On December 10th I wrote a post for KSRCollege.com titled “Dear Mark Stoops, I Hope This Helps”, providing my overview of what Coach Stoops could expect out of UK and the Big Blue Nation. One section of that article was focused on recruiting, and more specifically, making it more interesting for UK fans to follow. Well, I don’t think there will be any argument against the fact that in that regard, Stoops has definitely knocked it out of the park so far. Talented players that may or may not have had any interest in coming to Lexington are now looking at UK as a viable option to play football, and Stoops and Co. are hitting the trail hard. One of the biggest shifts in philosophy is that Coach Stoops is now going after high profile JUCO players to fill immediate gaps in the depth chart, most likely to avoid a youth crisis like Joker Phillips faced last season. All in all, you have to be pleased with Coach Stoops’ first month in office.
Tyler gave you all a Part 1 of this post yesterday, profiling the recruits who are set to visit in the next week. This group of promising young football players will be on campus January 18th and the 25th, so mark your calendars and get ready to swoon some teenagers (appropriately, of course).
Ryan Timmons – Wide Receiver/All-Purpose Back, 5’11 186lbs; Frankfort, KY
Rivals: 3-Star, #59 WR
ESPN Grade: 82 (#28 WR, #252 Overall)
More than likely Neal Brown’s #1 target on the offensive side of the ball for this recruiting class. Timmons is rated by ESPN as the 4th best player in the state of Kentucky, and that’s not without merit. Ryan’s statistics at Franklin Co. High School are ridiculous playing in the 5A division in Kentucky. He rushed for 1,260 yards, caught 29 balls for 970 yards, and scored 45 TD’s his Senior year of high school. According to ElevenWarriors.com, this is the 2nd year in a row that Timmons has led the nation in yards per touch (23.8 yards) and he also scored a TD every 2.3 times he touched the ball this season. Ryan will be visiting Kentucky on the 18th and from where I’m sitting, the Wildcats look to be in the driver seat with this in-state prospect. Timmons also has offers from Arkansas, Illinois, and Purdue, and will also be taking an official visit to Ohio State next weekend, although he has yet to receive an offer from them. However, Ryan has said himself that Neal Brown runs almost an identical offense to his high school’s and that was very appealing to him. Combined with his interest in the ‘Cats, I think if the visit goes as expected, Timmons should be a Wildcat next year.
Stafon McCray – Running Back, 5’11 196lbs; Kissimmee, FL
ESPN Grade: 77
The Senior Running Back from Kissimmee, FL ran for 1,760 yards and posted 25 TD’s in his senior season at Osceala High School, leading his team to an 8-1 record. McCray has said the Wildcats are his leader at this point, ahead of Marshall and Utah State. He also holds offers from Boise State, Cincinnati, NC State, and Arizona.
Javess Blue – Wide Receiver, 6’1 195lbs; El Dorado, KS
Rivals: 3-Star, #10 WR, #78 Overall (JUCO)
ESPN Grade: 83
The former Texas Tech commit from Butler Co. Community College decided to take a look at the ‘Cats after Neal Brown left to come to Lexington. Blue improved greatly over his 2 years at Butler Co. , catching 65 passes this season for 1,064 yards and hauled in 12 TD’s as Butler raced to a 13-1 record in the NJCAA. Javess also has offers from West Virginia, Texas A&M, Arizona State, and Southern Miss, but with a name like Javess BLUE, it has to be UK right?
Jeff Badet – Wide Receiver, 6’0 162lbs.; Orlando, FL
ESPN Grade: 77 (#100 WR)
Badet was formerly committed to South Florida, and along with Asiantii Woulard has decided to take a look at Kentucky the 2nd time around. He chose the Bulls over Boston College and Louisville originally but has narrowed his new list to Kentucky, Nebraska, NC State, and Wake Forest. Badet is a playmaker that is comfortable in the spread offense, posting 110 catches for 1,621 yards and 28 TD’s over his final 2 years of high school at Freedom High in Orlando. Hopefully a commitment from Woulard next weekend could help persuade Badet to rock the blue and white as well.
Marquez Valdes – Wide Receiver, 6’3 184lbs; St. Petersburg, FL
ESPN Grade: 72 (#172 WR)
Valdes is another WR used to the Spread attack, and that is reflected in his college list. Valdes was previously committed to Louisville but since has opened up his recruitment and has gained offers from Houston, Cincinnati, NC State, and Toledo. Marquez also recently picked up an offer from his hometown school, South Florida earlier on this week. ESPN says that Valdes has great body coordination and natural instinct, but that most of his work in college will be about improving game quickness and gaining bulk.
Nate Willis – Defensive Back, 6’0 180lbs; Yuma, Arizona
Rivals: 3-Star, #10 DB, #54 Overall (JUCO)
ESPN Grade: 78
Willis is a coveted player, consensus Top 40-50 player in the JUCO ranks with 21 offers from FBS schools, including Mississippi State, Kansas State, West Virginia, and Baylor. The speedy corner back from Arizona Western C.C. will be visiting Lexington on January 25th, a short week and a half before Signing Day, and the ‘Cats look to be in a good position. Willis formerly was committed to South Florida, but his final 4 schools will be Kentucky, West Virginia, Illinois, and Kansas State. Did I mention Willis runs a 4.4 40-yard dash? Willis was a basketball player in high school until he began playing football his senior year as a WR at Pahokee HS in Florida, but began picking up major D-1 offers last season after switching to defensive back and showing major potential. The Kentucky camp has even been pitching to Willis a shot for immediate playing time and possibly an early exit to the NFL Draft. This would be a huge pick-up for Kentucky, not to mention he already seems proficient in throwing up the 3 goggles, we’re just going to have to work on the hand placement.
Jarran Reed – Defensive Tackle, 6’4 305lbs; Chatham, VA
Rivals: 4-Star, #4 DT, #17 Overall (JUCO)
ESPN Grade: 76
Reed will be visiting Kentucky next weekend, another recruiting win for new Defensive Line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh since joining Mark Stoops’ staff. Jarran, along with current UK commit Za’Darius Smith, plays at East Mississippi C.C. where Brumbaugh was formerly the DL coach. Reed committed to Ole Miss on December 10th, but don’t be alarmed Cat fans, before that, he was also committed and then decommitted from North Carolina. Reed received little interest from any major BCS schools out of Hargrave Military Academy, but after a great Freshman season at East Mississippi he has picked up offers from Arkansas, Florida, and Mississippi State, and received major interest from Alabama, Miami, and Michigan State. Reed appears to be the most coveted of UK’s visiting recruits, which isn’t surprising considering he weighs 305 lbs. and runs a sub 5-second 40-yard dash. UK may be a longshot to land him, but with his D-Line coach now on staff at UK, you never know.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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