By LARRY VAUGHT
His friends Kash Daniel of Paintsville and Drake Jackson of Woodford County were enrolled at Kentucky for spring practice and got a jump start on their collegiate football career by graduating from high school a semester early.
Yet Lafayette’s Landon Young has no second thoughts about opting for a chance to win a state heavyweight wrestling championship (he did) and state titles in the shot put and discus (he won one, finished second in the other).
Now he’s at Kentucky for the summer term and working out with teammates. He spent much of spring practice at UK watching the Wildcats and how new offensive coordinator Eddie Gran might use him at tackle. He knew the pace would be faster — more like the U.S. Army All-American Game he played in and impressed national recruiting analysts.
“Just the pace of plays run and getting in and out of the huddle was a big difference then and will be at UK, too,” Young said. “I tried to keep pretty close tabs on what they were doing all spring. I did private training and lifted a lot (of weights) during track, too. But I also know when I get to UK I am going out there balls of flame and trying to get a starting position.”
Young got to talk to both Gran and quarterback coach Darrin Hinshaw often about their offensive philosophy to see what their methods would be like.
“They were just scratching the surface of what they have in spring practice and remember the offense did dominate the defense in the last scrimmage,” Young said.
The 6-7, 310-pound Young says he was glad to know Gran had no issues playing a true freshman offensive lineman. Young thinks he could play left or right tackle and noted the way tight end C.J. Conrad produced as a true freshman last year.
“To play as a freshman in the SEC shows the talent a guy like C.J. has,” Young said. “Same with me. If I work and show what I am capable of doing, I will get playing time if not start my freshman year.”
Young, just like Drake Jackson, picked UK in large part because of offensive line coach John Schlarman, a former UK player.
“He is really a good guy and is one of the main factors I committed as early as I did to Kentucky,” Young said. “You will not find a much better guy and he’s a heck of a coach, too. He pushed for me and I will not forget that.”