When Kentucky legend Craig Yeast’s son Russ Yeast de-committed from Kentucky, it should have been like any ordinary 16 or 17 year old making a college decision. The pressure that comes from being a high school football star adds extra scrutiny, but these decisions — most non-binding until Signing Day — should be meaningless.
When it came from the son of a treasured alumnus, the all-time leading receiver in school history, perhaps it raises some eyebrows.
In the world of college football though, sometimes these sensible attitudes get lost. Passionate fan bases will attack those who reject them rather than move on as the de-committed player has. And when it came to a player and a person so close to the program, it got particularly nasty.
The comments hurled at Russ Yeast after his de-commitment struck an especially raw nerve for his former Wildcat father. It was frustrating to see fans turn on him and attack his kid that way.
“Look, I love Kentucky, always have, always will,” Craig Yeast told Mark Story of the Lexington Herald-Leader. “I’m for Kentucky in everything. Football. Basketball. Baseball. Softball. Soccer. If the Cats are on TV, I’m watching. But Russ Yeast is not Craig Yeast. And he decided Kentucky was not the best place for him.
“I do wish — in my heart — he would’ve gone to Kentucky. Because I love Kentucky,” Craig Yeast continued. “But that’s not the decision he made, and it’s his choice. My wife and I, we both just want Russ to go where he will feel comfortable — and he decided that wasn’t Kentucky.”
That might have been the response Yeast wished Kentucky fans had. Instead they attacked the entire family on social media.
There were fans accusing Yeast the elder for steering his son away from Kentucky after he was allegedly passed over to be the wide receivers coach for Joker Phillips and then again under Mark Stoops.
Yeast denied those rumors, saying he hopes to one day coach at Kentucky but he is not forcing the issue. His son’s decision was his own.
Russ Yeast is the 41st best cornerback in the country according to 247Sports Composite Rankings. He has a number of different offers still on the table, including reported interest from Alabama.
It was a frustrating time after Russ de-committed. But ultimately he did what he thought was best for him. And his family supported him.