Everyone is excited about Kentucky football right now. The future is very bright for Coach Stoops and the program as a whole. And while some fans will be surprised to see how much talent the Wildcats already have on campus once they are properly managed and coached up, recruiting needs to improve to take the next step. It seems like nobody knows that better than UK’s new football staff, as they have aimed high from the get-go in recruiting. It would be acceptable or even expected for a new staff at a losing school with only a month-and-a-half to recruit to go out and accept whatever they can get for this year and maybe try to flip some guys they recruited before. But these coaches have gone out and recruited All-Americans.
They already signed Junior College All-American Za’Darius Smith last month, now they are hot after 4* JUCO defensive tackle Ben Bradley, who expects to visit UK and Auburn this week before deciding between the two. They are also recruiting JUCO Top 50 cornerback Nate Willis and wide receiver JaVess Blue.
The Under-Armour and Army All-American games have been decidedly lacking in blue since their inception. Only a handful of prospects have listed Kentucky as an option on the nationally televised games. An even smaller portion have chosen the Wildcats, Glenn Faulkner and Micah Johnson being the most recent.
This year is different. 4* receivers Ra’Shaad Samples and Shelton Gibson have already talked about Kentucky to the media. Cornerback MacKensie Alexander still lists UK as a top 5 school and makes sure to mention them whenever asked about his leaders. If defensive end Jason hatcher reneges his pledge to Southern Cal, Kentucky is in his top 3 along with Florida. Word is that the coaches feel really good about possibly flipping Hatcher. WR James Quick, OL Hunter Bivin, WR Tony Stevens, and LB Mike Mitchell are all holding Kentucky scholarship offers.
Top dual-threat quarterback Asiantii Woulard, who was named MVP of the Elite 11 camp this year, is highly interested in UK. According to an interview with his father by Larry Vaught, Kentucky leads for Woulard and he could commit as soon as his upcoming official visit if he likes Lexington. Woulard is an Army All-American but won’t play in the game due to a ankle injury suffered in his final high school game.
That list alone holds more top prospects than Kentucky has had serious interest from in the last 5 years combined. Inking Woulard and even one other player mentioned to go along with Smith and current 4* commit Alvonte Bell would be an instant improvement over any recruiting class in the new millennium. It’s important that the coaches ride the wave of good publicity and hope that comes with being the new guys to sign some good players this year. So much of recruiting is about building relationships with players and their families, so it’s very exciting to think of what these coaches could do with a whole year to recruit the next class. If they can sign a respectable class in February and show signs of improvement on the field this fall, 2014 could be a huge year for Kentucky recruiting.