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Ohio receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass had several big-name football programs that wanted him to make campus visits. Instead, he ended his recruitment by announcing Friday he would sign with Kentucky in February.
“You could almost predict it because that was the place he visited the most and kept coming back for more,” said Springfield High School coach Eric Gillespie. “He liked the school, the staff, the players. I try to give my kids a perspective of how important a life decision this is and all the factors that should go into it. Some kids love all the attention that goes with this today, some don’t.
“I try to tell my kids this is not just a football decision. You have to fit on the campus, have to be able to get the major you want. How far is it to the school. I presented all those questions to him so he could make a well-informed decision because everywhere he was looking at had great facilities, good coaches. But he told me, ‘I’ve seen enough.’ That’s when I knew Kentucky was it for him.”
The 6-1 Snodgrass, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, is ranked among the nation’s top 200 prospects and is the highest ranked receiver ever to commit to UK. He had narrowed his choices to South Carolina, Louisville, Virginia and Kentucky before picking the Cats.
“Kids in general are not real history buffs and don’t romanticize about football like I did as a kid. So I don’t know if he’s even aware he’s the highest rated receiver to ever commit there,” Gillespie said. “I think he just liked everybody and feels this is the right spot for him.
“I also think the distance to Lexington is good for him. We are in the heart of Big Ten country, but we are two hours away from a SEC school. That is a rarity and made a difference with him. He’s away from home playing in the SEC, but he can also get in his car and get home for a weekend if he has a break.”
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown’s offense also helped sway Snodgrass, who did attend the Blue-White Game Saturday after making his verbal commitment a day earlier.
“He did mention how much he likes the offense,” Gillespie said.
The coach says Snodgrass’ commitment to Kentucky was well received by Springfield fans.
“Kentucky resonates here. Kids from here think Kentucky is big-time,” Gillespie said. “They really have a (recruiting) platform to build on here and I think coach (Mark) Stoops understands that. If UK walks in, it means a lot more than if Indiana or Illinois (out of the Big Ten) does. Kentucky creates a buzz here.”
Since Snodgrass cannot sign with the Wildcats until February, other schools likely will continue to recruit him and hope to change his mind. Recently Alabama linebacker Denzel Ware withdrew his verbal commitment to UK. However, Gillespie thinks Snodgrass “is done” and does not expect him to attend camps or combines this summer.
“I told him to be sure when he made his choice. Now as long as nothing changes on Kentucky’s end, nothing should change on his end,” the coach said. “He needs to be true to his word and will. It’s not legally binding, but you should stand by your commitment. If Kentucky goes to the Wishbone or a position coach leaves, then that’s different. But if nothing changes at Kentucky, he will stay committed.”