When OT George Brown released his top five schools, it was a literal “who’s who” of traditional SEC powers with the Kentucky Wildcats thrown in. Browns top five was the Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators, LSU Tigers, Georgia Bulldogs and Kentucky. All of the teams have won national titles and are perennial Top 25 programs sans Kentucky. But just as with the Matt Elam recruitment, Mark Stoops finds himself standing alone on judgement day staring down a traditional SEC power for a key recruits services.
And this time, it is down to Kentucky versus Florida.
Brown discussed both schools and what they have going for them.
Florida: “I definitely like all the coaches. I talk to a lot of players there like Duke Dawson, David Sharpe and some others. And I’ve been talking to a lot of the commits.”
Kentucky: “It’s close to home. I know a lot of players there. My cousin signed there, Mike Edwards. We went to the same school last year.”
Relationships were the deciding factors for Brown.
“Just the people overall,” he said. “The coaches have a part in it, the players that are there already and some of the commits.
“I’m ready to play college ball with them. It’s definitely a blessing to have this opportunity. Sometimes the recruiting process does get a little stressful. I can’t wait to be done with it.”
So it sounds as if the decision is made and it is one that Brown is comfortable with no wavering and uncertainty. So who will it be?
For a long time, it seemed as if Kentucky was the de facto leader, but the buzz coming out of Gainesville has been very strong and the Gators may have passed UK.
“It comes down to Florida and Kentucky,” said Rivals.com analyst Josh Helmholdt. “With Florida getting his last visit on Monday, that probably gives them the edge.”
Helmholdt later characterized it as “a slight edge” for the Gators. He covers the state of Ohio for Rivals and has followed Brown’s recruitment as closely as anyone.
The coaching staffs at UK and Florida both have reason for optimism going into the announcement.
Brown has visited Lexington several times, including last weekend when he was in town for the Friday Night Blue Lights festivities. But his final visit was to Gainesville this week, which gave the Gators an opportunity to make one last impression.
Another thing to consider is Mike Edwards. Edwards will not enroll in Lexington until January due to an injury. However that injury will put him in the same freshman class as Brown. The two have played together before and the change for them to experience UK together for the first time together could be a big factor as well.