Kentucky Wildcats Football: Finishing the 2014 Class

Sept 15, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Alvin Dupree (2) tackles Western Kentucky Hilltoppers wide receiver Kadeem Jones (32) at Commonwealth Stadium. Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

July isn’t over, but Kentucky football now has as many (or more) commitments than they signed in the 2013 class total. Depending on which service you trust,UK has either 22 or 23 commits, with the difference being WR Tyre Brady. (For what it’s worth, I think Brady has verballed to UK but his qualifying status is questionable so it’s a judgment call) With the ability to back-count three spots, most expect Kentucky to sign a full class of 28 players, as several current commits plan on enrolling early.

 

With that being said, who takes the last five or six spots?Kentuckyis still hanging around the top schools for many top recruits around the country, so who do they take? And who do they turn away? What if the Wildcats perform better than expected on the field and make a bowl? Success could very well help convince some players who might otherwise be skeptical of the momentum inLexington.

 

Here are five players I think Mark Stoops would love to finish this class:

  • DT Matt Elam- This is a no-brainer.Elam is aKentucky kid who would also be the first official 5* player to commit toKentucky. As of right now it’sUK vs.Alabama and while that seems like a losing proposition, expectElam to be a Cat come February.
  • OL Marcelys Jones- Jones is committed toOhioState. Very solidly by most accounts. But there has been consistent chatter about his interest inUK for months. There is almost too much smoke not to be a little fire.
  • DB Marshon Lattimore- A teammate of Jones, Lattimore is the top player inOhio and has his pick of schools. He will likely end up a Buckeye, but players don’t pay for unofficial visits just for the fun of it.
  • WR Braxton Berrios- Wildcat fans love Berrios and so do the 2014 commits. IfUK had gotten him on campus before The Opening, odds might be in the Cats favor. Berrios has blown up the camp circuit and may wait himself out of a spot should he decide to commit.
  • WR Josh Malone/Derek Kief- Kind of cheating here with a combo-pick butKentucky would take both players in a heartbeat despite other commits at receiver. Kief committed to Bama overUK but the coaches aren’t giving up. Malone is one of the very top WRs in the country and surprised most everyone by taking an unpublicized visit toLexington recently. He came away impressed.

 

So that is a best-case scenario by most accounts. It’s highly unlikely that the Cats get those five or six guys to commit. It’s not out of the question to get two. Here is how I think it may actually shake out:

  • Elam
  • Jones
  • WR Dorian Baker- Baker is a guy who attended the last camp looking for an offer. He came away with one and reportedly dominated.UK is looking for a big-bodied WR and Baker fits the bill.
  • WR Moral Stephens/Blake Bone- With Baker likely in the fold, the coaches want another big receiver and both of these players would be excellent additions and could be competing for the same spot. Bone is a fluid athlete who could function as a deep threat. Stephens is a bulky receiver who could be used as a hybrid tight end/ receiver.
  • JUCO OL- The coaches have made it clear that they want to balance out the classes at offensive line and have offered several JUCO prospects with the caveat that they have to be eligible to enroll in December to take the offer.

 

So there you have it. Of course it won’t look the same in February. Decommits will happen, recruits will rise or fade out ofKentucky’s scope. Injuries occur. Attrition may change team needs. But I think it’s safe to say that the projections pretty closely match the positions that the staff are looking for right now. The month before signing day likely won’t be as exciting as it was this past year, but the results will be incredible.

Topics: Football, Kentucky Wildcats, Recruiting

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