Pretty happy that National Signing Day is soon. I’m running out of “blue chip” ideas.
Another weekend, another group of outstanding football recruits meeting with Kentucky’s new coaching staff. As we inch closer to National Signing Day (Feb. 6), the news continues to get better for the Wildcats. A ton of recruits who have decommited from their original choices are now heavily considering Kentucky. “Flipping” these guys would immediately bolster the talent level of the current roster and effectively put the lowly days of Kentucky Football behind us. There is a big contingent of players heading to Lexington this weekend. Here’s a closer look at all of them:
James Hearns – Linebacker; 6’3″, 235 lbs.; Tallahassee, FL
Rivals:4-Star, #8 LB
ESPN: 4-Star, #10 LB
Hearns recently told Rivals’ Justin Rowland that Kentucky is now his favorite and he could be ready to commit as early as this weekend. At 6’3, 235 this guy can immediately be plugged in at any of the linebacker positions and have success. With a flip of Hearns, the linebacker position on Kentucky’s defense will be immediately upgraded.
Jarran Reed –Defensive tackle; 6’4″, 305 lbs.; Chatham, VA
Rivals:3-Star, NR (JUCO)
ESPN: 3-Star, NR (JUCO)
Jarran, along with current UK commit Za’Darius Smith, played at East Mississippi C.C. where new UK defensive line coach, Jimmy Brumbaugh was 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. Besides Ole Miss and UNC, Reed received major interest from Alabama, Miami, and Michigan State. This should tell you all you need to know about Reed’s athleticism: He is 305 lbs and ran a 4.9 40-time. That’s pretty amazing.
Marcus McWilson– Safety; 6′ 0″, 195 lbs.; Youngstown, OH
Rivals: 4-Star, #16 S
ESPN: 3-Star, # 40 S
McWilson has numerous ties to Kentucky’s staff. He is from Youngstown, OH — where the Stoops family is from. He goes to Cardinal Mooney — where Mark and Bob Stoops attended high school. And finally, he is a current Nebraska commit, a place from where tight ends coach Vince Marrow is coming (Marrow is also from Youngstown and went to Mooney). All of this makes Kentucky an obvious candidate for his services and a real contender on signing day.
Keith Kelsey, Jr.–Inside Linebacker; 6′ 1″, 213 lbs.; Gainesville, FL
Rivals: 3-Star, NR
ESPN: 3-Star, # 46 LB
Son of former Florida Gator standout, Keith Kelsey, Kelsey, Jr. wants to step out of his father’s shadow and make a name for himself. Kelsey, Jr. has tremendous instincts and is a relentless blitzer. He’s is also great at diagnosing plays and outstanding in stopping the run. If he commits, he won’t be able to play MLB in on next year’s team with Avery Williamson likely starting. With his talent, though, I wouldn’t be suprised to see him challenge for the SLB spot as a freshman, he’s that good. Kelsey is expected to announce his decision on Monday with Louisville and South Florida being the other choices.
Corey Smith –Weakside Defensive End; 6′ 7″, 245 lbs.; New Orleans, LA
Rivals: 3-Star, #33 DE
ESPN: 3-Star, # 56 DE
One thing coaches can’t teach is size and Smith has a lot of it. At 6’7, he will probably have to put on more weight to completely fill out his frame, but once he does, look out. He has a noticeable burst off the line of scrimmage that screams potential. His high school team played a lot of multiple fronts, so he has outside and inside experience. He is also considering Tulane, Arizona State, and Louisville.
Nick Haynes –Offensive Guard; 6′ 4″, 294 lbs.; Niceville, FL
Rivals: 3-Star, #40 OG
ESPN: 3-Star, # 205 OG
Haynes is a mauler that is being courted by a ton of schools. He has a mean streak and is very good at pulling across the line to open up holes for the running back. He is also considering FAU, FIU and UCF.
Austin MacGinnis –Kicker; 5′ 11″, 175 lbs.; Pratville, AL
Rivals: 3-Star, #3 K
ESPN: 3-Star, #17 K
Kentucky fans, say hello to your kicker of the future. The kicking game struggled to be consistent last year, but that should all change once MacGinnis steps on campus. He and P Landon Foster should make up one heck of a special teams tandem from the next couple of years.
Justin Day –Offensive Tackle; 6′8″, 290 lbs.; Aiken, SC
Rivals: 3-Star, NR
ESPN: 2-Star, #178 OT
With some of the recruits committed to the former coaching staff being encouraged to look elsewhere, many thought Day could be the next one. New offensive line coach John Schlarman has gushed about Day’s potential, though, and looks to want to keep him in the fold. This guy has the size and could be a project tackle for a couple of years until he’s ready to play.
Ramsey Meyers –Offensive Guard; 6′5″, 307 lbs.; Orange Park, FL
Rivals: 3-Star, NR
ESPN: 3-Star, #87 OG
Meyers is another offensive lineman from the former coaching staff that Schlarman covets. Meyers is a tough, physical guard who looks to crush his opponents. His tape shows him pancaking defender after defender. It’s pretty remarkable. In an interview I did with him in December, he sounded like he really wanted to be a Wildcat.
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