…and Other Things to Expect in ’22 

by Steve Byrd

One of the most important things to expect this coming football season is a proliferation of players within Kentucky who chose to transfer to other schools. 

During the past school year, it was reported that some 1500 student-athletes in the Bluegrass State requested transfers, nearly twice the norm.  Contributing to that increase was a law passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2021, which required each school district to have an open enrollment policy by July 1 of this year.   

“What it does is basically opens up the borders,” Ludlow school district superintendent Michael Borchers told LinkNKY.net.  “There will be no more agreements between districts; any student can go to any school.” 

Pulaski Co. superintendent Patrick Richardson, on the other hand, told the Commonwealth Journal of Somerset last March that the legislation would make his job more difficult. 

“I feel like they’re trying to fix problems with Jefferson County (Louisville) and some of the larger districts across the state,” said Richardson. “Instead of dealing with them personally on those local levels, they are trying to blanket-punish the entire state in order to accomplish that.” 

Be that as it may, among the student-athletes who took advantage of the new open enrollment law are quarterbacks who made big moves to schools with powerhouse football programs that just graduated their previous starters behind center. 

One is Montavin Quisenberry, who had a breakout ’21 season with over 1000 yards each in passing and rushing.  The sophomore’s move from Garrard County to Boyle County gives the defending Class 4A Champion Rebels added depth at quarterback.  Combine that with a host of returnees such as UK commit Tommy Ziesmer, could improve their chances at a “three-peat”. 

Up the road at Frederick Douglass High in Lexington, the 5A runner-up Broncos obtained a talented passer in Cole Carpenter.  He enters his junior year after throwing for nearly 900 yards with the Eagles.  Like Boyle, Douglass has many great returning players, including a pair of top-20 statewide senior recruits who have already locked up major-collegiate commitments: defensive back/wideout Ty Bryant (Kentucky) and linebacker Jamarrion Harkless (Illinois). 

Not to be outdone in the quarterback transfer department, Lexington Christian, coming off a narrow 2A title game loss, got sophomore Cutter Boley from LaRue Co.  UK and other SEC teams are already showering him with offers following a season in which he had close to 1400 yards passing. 

Two other big offseason transfers involved the crossing of state lines.  Cornerback Antonio Robinson, already committed to Wake Forest, changed from a private school in Miami, FL to Highlands High in Ft. Thomas.  And just like that, Robinson became the top-ranked senior recruit from Kentucky. On the other side, a former top-ranked recruit, defensive end William Spencer, moved across the river from Kentucky 6A runner-up Male to Indiana 5A semifinalists New Albany. 

Speaking of Indiana, high school football there has gone through reclassification.  Jeffersonville’s enrollment was high enough for a move back up to Class 6A.  That puts the Red Devils on a tougher road to the title, particularly because their sectional, #8, includes defending 6A Champions Center Grove.  On the other hand, low enrollment forced Providence down to 1A.  Sectional 48, come playoff time, has the Pioneers dealing with the likes of Springs Valley and West Washington. 

Kentucky has reclassification coming up next season, but they changed their football playoff format just months ago to the former cross-district concept.  To give you an idea of how that would work, if Male were to play St. Xavier in the playoffs, it would happen no later than in the quarterfinals, as opposed to a championship game. 

Oh, and what about the rules?  One big change involves defining the “chop block” foul to being both above and below the waist, matching that in the NFL, instead of previously being above/below the knee.  Another would allow the quarterback to throw an incomplete pass without penalty if he is outside the pocket, and the ball reaches the line of scrimmage. 

And there will be more expected, and unexpected, things to happen during the course of this coming high school football season.  Find out about our live high school football broadcasts, starting Friday, August 19th, on GLICOD.com.