Whether they were at the game or somewhere watching on television, Kentucky recruits agree that UK’s 10-7 win over Tennessee on Saturday was “exciting” and certainly something they hope to build on during their future careers as Wildcats.
“I was actually out with friends watching at a restaurant after we finished practice,” said Highlands quarterback Patrick Towles. “In my lifetime, we had never beat Tennessee. Never. I was at the overtime game a couple of years ago with my leg over the side of the field and ready to rush the field (when UK¿lost).
“It was awesome to see Kentucky get over that hump and finally beat Tennessee. I saw the fans rush the field and carry (Matt) Roark off the field on TV and loved it.”
Indianapolis offensive lineman Jon Toth was at the game — and on the field mingling with UK¿fans during the postgame celebration.
“I went right out there. It was exciting being a prospective student-athlete in that position,” Toth said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be out there as a player when that happens again. It was definitely exciting to see Kentucky, which did not have the best year, finish the season with a win like that when they had not beat Tennessee in 26 years. It was a pretty electric atmosphere in there after they won. Fans running on the field like that were a sight to see.”
Here’s what some other players who have also verbally committed to sign with Kentucky in February thought about the win along with more from Towles and Toth.
Jordan Watson, offensive lineman, Fayetteville, Ga.
He had planned to attend the game but that changed after his grandmother passed away last week and he decided to stay home with his family. However, he says he “watched the whole thing” on TV.
“I was about as fired up as I have been in a while,” Watson said. “Watching and seeing Roark (a receiver who was forced to play quarterback) play so hard and lay his heart on the field was incredible. After the game, seeing the fans storm the field was incredible. I would have given anything to be there. Beating Tennessee is better than bowl games. I know what that win means.
“Obviously, I hope it is a sign of things to come. I definitely could get used to beating Tennessee every year. I think things are really looking up with the program. We are losing some good players like (Danny) Trevathan, (Winston) Guy and three offensive linemen, but I am excited about the future. The fans are crazy, and I¿like that. It’s a great place for me and we will be building on this Tennessee win for years to come.”
Watson noticed that several recruits, including Kentuckians Patrick Graffree and Towles, posted Facebook comments after the game as did Toth.
“There was a good bit of buzz among recruits about the game. Then I read a lot of blogs. There was just a lot going on,” Watson said.
Daron Blaylock, linebacker, Marietta, Ga.
He thought it was “neat to see fans charge the field” after the game and watched parts of the game on TV.
“It was so exciting. I am so happy for (UK coach) Joker (Phillips) and (assistant) coach (Greg)¿Nord,” Blaylock said. “I was already solid with Kentucky, but it was pretty cool that fans will react like that and cheer us on. I never had any doubts about coming to Kentucky, but this made me really feel good about my decision.”
His brother, Zack, a safety, will also be coming to UK¿with him. They have Walton High School in the state semifinals this week or they likely would have been at the game.
“It has been a while since our team has gone this far, but we think we have a great chance to win,” Blaylock, who has also been used on offense and has 10 receptions this year, said. “I have played well on defense and just want to finish the season strong and then get ready to be part of the Kentucky program.”
Josh Harris, running back, Maysville.
He’s had a difficult season because a foot injury required surgery and forced him to miss almost the entire year. That’s partially why he enjoyed being at Commonwealth Stadium so much Saturday.