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By LARRY VAUGHT
KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s football recruiting has managed to extend its recruiting scope under new coach Joker Phillips to St. Louis.
First it was defensive back Glen Faulkner that verbally committed to UK and now East St. Louis Senior High (Ill.) teammate Clint Tucker, a defensive tackle, has become KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ninth verbal commitment in the 2011 recruiting class.
East St. Louis coach Darren Sunkett believes the 6-2 Tucker is a special player because he bench presses 395 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds. His coach also says TuckerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s agility is above average for a defensive lineman.
He has scholarship offers from Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville and Arkansas and had heard from numerous other schools like Alabama.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tucker is an excellent prospect. He’s disruptive, and plays hard,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Allen Trieu, a regional scouting analyst for Scout.com.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tucker is a beast. Just a proto-type defensive tackle that has great strength, quickness and intensity,Ã¢â‚¬Â J.P. Rock, a recruiting analyst for Scout.comÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ShowMePreps.com site devoted to University of Missouri athletics. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is raw still but learns quickly and has a great upside. He was at a combine I just was at and pushed up 225 pounds 23 times. He also ran a 5.0 (second) 40 (yard dash)Ã‚Â at 299 pounds..
The 190-pound Faulkner had 60 tackles, three interceptions and one quarterback sack last season while earning all-conference honors for the Flyers, who annually rank as one of the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top prep team.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think Faulkner was a huge pickup for Kentucky. On film, he is one of the best safeties in the country,Ã¢â‚¬Â Trieu said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I really think heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be an impact player in college. Faulkner is a kid I think would have picked up quite a few offers had he not committed and UK did a great job of getting in on him early and getting the verbal. He has great size, athleticism and ball skills.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Both recruiting analysts says getting into East St. Louis High thanks to new assistant coach Tee MartinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s connections is big for Kentucky.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think getting two kids like them early, as well as establishing a pipeline to a school that always produces lots of talent, was a big time coup for Kentucky. Had the process gone longer for both of them, I think they would have both landed more offers,Ã¢â‚¬Â Trieu said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is big for Kentucky since East has been a football factory for decades and has a history of producing very good college and pro players,Ã¢â‚¬Â Rock said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Great pipeline if UK can tap into it.Ã¢â‚¬Â