The decision of where to play his college football career came early for Levon Livingston.
The question of exactly where he’ll play once he gets to the University of Kentucky remains unanswered.
Last month, Livingston became the first class of 2015 player with a four-star rating from one of the major recruiting services to announce his commitment to UK.
Most of the recruiting websites list him as a defensive end, but Livingston told the Herald-Leader that he prefers to play offensive tackle, and UK’s coaches have told him he’ll have the opportunity to play that position for the Wildcats.
Rivals.com analyst Adam Friedman expects Livingston to make an impact no matter which side of the ball he ends up on.
“Levon is an interesting prospect,” Friedman told the Herald-Leader. “Pretty soft spoken, but he’s a different kind of guy on the field. He has a huge body. There’s a lot you can do with a guy like him. I’m sure they’re trying to figure out right now whether he’s going to play offense or defense. He could play that defensive end role. He could fill out and end up being a tackle. You can’t teach his size and athleticism.”
Rivals currently lists Livingston at 6-7 and 250 pounds. Friedman said he has “great length” in his arms — an important attribute for a lineman — and described Livingston as “a very observant guy” who listens to coaches and is always looking to improve.
His coachable attitude will come in handy if he does indeed play on the offensive line. The Washington, D.C., native will have much to learn as he tries to transition to that position against Southeastern Conference competition.
Where he plays for the Cats will almost certainly depend on what he looks like when he’s ready to hit the field.
“He can really go either way, and it all depends on how he fills out at the next level,” Friedman said. “At 6-7, 250 — that’s a great starting point for a guy who’s going to the SEC. You can do a ton of different things with him. If he plays defense, he’d more than likely be a strongside end. On offense, he could be a left tackle if he gets the technique down and gets a lot of experience at that position.
“Getting that experience and understanding how a defensive end rushes is something that he needs to do. But once he learns that type of stuff, he could be the cornerstone of that line. He could really anchor down the backside of the quarterback.”
Friedman said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Livingston sit out as a redshirt player during his first year in Lexington. That would allow him extra time to adjust to SEC football and work on his body, especially if the UK coaches want him to play on the offensive line.
UK high performance coach Erik Korem and his strength and conditioning team have already drawn rave reviews for their work with the Wildcats off the field.
Combine that crew with Livingston’s can-do attitude, and UK could have a force on its hands a couple of seasons from now.
“The overall conditioning aspect for SEC football is totally different from high school, so it does take some time for players to get used to,” Friedman said. “The strength coaches are going to love it when they get Levon in there. You’re going to see a lot of progress with him in the weight room.”
Note: This is the fourth installment of a new feature that will look at one UK football recruit every week. Check the Next Cats blog next Monday for a story on another one of the Cats’ top targets for the class of 2015.