BOZICH | Craig Yeast proud of his U of L-bound son, disappointed in some backlash
Craig Yeast is proud of his son, Russ, for making his college choice, but disappointed to some reaction that Russ picked Louisville over Kentucky, where Craig was a star receiver.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The University of Louisville welcomed a four-star football recruit Monday when Russ Yeast of Center Grove High School in suburban Indianapolis committed to Bobby Petrino and the Cardinals.
Most days the four-star part is the lead of a recruiting story. Yeast will likely play cornerback although some rave about his receiving ability.
Not this story.
The lead of this story is Yeast is the son of Craig Yeast, who caught 208 passes for Kentucky, many from Tim Couch. That's still the UK record, one of several records Yeast set at Kentucky from 1995-1998.
Russ Yeast is also a teenager who committed to Kentucky when he was 15 -- and then de-committed before he chose to play for Kentucky's primary rival.
As you can imagine, with some fans this made Yeast about as popular in Lexington as Frank Kaminsky and Bo Ryan.
There were the usual splashes of champagne mixed with acid on social media. Craig Yeast, now the offensive coordinator at Franklin College, saw and responded to some of it.
Yeast answered the way any good father would respond. He praised his son for thinking through his decision while stiff-arming the critics.
"For me, (the criticism) have been slightly disappointing because … people say a lot of nasty things out there," Yeast said.
"At the end of the day, like I've said over and over, Russ is not me. I played at the University of Kentucky from 1995-to-1998 and the Lord blessed me. I had a good career there. I love the University of Kentucky. I would not be where I am if I had not had the opportunity to play college football and get an education at the University of Kentucky.
"The bottom line is Russ is not me. That was not the place for him."
That's a five-star answer to a situation that was inevitably going to lead to bruised feelings. Yeast would have disappointed and upset people regardless of the football program he chose.
Know this: Legacy recruiting is not a thing any more.
Picking a school because it is the program your father picked two decades early is not always the answer.
Louisville in 2016 is not the program it was in 1996, not with the Cardinals' move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, the No. 5 ranking in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll and the presence of Lamar Jackson, the primary Heisman Trophy candidate.
When Craig Yeast started his career at Kentucky the UK-U of L rivalry was booked for Commonwealth Stadium every season because Louisville's home was old Cardinal Stadium at the Fairgrounds.
Russ Yeast had his reasons. Sometimes you pick the school that best fits your skills, not the one that fits the family tree.
Ask the University of Louisville, which saw Nolan Smith, the son of Derek Smith, win a national championship at Duke, and Dajuan Wagner, Milt's son, pick Memphis over Louisville.
Ask Indiana University, which saw Connor Cook, the son of former IU tight end Chris Cook, quarterback Michigan State to the college football playoffs a year ago.
Ask Missouri, which saw Devin Booker, the son of Melvin Booker, a former Big 8 players of the year, play for … Kentucky.
The UK assistant basketball coach credited with doing the best work to help John Calipari excel in Lexington is Kenny Payne, whose face can be identified in Louisville's 1986 NCAA championship team photo.
It happens. It will continue to happen. It should happen if that is a son's preference.
"I think that when he put all the factors in and having lots of conversations with the coaching staff and being recruited as a corner and seeing who's probably going to be there and who's not going to be there and how he can fit in the scheme," Craig Yeast said.
"I think when you put everything in perspective and factor it all in, I think that, along with the academics, I think that is what really helped Russ make his decision. The excitement of the program obviously it certainly helps …
"I'm very proud that he's my son. He's a very good young man. He knows exactly what he wants. I think he's getting exactly what he wants and that's what's important to me."
For Russ Yeast that’s the University of Louisville.
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