By LARRY VAUGHT
New Louisville coach Scott Satterfield is quickly building a reputation with some Kentucky high school football coaches —but it is not the type or reputation or relationship a coach would normally want.
Coaches Doug Preston of state champion Franklin-Simpson and Josh Jaggers of Larue County are both miffed that scholarship offers were withdrawn to their players who verbally committed to the Cardinals in the spring only 10 days before the national signing date.
Offensive lineman Jack Randolph of Franklin-Simpson was the third player in the 2019 recruiting class to verbally commit to then Louisville coach Bobby Petrino on April 16. Larue linebacker/running back Anthony Adkins did the same in mid-June.
Randolph was driving home from an all-star football game he played in Sunday when he found out his scholarship offer was no longer valid. Adkins got word the same date. Preston said Randolph was told he didn’t have the “measurables” that Satterfield wanted.
Preston made no attempt to hide his feelings and went on a social media rant, especially since Satterfield never talked to his player. Neither did athletics director Vince Tyra. Jaggers said it was the same scenario for Adkins.
Preston called it a “pathetic, gutless, garbage move” on Twitter by Satterfield, who came to Louisville from Appalachian State. He said he would tell his players they could not trust Louisville because of this “low class move” by the new head coach.
“This isn’t about football — it’s about honor, loyalty and respect to a commitment. Something we place high value on in our football program. And something @UofLFootball should as well,” Preston posted on Twitter. “They want commit and loyalty from kids but the adults show no loyalty!! So who’s the kid in these scenarios!!”
Jaggers said Louisville’s move has left a “bad taste” with those at Larue.
“Under this new staff I’ll just say that they’ll have some bridges to repair around here because this community is so tight,” the Larue coach said. “Anthony is looked to as a son, and close friend to many around here. Here is an in-state kid that as soon as he got the offer wasted little to no time. He committed and was a firm one from almost the very day he was offered in June.”
Adkins has already been accepted to the Speed School of Engineering at Louisville. He also had an offer to West Point that he turned down with his commitment to Louisville. Randolph also plans to be an engineer — he turned down a scholarship offer to Stanford because of his commitment to the Cards. He made a 33 on his ACT and planned to graduate this month and enroll at Louisville in January before Preston said the “rug was pulled out from under him” by Satterfield.
Preston said Randolph didn’t apply for academic scholarships he likely would have received because he was set with the football scholarship to Louisville — and was told by Louisville officials that his scholarship would be honored even after Petrino was fired before the season ended. Now the deadline has passed for applying for most academic scholarships.
Both coaches have already had college coaches contact them about their players, but they also know signing day is Dec. 19 and not many high level Division I scholarships will be left after the early signing period ends.
“If West Point thinks you are good enough both as a person and a player, then you must be doing something right. He’s going to be just fine and then some,” Jaggers said about Adkins. “Louisville’s loss will be somebody’s big-time gain. He’s a brilliant young man, with a high character and a skill set that’s just as good. He could end up playing no telling what positions by the time his college career is over.”
Preston said it’s still hard to understand when other Louisville commits were “jumping ship” that the Cardinals bailed on two in-state players who had stayed firm in their commitments for months.
“There was no forewarning about this at all,” Preston said. “Jack’s focus was on our team. He had his UofL offer and was set to sign. He focused on helping us win a state title. Then we are hit out of left field with his.
“He is going to be just fine but it still doesn’t make this right to do this so late, or even the way it was done. Just shoot straight with the kid. If the new head coach doesn’t think he’ll fit the system, tell him that but also honor the offer it he still wants to come.
“This is just a business to them (college coaches). But it is not a business to the kid who made the commitment. He’s not getting paid to play. He’s just a high school kid. To us, it was not about playing time. It’s about education. I guess we have just been lucky this has not happened to us before. But how can we ever trust anybody recruiting for Louisville after the way he just got kicked to the curb at the last minute?”
Jaggers, who played at Kentucky before transferring to Campbellsville University to finish his career, understands the demands of Division I football. However, he also understands what is right and what is not.
“I understand from being at that level that it’s a cut-throat type business for both coaches and players, but how this was all handled is just bad business in my eyes,” Jaggers said.