Cornerback Cody Quinn helped Middletown (Ohio) to three straight 10-win seasons and state playoff berth and was ranked as the nation’s 68th best cornerback prospect last season by ESPN.com. He was a third team all-state pick with an interception return for a touchdown and 10 pass breakups even though teams seldom threw his way.
He’s been timed under 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as a junior, one reason Kentucky coach Joker Phillips plans to look at him on special teams as well as defense when UK starts preseason practice Aug. 3.
Question: What kind of player is Kentucky getting with cornerback Cody Quinn?
Everhart: “Aside from his strong character, he is extremely driven and works really hard. I just really like his work ethic. A lot of kids I¿have had over the 15 years of coaching, once they sign they kind of take the rest of the spring off and wait to report to camp.¿He immediately started right back in the weight room. Mentally tough. Fought through ... I¿meant it got to the point that nobody would even try to throw on him his senior year because he was so good and if they did he was so mentally locked in. Those are just attributes you don’t see from a 16-, 17-year-old kid. Aside from all that, you win with character and he is an extremely high character kid.”
Question: Have you seen him when he got a chance to get home from Lexington this summer after reporting for summer school at UK?
Everhart: “I have seen him once since he has been back. I have been impressed with how much he has physically developed. They have him on a strict regimen and it’s already showing.”
Question: What makes him unique? Is it is speed or toughness or something else?
Everhart: “He has great feet and incredible cover skills for a young player and the speed. You can’t coach that speed. I think at UK and continues to develop the coverage and the ability to come out of his back pedal and those things, that’s only going to accelerate his coverage abilities but nothing is going to replace the fact that even if he gets himself caught in a mess, he’s going to be able to make up for it with great speed.”
Question: With that speed, could you see him at least playing special teams this year as a true freshman?
Everhart: “Again, not knowing the depth chart, I would have to say yes just in terms of what he can offer you on kickoff team, punt team, return. His return ability is fabulous. He returned three kicks to the 50-yard line. He is just going to be a special player.”
Question: Is he as outgoing as he appears to be?
Everhart: “If you know Cody, you know he always has a smile on his face. He’s a fabulous kid. He keeps everything in perspetive. I think at the end of the night that the guys who don’t succeed and have the ability are the ones that lose perspective, lose focus, allow the peripheral stuff to kind of cloud them and/or allow other people to make judgments for them. With Cody, he’s very home driven, very centered — not conceited, but self-centered on these are the things I¿believe in and I¿am not going to allow other people or other things to influence that.
Question: How unique does that make him?
Everhart: “Part of it obviously has a lot to do with him and his upbringing. I think the other part has to do with how we run our program. We are all geared towards team and making our kids better. That is our job whether college coach or high school coach. It is about creating the ability for these kids to develop and what product are we sending to the college and what product is the sending out to the real world. From our standpoint, I have just been really impressed and pleased with the fact that our guys have bought into that and Cody has driven the bus in that regard.”
Question: What did you like about Joker Phillips as he was recruiting Quinn?
Everhart: “A lot of coaches, they are selling something. You can tell Joker is sincere. He bleeds blue and comes off that way. Joker wants to know more than about athletics. He wants to know about the character. When Joker goes to the house, and parents can smell when something is not right, his story does not change. He can magnetize them. A lot of times a guy changes when he goes from an assistant to head coach, but Joker is still the same. He tells you how it is and has things in the right perspective.”