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Taking a look at some of Kentucky's football recruiting options for 2011


By Kyle

With spring practice wrapped up and the draft behind us, football recruiting should start to really pick up steam over the early summer. Kentucky can afford to be a lot picker than in years past partially because they have fewer scholarships available, and partially because the past classes have left Kentucky well stocked with young talent at each position group. After breaking down the roster and seeing that this will be a smaller class than has been signed in the last few years, I decided to make some early guesses at who Kentucky’s top targets are and who they might end up with at each position. I accounted for some over-signing that’s typically expected with each class and guessed which positions Kentucky would address based on the current roster and the junior class. It’s extremely unlikely that UK lands all of these guys, but these are some of the best bets at each position.

C.J. Uzomah – Suwanee, GA
There are so many connections to Kentucky on the coaching staff at North Gwinnett High School that it’s hard to count. Bob Sphire would be the big one though and he would know that his star QB would be well taken care of in Lexington where he is familiar with the staff and area. C.J. is considered an ATH by some recruiting services, but figures to play QB at Kentucky.

Artaves Gibson – Memphis, TN
The list of suitors for Gibson grows by the second. Kentucky has been after this power back for a while and he would provide the smash-mouth Running back that Kentucky hasn’t had since Artose Pinner was running over defenders. The competition will be steep for Gibson’s services though and he’s anything but a sure thing to Kentucky.

Shamier Jeffrey – St Matthews, SC
I’m listing Jeffrey as a receiver despite the fact that Kentucky has offered as a QB because I think he would fill more of a Randall Cobb type role than that of a traditional full-time QB. He’s simply too gifted to not see the field as early as possible and he could provide some immediate dividends as a receiver. He’s been quoted recently as a Kentucky lean, but South Carolina will fight to the end to get him. Worth noting that Shamier’s older brother Alshon is a star receiver for the Gamecocks.

Theltus Cobbins – New Orleans, LA
Cobbins is an unknown name to most Kentucky fans at this point because he plays in New Orleans, and he’s a high school QB. Kentucky has shown a knack for converting athletic Quarterbacks into successful receivers and Cobbins could fit the bill for the 2011 class. He’s not super fast, but he shows great lateral quickness and a superb initial burst when in the open field. Cobbins name should be more familiar to Kentucky fans as the year progresses

Rashad Cunningham – Mobile, AL
Cunningham is probably the best fit of all the receivers UK is recruiting for Kentucky’s pro-style offense. He isn’t as fast as some of the smaller guys, but he can go across the middle and make the tough grab, stretch the field with adequate speed, use his height to dominate the end zone, and use his size and strength to block on rushing plays

Jon- Davis – Louisville, KY
Current Kentucky commit may be the best overall player in the state. He can play a range of positions, but looks to fit best as a Tight End or H-Back receiver. It will be hard for Kentucky to hold onto him as his talents are elite enough to play almost anywhere in the country, but Coach Phillips and Coach Turner will be working hard throughout the season to ensure that he suits up for the Wildcats next September.

Darrian Miller – Lexington, KY
Current Kentucky commitment is a consensus top 20 Tackle in the country, but also shows some promise along the defensive line. Should be easier to hold onto him, considering he’s coming from the shadows of Commonwealth Stadium, but Alabama, Tennessee and several other high profile schools have shown interest and he still has several scholarship offers on the table.

Zach West – Lexington, KY
Kentucky got in late in the Zack West sweepstakes despite him being right here in central Kentucky. West will provide his college team with an option at Tackle or Guard and has the size, strength, and speed to contribute right away. Kentucky is still the favorite to land their second hometown lineman, but Penn State, Tennessee, and Louisville have made a push while Kentucky was pursuing higher rated players.

Nick Martin – Indianapolis, IN
Martin’s father played at Kentucky and his older brother Zack was thought to be a UK lean during his recruitment, before ultimately choosing to go to Notre Dame. Nick offers a college team a good frame, sound fundamentals, and a mean streak you want in your offensive line players. South Carolina, Michigan State, and Indiana have all been pursuing him recently and a Notre Dame offer is on the horizon. He grew up a Kentucky fan though, which should

Tarik Cook – Stone Mountain, GA
Cook is an intriguing OL prospect and could fit anywhere from Center to guard to Tackle. At 6’3 and 280 pounds, he’s already got the size to contribute at the SEC level, but with Coach Oliver on staff, he could be a future NFL prospect before long. Cook hails from Stephenson high school and his former teammates might help push him to Lexington.

Jesse Hayes – Cincinnati, OH
The staff has been on Hayes for as long as any player in the class. The competition is stiff (that’s what she said) but the relationship built by Joker with the Hayes family should pay dividends. Keep in mind that Ray “Rock” Oliver worked with Jesse’s father when he was with the Bengals and one more connection to the program never hurts.

Christian Coleman – Milan, TN
As Defensive linemen come, few are more physically impressive than Coleman. He has the size and athleticism to play Defensive End, but could also play Tackle with some added weight and strength. He’s being recruited by former teammate Avery Williamson to Kentucky and it’s hard to ever count out a recruit with a high school teammate already on board (see Randall Cobb, Tyler Robinson, Braxton Kelley, Mister Cobble, Qua Huzzie, Jabari Johnson, Ronnie Shields, Tristian Johnson, etc).

Allan Carson – Oxford, AL
Carson is one of the top Defensive Tackle prospects the Cats are offer with good reason. He isn’t as tall as many other prospects at the position, but he carries about 315 pounds, which added to his low center of gravity, will make him nearly impossible to move. Kentucky got in a little later on his recruitment and may have to make up some ground to overtake Tennessee, but the possibility of playing for Coach Turner might be too good for Carson to pass up.

Lamar Dawson – Danville, KY
Dawson will be neck-and-neck with Jon Davis as the top prospect in the state of Kentucky throughout the season. They’re both similarly sized, and have comparable measurable, but Dawson has seen his stock as a defensive player skyrocket whereas Davis has garnered more publicity on the offensive side of the ball. The obvious connection to the UK program would be current recruiting coordinator Chuck Smith and his history with the Boyle County football program. Dawson is a player that has an extremely bright future ahead of him, and hopefully that future will be in a Kentucky uniform.

Brandon McGowan – Suwanee, GA
There always seems to be an under-the-radar type Linebacker that picks UK out of nowhere and this ye
ar that guy might be Brandon McGowan. He hails from the same North Gwinnett high school as QB/ATH C.J. Uzomah and shares all the influences that might push him to Kentucky. He has the length and size to play at either of the Outside Linebacker positions.

Glen Faulkner – E. St. Louis, IL
Faulkner must have felt really good about Kentucky, because out of state commitments are rare as early as he pulled the trigger. He has the size to play Safety and the speed to play Corner, so there is some flexibility as to who else is recruited in the defensive backfield. It might be hard for Kentucky to hold onto him until signing day, but if possible, he could be another player with high upside and the ability to have an early impact.

Jared Boyd – Stone Mountain, GA
While some schools are likely scared off by Boyd’s height, Kentucky has a place for a play-maker even if he’s only 5’9. Boyd can get underneath the receivers pads to redirect the routes on passing plays, but will need to get a little bigger if he hopes to provide run support in the SEC. He’s another player with former high school teammates that will be on the roster, so it would be wise not to count him out. Kentucky may get lucky and get a package deal with Boyd and Cook.

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