The Kentucky Wildcats were a late entry into the Michael Bush Stakes Race, but have seemingly positioned themselves in a good position with the four-star Louisville athlete coming down the homestretch.
“Everything was real smooth,” Bush said of his official visit to Lexington the weekend of Jan. 25. “I got to see the whole campus and all the facilities, and they’re really good. It kind of surprises you how good all their facilities are, both for football and academics.
“I got to meet the whole coaching staff and most of the players, too. They’ve got a real tight family atmosphere there. Antonio Hall was my host. He’s a real nice guy; told me that’s how their whole team is. They do everything together.”
Bush, a member of the Rivals100 team and the No. 3 athlete in the nation, said he continues to be impressed by new UK offensive coordinator Ron Hudson, who joined Rich Brooks’ staff after years of guiding one of the nation’s most explosive teams at Kansas State.
“He’s a big reason why they’re in the race right now,” Bush said. “We got to sit down and look at his offense real close, and I like what I see. It’s an offense where they really get the quarterback involved in the running and passing game. It’s wide-open. That’s the way I like to play.”
So how do the Cats stack up when it comes time to make a final decision between UK, Louisville, Ohio State and Tennessee?
“They’ve got a good chance now,” he said. “All four teams are in there. I’m going to visit Louisville (last weekend), that will be my last one, then I’ll sit down with my family and we’ll write down all the pros and cons of each school, try to come up with a decision by Feb. 5.”
Bush decided to make a visit after UK coaches made an in-home visit two weeks ago.
“Kentucky came to visit me here at home (Wednesday) night,” he said. “Coach Brooks, coach Hudson and coach Joker Phillips were all here to talk to me and my family. It was kind of cool to have three coaches here at the same time. It showed me how much they really want me, so I decided to make an official visit to Kentucky this Saturday.”
He had previously marked the Wildcats off his list while Guy Morriss was head coach, but says Brooks’ staff has impressed him with their efforts.
“They’re starting a little late on me, but I don’t hold that against them,” Bush said. “They just got hired, but it’s an impressive group of coaches. I like their new offensive coordinator, coach Hudson. He’s got a lot of fire and intensity behind him when he speaks to you. He told me about when he had Michael Bishop at Kansas State and envisioned me as the same type of player -- spreading the field and throwing the ball a lot, letting me run and make things happen. I liked the sound of that.”
Ohio State and Louisville have been perceived to be his leaders for weeks, and Tennessee has made a hard push of late, culminated by his official visit to Knoxville on Jan. 17.
“I liked it a lot,” he said. “It was right up there with Ohio State. Great people, great facilities at both schools.
“I don’t have a favorite, though. It’s still open between Ohio State, Tennessee, Louisville and Kentucky.”
The Vols’ Phil Fulmer followed that up with a trip to Male High School and an in-home visit last Thursday night. Unfortunately, Bush suffered an ankle injury during basketball practice, putting a damper on things.
“Coach Fulmer was real nice,” he said. “He rode over to the hospital with me to make sure everything was OK. I’m probably going to be out of action for a week or so.”
Bush, Kentucky’s reigning “Mr. Football,” finished his senior season with 2,891 yards passing and 35 touchdowns. He also rushed for 911 yards and seven touchdowns. As a junior, his primary position was wide receiver, catching 64 passes for 1,090 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He is also a member of the Rivals100 team and the No. 3 athlete in the nation and is the Bluegrass State’s “Mr. Football” and a leading candidate for the top award in basketball as well.