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Kentucky Wildcats Football: New Faces Litter Recruiting Board

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Dec 2, 2012; Lexington , KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops waves to fans before being introduced a the new football coach at the University of Kentucky in the Nutter Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

It was a given that when Mark Stoops was hired and brought in a new offense and defense that Kentucky fans would see a shake-up of the Wildcats recruiting board. Thus far Stoops has actually  honored a surprising amount of Joker Phillips 2013 commits, possibly due to the short amount of time until National Signing Day. Be that as it may, Kentucky is now involved with several players that had no previous contact with Phillips.

Beginning with the offense, the quarterback position is likely done with Reese Phillips. UK put an offer out to UL commit Kyle Bolin, but no one believes it to be a serious situation. It seems like they are looking for a running back, however. Kentucky has recently gotten involved with Cincinnati decommit Aregeros Turner who will visit next month. Texas Tech RB commit Daryl Chestnut is rumored to be looking at the Cats, Neal Brown and Chad Scott would be assets in his recruitment. Florida RB Stafon McCray is another recent offer. Finally Vince Marrow may  be behind offering OH RB/ATH Godwin Igwebuike, a former Nebraska target who is committed to Northwestern. Running back would seem to be a luxury given the depth on campus, but some of those players don’t really fit the new offense and could depart.

After signing Steven Borden Jr. and holding a commit from Darren Dowdell, UK is likely done with tight ends for 2013. The same could be said for offensive linemen, barring a defection among current commits. Kentucky is thin at center, but without a mid-year JUCO signing, it becomes a need to be filled from within. You don’t want a true freshman starting at center in the SEC, or anywhere for that matter.

That leaves wide receivers. Prior to signing day, UK only has 6 scholarship receivers, with a couple of academic risks included. They are changing to an Air Raid offense, they are going to need more pass-catchers. Currently they holds verbals from DeAngelo Yancey and Jevontey Smith, although Smith hasn’t confirmed that his offer will be honored. With so much youth on offense, it makes sense for the Cats to pursue some JUCO receivers, the first of which appears to be 3* Javess Blue. Blue is considered a top JUCO prospect and will visit Kentucky in January. Last week saw UK get an official visit from 4* Ohio WR Shelton Gibson, although most believe Gibson is Ohio State-bound if they want him. Another new name is Marquez Valdes, from Florida, who holds offers from UC, UL and Iowa State. The crown jewel at WR would be Oklahoma State commit Rashaad Samples, a 4* who was looking hard at Texas Tech before the coaching change. He recently discovered Big Blue Nation of Twitter has been very receptive. And finally, it looks like the Texas connection is coming into play now that the coaches are pursuing 3* Houston commit Donald Gage. Gage’s recruitment has really started heating up recently.

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