DEMAREE: My Spring All-Gladiator team

DEMAREE: My Spring All-Gladiator team

One thing is certain that when you strap it up in the SEC, the first pre-requisite is toughness. Who is willing to play slobber-knocker football and have it in their chest (heart)? Based on the spring performances, we have chosen an All-Gladiator team that appears to be ready to go to war.

One thing is certain that when you strap it up in the SEC, the first pre-requisite is toughness. Who is willing to play slobber-knocker football and have it in their chest (heart)?

Based on the spring performances, we have chosen an All-Gladiator team that appears to be ready to go to war. Big time college football is war on each and every Saturday and whatever other day they play. That team consists of and we will expound: 1) Rafael Little; 2) Terrell Bankhead; 3) Andre Woodson; 4) Keenan Burton; 5) Justin Sprowles; 6) Trai Williams and 7) Joe Shuler.

We hearken back to some warrior type of performances in the past. There were many, but three immediately come to mind.

In the late seventies, early eighties, there was linebacker Scott Schroeder whose knees looked like railroad tracks when he finished his career at UK. We can recall once when he had his knee scoped and played two effectively two weeks later.

Then in the mid to late eighties, there was running back Mark Higgs who played with a broken nose on three occasions that we know of. In the '86 Tennessee game, he broke his nose in the first quarter and went on to gain over 100 yards in a 9-28 loss. In practice, his suffered a triad in on his knee meaning he blew out his ACL, MCL, PCL and also some meniscus damage and came back and played in 5 months - unheard of!

Finally in the nineties there was quarterback Billy Jack Haskins playing one of the most courageous games ever played on the Commonwealth Stadium field. He injured his shoulder early in the game that appeared nearly dangling and played in pain in a near upset 31-34 of Tennessee.

Running backs coach Ron Caragher said about Rafael Little: "I don't think I've been around in my career, a back that has taken more reps during a spring practice and stayed healthy the entire time than during spring practice. He's a very superbly conditioned athlete. He has very good strength, very good acceleration, and good speed.

"Justin Sprowles is a tough kid – he'll hit you. Now he's you ISO kick out (blocker) type of fullback. He's not afraid of people and will go up and strike people." Sprowles is short, compact and by reason of have short arms can lift the weight room.

Terrell Bankhead tore cartilage in his knee early in spring practice and with some other assorted injuries, played through it all and starred in the spring game. He really improved," Caragher said. "He made the biggest jump of a running back from last fall to this spring. He came a long way."

During the middle of spring practice, in one full contact session, Andre Woodson sprain a knee and an ankle and pushed through it to never miss a rep when called upon.

Wide receiver Keenan Burton took a lot of contact to be wearing a red jersey. Offensive guard Trai Williams who lifts the weight room (strongest on the team), while being dinged up, fought off the strong challenges of Micah Jones. Middle linebacker Joe Shuler showed Jeff Snedegar like physical and mental toughness.

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