After a some big news on the recruiting front for Kentucky football last week and two camps this weekend, Cat fans are wondering what is next. It may be a while before we see any more commitments or big news. With limited rides to offer, the staff is being selective with the players they sign and have publicly stated that they want kids to commit when they are ready, no more Shadrach Thorntons. With the quality kids the staff is chasing this year, few will be available in February if a current commit flips.
The good news is that the current crop seems pretty solid. Jacob Hyde is a Kentucky kid and unlikely to go anywhere else. Alvonte Bell committed because of the comfort he felt with UK and his HS coach has been quoted in saying that Bell is relieved that the recruiting process is “over”. QB Reese Phillips is currently underrated and some worry what will happen if UT comes calling but Larry Vaught has an interview with Phillips and he assured fans, “I’m firmly committed to Kentucky. I’m sold on the city, the school, the football program and the coaches.” The main cause for concern is if the staff is let go, do these recruits like Lexington enough to stick?
Most fans assume that a bowl season is required for Phillips to at least keep his job. It may not be that cut and dry. This team is more talented than a normal Kentucky team and most of the talent is in the freshmen and sophomore classes. If the team ends the season with a losing record but played respectably and competitively every week, it could save his job.
During our football podcast last week, Kyle brought up a good point regarding Joker Phillips and his job security. If Joker and staff pull in more highly rated prospects and have a Top 25 recruiting class in December, it will be hard to fire him and blow up a strong class. Make no mistake, most out-of-state recruits (whom UK needs to compete) who choose Kentucky do so because of the coaches. Lexington isn’t exactly an exciting visit and the program hasn’t attained much tradition to sell. So if Phillips goes, likely so does half the class. Which would leave a new coach scrambling for a month to fill out a class with players he likely has no relationship with. A poor recruiting class could hamstring a new staff just like the dearth of talent at the end of the Brooks regime left Phillips wanting.