Many Kentucky football fans have been eagerly anticipating Kentucky’s Junior Day, and after Sunday, few came away disappointed.
After all, when everyone wakes up Monday morning, Joker Phillips will have two more commitments than John Calipari.
One of those commitments for Joker is defensive-lineman Thomas Chapman.
Just like fans had a feeling they would come away with some commitments, Chapman came in with a feeling of possibly getting a scholarship offer.
“When I got to Kentucky I had a feeling, but it was a big surprise to me,” he said. “That was all I had been asking for. I wanted to play for Kentucky,” he added.
Some were surprised with the immediate reaction of Chapman, as he committed immediately on his first visit to the University of Kentucky.
However, he has his reasons.
“Even though it was my first visit, I felt at home. It felt like everyone cared about me and wanted me to be a part of Kentucky.”
It also proved to be a very emotional day for Chapman and his family.
“Things got real emotional. My mom was really proud of me for getting the offer and she cried.
Emotions cycled throughout the day for Chapman. This will be the day he will remember, though.
He is also very courteous and appreciative of the Kentucky staff for continuing to show interest in him, despite his nagging injuries and his torn ACL that he suffered during the season.
“Coach Phillips told me he and the staff had faith in me. Most teams didn’t pay attention to me because of my injuries, but they continued to follow me. That’s all I can ask for.
Of those teams, Chapman named Tennessee, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Louisville as the ones that were expressing interest.
Chapman described his rehab as going well and he is hoping to get back to action as soon as possible.
“Right now I’m at four and-a-half to five months in my rehab. I feel like I am 85-90% and I’m still improving,”he explained. “I will probably be ready for contact come Spring practice, but my coaches feel it is best for me to stay out of contact and go in shoulder pads and a helmet. They just want me to get back in the football motion.”
With both commitments Sunday, there are questions as to where Chapman and Josh Harris will play at Kentucky.
Chapman feels confident and thinks he knows where he will be playing come the 2012 season.
“I really like defensive-end. I think that is where I am suited in high school and it comes natural to me. But in college, I think I will be a defensive-tackle. Ultimately, I will just play where the coaches need me.”
Until Chapman puts on a Kentucky jersey, I’m sure the coaches (and fans) will want him to start recruiting players to come to Lexington to join him.
I asked him about it, and Chapman had this to say:
“I’m definitely going to talk to people about it. I know a lot of in-state guys and I would love to see them join me.”
Nevertheless, Joker Phillips has a great start to the 2012 class.
Grab a handful of players come the springtime, and others will continue to trickle in throughout the year.
Joker seems to have things looking good on the gridiron for Big Blue Nation to this point.
Follow Garrett Tucker on Twitter [URL="http://twitter.com/GTuckersports"]@GTuckersports[/URL] for more info on Kentucky recruiting.