Kentucky picked up it’s third (public) commitment for the 2014 class today and did so in grand fashion. Four-star Ohio RB Mikel Horton announced today at Rivals’ Cincinnati Skills camp in front of a load of other talented prospects. Horton had several BCS offers but chose the Wildcats primarily over Vanderbilt, Louisville and Florida State. Yes, that Florida State. Speaking with Fox 19’s Joe Danneman Horton said “I want to be that guy 30 years later doing an interview with ESPN on how UK (football) became what it is today.”
Recruits have taken notice. A variety of players have congratulated Horton on joining the Wildcats, while others have expressed how impressed they are by the class so far. If Kentucky can pick up a few more impressive early commitments, there could be snowball effect among talented targets who want to get on board. And I think they will. Horton, along with previous commits Dorian Hendrix and Thaddeus Snodgrass, are part of a clique of local players who have all visited Kentucky and have often talked of playing together in college. That group includes 4*s Darius West, Derek Kief and near 4*s Mike Edwards and Darryl Long. That group is also friends with Kentucky’s top in-state targets Drew Barker and Matt Elam. At least one of those players will be committing within the next week. Hopefully it leads to another and another, etc. Here are some reactions from recruits after Horton’s commitment today:
— Matt Elam (@FballIsLife69) April 20, 2013
— Terry Googer (@D1MANOS) April 20, 2013
3* LB Chris Frey
S/O to my boy @mikelhorton1 for getting that MVP and committing to UK!
— Chris Frey Jr (@Cfrey07) April 20, 2013
Recently Ohio recruiting expert Bill Greene handicapped Kentucky’s class eight players from the talent-rich Buckeye state, within the next two months. If Kentucky can pull that coup off, it’s hard to imagine top QB target Drew Barker going elsewhere. Recruiting is all about relationships and momentum. If UK can pull in that kind of talent and most of them are friends with Barker, it will go a long way in his recruitment. Until recently I was one of the few Kentucky writers who had a bad feeling about Barker. But after recent events, following him on Twitter, and some other behind the scenes stuff, I think UK is in good shape. Maybe not in front, but in good shape. I think Barker is looking for a reason to choose UK and the staff is doing everything in their power to provide him as many reasons possible. In regards to Mr. Elam, Kentucky is in great shape. It really only takes following his tweets to see who talks the most about. He did grow up in a Louisville family but UK is likely in the lead here.
How refreshing is it to have this much recruiting success in the most talent-laden state that borders the Commonwealth? As long as I have followed Kentucky football I have been told that we just can’t sign Ohio kids. And as a Northern Kentucky resident, I can confirm that there is a certain anti-Kentucky bias across the river. But Coach Stoops and Coach Marrow are getting it done. As several other writers have opined, Marrow may win Recruiter of the Year if he keeps this up. He already has reeled in two 4*s and a high 3* (who should be a 4) and is in on a dozen or so others. We all owe the man a debt of gratitude. It’s an exciting time to be a Wildcat.