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By LARRY VAUGHT

Murray coach Chris Hatcher was a standout Georgia high school and college quarterback and also coached in Georgia as well as a stint at Kentucky where he eventually was offensive coordinator under Hal Mumme.

It’s no surprise to him that Kentucky has seemed to focus its out of state recruiting on Georgia. The Wildcats have 12 verbal commitments for next year and five are from Georgia players.

“There are a lot of good players in Georgia. I saw a study where Florida is one, Georgia is two and Alabama is three in players who sign Division I scholarship per capita. Texas, California and Florida are tops on signing the most, but every place in Georgia has good players,” said Hatcher.

“It’s close to Kentucky, too. Atlanta, the largest city in the south, is five hours from Lexington. It’s just an easy ride. (UK coach)  Joker (Phillips) has a lot of ties to Georgia and has done real well down there.”

Hatcher thinks the arrival of running backs coach Steve Pardue, a Kentucky native who built a powerhouse at LaGrange, Ga., that sent multiple players to Kentucky (Wesley Woodyard, Braxton Kelly, etc.), will only enhance UK’s recruiting in Georgia.

“I know him real well. If you can coach, you can coach and it will not matter where you are at. He has a good mentor in Joker and they have a lot of experience on that staff. Being a head coach at a successful high school like LaGrange, he has seen millions of recruiters come in. You always pick things up to help you,” Hatcher said. “The biggest adjustment for him is probably being on the road and being the recruiter instead of being recruited now. But he will do great. He is a great coach and great guy. Great asset to that staff.

“Everybody in Georgia knows coach Pardue. Just a great guy. I don’t know anybody who can say anything bad about him. I have never heard anybody say a bad word about him. If you are a coach and can coach that long and nobody say that, you must be doing something right.”

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