK Notebook: Brooks will keep Phillips involved in UK's recruiting

December 10, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Joker Phillips might be Kentucky's new offensive coordinator, but head coach Rich Brooks has no intentions of taking him out of the recruiting process.

Phillips, a former UK player, has been Kentucky's recruiting coordinator and will keep that title until after signing day in February. Then Brooks will name a new recruiting coordinator so Phillips can have more time to spend on the new duties he assumed after former coordinator Ron Hudson resigned before the Tennessee game to end the season.

Brooks said the new recruiting coordinator will handle organizational things like planning visits and scheduling when coaches go recruiting.

"Joker is still going to recruit, like all of our coaches, and Joker certainly will still be on the road doing the recruiting," said Brooks. "During the season, because he's the (offensive) coordinator, he probably won't be out but maybe two or three days that the other coaches are out. Other than that, he'll be recruiting full-time and do the excellent job that he normally does."


Brooks, who recruited in nine states during the last week, said several recruits are reconsidering Kentucky's place in their recruitment. Three in-state players who have verbally committed to Louisville - Covington Catholic offensive tackle Mike Donoghue, Fairdale running back-defensive back Maurice Grinter and Paducah Tilghman receiver Lamar Alston - have indicated they will now visit UK.

Brooks said several recruits will be on campus this weekend and more the first weekend in January.

Did Hudson's resignation and Phillips' promotion help recruiting?

The Kentucky coach denied that Hudson's resignation and Phillips' promotion has helped recruiting.

"I think the thing that has gotten a few more commitments is just the hard work of the coaches that have been recruiting," Brooks said. "It's an advantage when you are able to sit down with players face to face in their home or high school and do that. I don't think the (staff) changes had anything to do with. I thought recruiting was going very well before the changes, I've said that all along. I think this staff can recruit. They can evaluate and recruit."

Phillips helped UK sign one of its best recruiting classes in recent years in 2004. The Wildcats used nine true freshmen during their 2-9 season

"He's a bright, young coach who has probably been overdue to be a coordinator," Brooks said. "I think this is a good situation to give him his first opportunity. Everybody has to get that first opportunity somewhere. I'm glad I'm able to do it for Joker."

With the resignation of linebackers coach Ron McBride to become the head coach at Weber State, Brooks now has to hire two assistants.

Several sources at UK have confirmed that he's considering hiring at least one high school coach and is in the process of interviewing coaches now.

"I'm just looking for the best coach. I'm looking in-house. I may shuffle a coach to a different position," Brooks said Thursday. "I'm either going to hire a quarterbacks coach or a running backs coach. I had one interview today and another this afternoon. I will continue to go through this process. I would expect that on the offensive side, I'll interview at least five or six individuals in person before I reach a decision.

"There's no timetable on it. It will be kind of open-ended because right now, although getting a good coach that fits in here is critically important, the most important thing for me right now is recruiting."

Dewalt update: Brooks said he told freshman receiver Lonnell Dewalt when he was recruited that he could play basketball if coach Tubby Smith wanted him.

" I'm not requiring that he does anything for football until he's done with basketball," Brooks said. "I haven't talked to Tubby since he's been out there. I'm assuming he's practicing. I don't know how he's doing, I've just been recruiting. I hope he's doing well and hope that he can be a guy that can help them."

Gone: Sophomore receiver Maurice Marchman plans to transfer to either Murray State or Western Kentucky. Junior fullback Rock Johnson also is leaving because he wants to be closer to his home in Cleveland.

Injuries: Junior offensive lineman Ernie Pelayo has been cleared to begin winter workouts in January after his recent shoulder surgery. Brooks said he might be able to get a sixth year of eligibility because he also had a shoulder injury in junior college. ... Running back Arliss Beach had surgery Tuesday to remove a bone spur on his ankle and may need arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder, too.

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