The Kentucky Wildcats football recruiting actually got some mention on ESPN today, but it was not about their top five national class. It was for offering a 7th grader.
Kentucky offered a scholarship to seventh-grader Jairus Brents on Thursday after the 13-year-old participated in a football camp at the university this past weekend.
While the offer might cause shockwaves across the college football and recruiting platforms, it is not much reason for celebration for Brents, a Class of 2018 cornerback from Indiana.
“It’s not a big deal. It’s just an offer,” Brents said.
“It’s a good accomplishment, but I’m focusing on being the best cornerback ever and working hard.”
Colleges cannot make handwritten offers to prospective recruits until their senior year of high school, although there is no NCAA rule against verbal offers. Colleges cannot publicly discuss specific recruits until they sign a letter of intent, which Brents will not be able to do until 2018.
I’ve seen the comments on the internet and most of them are basically not worth reporting. Fact is, a verbal offer really means nothing at this point. It’s just telling the kid, “Hey, keep what you are doing and we are going to be interested in you”. Other schools have done this and been mocked as well, most notably Pete Carroll at USC, but for Kentucky, I like the move as it could open up a very valuable pipeline deep in the heart of Louisville. UK cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley has made the connection with Brents’ godfather Chris Vaughn and it could be a vital connection. ESPN has more:
Vaughn lives in Louisville after playing at both Louisville and Notre Dame, which was followed by a short stint with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. Vaughn is the founder of a training facility in Louisville and works with Brents as well as some of the area’s top prospects.
“It’s not even close. [Brents] is a different breed of kid. He’s super competitive,” Vaughn said. “He expects to win every route. He’s one of those kids who lights up the competition. Jairus is the best skill kid in the state right now.”
The 5-foot-8, 152-pound Brents was put into a group with all Class of 2014 receivers at the Kentucky camp. Brents intercepted three passes and broke up several others. He will also attend camp at Louisville, Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky this summer.
The kid looks like the real deal and by making the verbal, Kentucky got in on a kid that looks like the real deal before anyone else … including Louisville.