By this time next week Mark Stoops will have finished his first recruiting class at Kentucky and what class it is turning out to be. By now you likely know that UK beat Louisville for 3* WR Alex Montgomery and then flipped Nebraska commit Marcus McWilson, a 4* safety and Rivals250 player. Those two commitments would normally equal the total excitement for an entire recruiting class in Lexington. Fans don’t realize it yet because the class isn’t finished but it is simply astonishing what these new coaches have been able to accomplish in the time that they have had. A week from now a lot of heads will be turned by what Kentucky has done.
- As of Friday, this class could be much better. Top RB target JoJo Kemp is set to decide on Friday, as is 3* WR Jeff Badet. Kemp is expected to choose the Cats at this point and the fact that other running backs have been turned away points to the coaches feeling confident. Badet had basically already decided on Kentucky last week when Wisconsin and UCLA came calling. There was some concern after he scheduled a visit to UCLA, but he has now canceled his visit, making Kentucky his likely destination as well.
- As of this time James Hearns has not committed to UK. Despite what you hear, he isn’t a “silent commit” and hopefully websites trying to get a scoop don’t tick off any more. That being said, don’t get too discouraged about him denying a commitment. Kentucky is his leader, considering his situation they may be his best offer at this point. He had a great visit and he will likely fax his LOI to Nutter Field House next week.
- Kentucky is getting involved late with a couple offensive linemen in George Adeoson and Nick Haynes, both 3* players. Adeoson is the epitome of a late-bloomer, last month he was recruited by William & Mary, now he will choose between a dozen BCS schools. Adeoson is hard to get a read on, but he marches to the beat of his own drummer, so anything could happen here. Haynes reportedly isn’t a fan of the cold weather as a Floridian. The chances of Haynes signing may be slim, especially with the other players left on the board. He is scheduled to visit this week.
- WR/DB Janarion Grant committed to Rutgers. Kentucky was involved, but Grant seemed to be lower on the wish list at WR.
- Kentucky is trying to get back in on 4* LB Skai Moore, a teammate of former commit Jalen Battle. Not sure what kind of chances the Cats have with Moore or if any sour grapes exist between UK and Battle, but you can’t count Stoops/Eliot out in this one.
- Not exactly recruiting, but don’t expect to see Braylon Heard in Blue & White. The Nebraska RB has decided to transfer and does comes from Cardinal Mooney HS, where Stoops and Marrow come from, but several factors make it unlikely. First is that he may have to get a release from Bo Pelini to attend UK, after losing Marcus McWilson , Pelini probably doesn’t like Kentucky much. Second, Heard is transferring in search of solid playing time and it remains to be seen if the Cats can offer that to him. If Kentucky gets JoJo Kemp, they probably don’t have a spot for for Heard. Third is the scholarship situation. A transfer wouldn’t count towards the SEC’s 25-man limit on recruiting classes but would take another spot off of the NCAA’s limit of 85 scholarship players per team. Unless UK strikes out with several wants next week, they won’t have room for anyone esle.
- By all accounts this staff will recruit a different caliber of player than Kentucky is accustomed to seeing, at least the volume of players. Previously you could expect UK to recruit three or four highly-rated guys, then drop two of them during the summer due to lack of interest, then lose one to another school, then the other. Then right around Signing Day, one of the disinterested players form the summer would somehow regain enough interest to take an official visit. Which would get canceled at the last minute. There will be drama involved with high-level recruiting but don’t expect to lose all of these battles like before. This staff is chock full of recruiters and they won’t settle . That being said, it sounds like the coaches have their board set for the remaining spots in this class and if they don’t get their guys, then they will pack it in and call it a day. They won’t settle for lesser talents just to fill their class. This is important for the next class, because the SEC allows you to count early enrollees toward the prior year if you didn’t take a full 25.
- BOLD PREDICTION: Kentucky will finish with a better recruiter class than both Louisville and Tennessee.