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By LARRY VAUGHT
Scout.com recruiting analyst Amy Campbell has only been covering the Florida high school beat for a few months, but she knows that recent University of Kentucky commit Jalen Battle is a player she really likes.
“He loves the contact, which is great in the SEC (Southeastern Conference). Also, I think it speaks volumes about his ability that he went into spring practice with no (scholarship) offers and finished the spring with eight,” Campbell said.
Here are some other insights she shared about Battle (and check out the video she posted of her interview with him).
Question: Why do you say he is one of your favorites? What is there about his game/personality that you like so much?
Campbell: “Jalen is one of my favorites for several reasons. I haven’t known him that long, I met him during spring this year and he was somewhat sidelined with a broken bone in his hand, so I actually didn’t get to watch him play in person. I love his attitude. He works hard, but he’s fun, he’s got a great sense of humor, and he’s definitely a motivator. He has a nice, chill vibe as well. I think players really respond to him. Seems to be a friend to everyone. We had a lot of conversations on the sidelines while watching his team practice and he was a great source of info for me. He’s kept up with me pretty regularly since spring and is just really a great guy.
The guys coming out of the University School program are all guys with character and they have good heads on their shoulders. Coach Harriot has done a great job to teach them more than just football, but how to conduct yourself as an athlete and person. I can’t say one bad thing about anyone in that program.”
Question: Any surprise to you that Kentucky seems to be doing so well recruiting in Florida this year?
Campbell: “I’ve only been covering recruiting in Florida full time for two months, but from what I’ve seen, Kentucky seems to be doing very well. The SEC sells itself, and I think a lot of the kids are excited about Lexington as a place to live as well. The coaches seem to be doing a good job of building strong bonds and getting guys excited about what the program is doing. Jalen has a teammate, D.J. Woods, who was also somewhat recently offered by Kentucky. I think with Jalen there, there’s a good chance D.J. might come a long too. We shall see…”
Question: From your perspective, what is the overall take on Kentucky football right now and do you think he will remain firm to UK no matter what kind of record Kentucky has this year?
Campbell: “I think unless something crazy happens, Jalen will stick with UK. Unless he has some sort of crazy senior season and Miami or Alabama or LSU or USC offers … I think that might be the only thing that would maybe make him take a moment to think about it. Not saying he flips, just saying he explores the options if that happens. Being in the SEC, Kentucky has a good reputation, and with the success UK is having in Florida, the Florida kids seem to be liking it more and more.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky has reached into Florida again to pull out a 2013 football commitment.
Jalen Battle picked UK over Illinois, Tulane, Massachusetts and Navy. The 6-3, 180-pound safety from Ft. Lauderdale has not made a visit to UK, but will do so in the weeks ahead. However, he’s talked to other UK commits as well as checked enough information to know that he wants to play for the Wildcats and secondary coach Mike Cassity.
Obviously, academics should be no problem for him since he plans to major in pharmacy.
He’s confident he can make an impact and told Scout.com that Kentucky is getting “a ball-hawking defender, a playmaker, a showstopper.”
He also calls his commitment “solid” even though he continues to receive interest from other schools.