Last Tuesday I wrote about some of Kentucky’s offensive recruiting targets that participated in the Rivals Camp Series in Columbus, Ohio. Several of those guys made the top performers list and the MVP of that offensive group was wide receiver Alex Stump who, over the weekend, committed to Kentucky.
Today I want to talk about the top performers on the defensive side of the ball and those who Kentucky is actively recruiting.
Let’s start with the No. 1 top performer on defense, linebacker Darrin Kirkland, Jr. who hails from Indianapolis Lawrence Central. Now, if I had written this article last week, I wouldn’t have even mentioned his name because I didn’t think he was a realistic possibility for the Cats. But as last week started to wind down, two things happened to make me change my mind on him. One, Darrin scheduled a visit to Kentucky for this Saturday and two, he pushed back his original commitment date. So, that doesn’t mean that Kirkland is Kentucky’s to lose or that they are even one of his top schools but it does mean –at least to me – that the 6’ 1” 233 lb. No. 6 inside linebacker in the country is considering Kentucky. Here is what Rivals.com recruiting analyst Adam Friedman had to say about Darrin’s performance;
Kirkland proved to be the best linebacker in a loaded group. The Rivals250 member has excellent footwork and was putting on a clinic during the position drills portion for the camp. When it came time for one-on-ones, Kirkland stepped up to every challenger. He showed that he has the speed to run with any running back or tight end and was able to make some plays on the ball while it was in the air. Kirkland broke up a number of passes en route to winning the linebacker MVP award.
Coming in at No. 2 is Dublin, Ohio linebacker Nick Conner. The 6’ 2” 223 lb. 4-star is rated as the No. 8 inside linebacker in the country and most believe Kentucky is at the top of his list. As of right now, it would be hard for me not to think he is Kentucky’s to lose. Here is what Adam had to say about Nick;
Kirkland and Conner were neck-and-neck throughout the day for the linebacker MVP award. Conner is a bigger linebacker, but is still very athletic and moves well in the open field. He also had very crisp footwork during position drills. One of Conner’s biggest strengths is his length. He made it very difficult for quarterbacks to get the ball to the tight ends and running backs.