Football Recruiting News
By Zack Geoghegan on ©November 15th, 2019 @ 8:30pm
A three-star running back out of Cleveland, Ohio will graduate high school early and enroll at Kentucky in January in order to participate in spring football, according to 247Sports.
Torrance Davis, ranked as the 11th best overall player out of Ohio in the class of 2020 and the 31st best running back in the country, committed to play for the Wildcats back in June.
Davis held nearly 20 offers from schools such as Penn State, Tennessee, and Cincinnatti, but was persuaded by the elite recuriting powers of Vince Marrow.
“I’m looking forward to getting to college and playing spring football,” Davis told 247Sports. “I have been dreaming of this since I was five-years-old and I’m 100% ready to get my college career started. I know it will be an adjustment but the coaches are telling me I have a good shot at playing next season as a freshman.”
Entering college a semester early is a big deal for high school seniors and allows them extra time to learn under the coaching staff and build their bodies in order to compete against SEC competition. Davis has already proclaimed that he wants to be the next Benny Snell.
KSR’s Adam Luckett did a great breakdown of Davis’ game and what he brings to Kentucky, which you can find here.
By Nick Roush on ©November 15th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
It was a big week for Jordan Lovett and not just because North Hardin plays rival Central Hardin Friday night in the second round of the KHSAA football playoffs.
The 6-2 junior safety from Radcliff, Ky. has been a hot commodity on the recruiting trail. Before this week, Cincinnati was the highest-profile scholarship offer he could claim. Tennessee extended a scholarship offer on Monday. Three days later, Louisville did the same, followed a few hours later by the University of Kentucky. Just like that, Lovett has three power five offers.
The exceptional athlete has risen through the ranks by his play on the field, not by impressing recruiting analysts at camps. Through 11 games he has 13 interceptions. He’ll have a chance to add to that total tonight at North Hardin High School. Lovett told Justin Rowland he’ll watch the Wildcats in-person tomorrow at Vanderbilt.
Lovett is not the only future power five player on North Hardin’s roster. Senior defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine will choose between Kentucky, Tennessee, Purdue and North Carolina on December 18. Along with Lovett in the junior class, Lavell Wright is the highest-ranked running back in the state. Wright holds offers from Tennessee, Kentucky, Purdue and IU.
Enough about his teammates, see what Lovett can do on the gridiron by checking out his 2019 midseason highlights.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 13th, 2019 @ 10:45pm
These are difficult times in Big Blue Nation, my friends. Can you remember a worse two-game skid in football and basketball? This could be it: the worst of the worst.
Saturday’s football loss to Tennessee was absolutely gut-wrenching in how it all played out with Kentucky blowing a lead and then failing to get one singular yard on two tries to win the game in the final minutes. The loss even had questionable coaching decisions, missed kicks, missed touchdown opportunities and a backup quarterback (Jarrett Guarantano, of all people) looking like a Heisman candidate to really pile onto the misery.
Then last night’s basketball game was an all-timer in embarrassment. Evansville? Evansville? You’re ranked No. 1 and you lose to a team from Indiana that calls themselves the Purple Aces and only won 11 games a year ago and finished dead last in the Missouri Valley? Evansville????? WHO LOSES TO EVANSVILLE AT HOME???? WHO LOSES TO EVANSVILLE ANYWHERE?????
Yet that is where we are in life as Kentucky fans. The Greatest Tradition in College Basketball can’t beat Evansville in Rupp Arena and Mark Stoops’ Wildcats dropped another rivalry game that should’ve been a win.
This sucks, but let’s try the glass-half-full approach and point out some positives going on (even if we have to pretend).
Kentucky can still go 7-5 in football and go to a great bowl game.
As bad as Saturday’s game was, the Cats are still in position to finish the regular season with seven wins. This is a season in which the team’s leader and starting quarterback, Terry Wilson, suffered a season-ending injury in the second game of the year. The head was literally cut off of the offense before the first league game of the season, and Kentucky can still hit the seven-win mark with a wide receiver playing quarterback.
Remember, this was always going to be a ‘down year’ for UK after losing a record number of players to the NFL from last year’s team. I don’t know about you, but I predicted a 7-5 season before it all began, so I’m satisfied with where they are through all of the adversity of losing two quarterbacks, having a brand new secondary, and not having one capable kicker on the team. Win these next three (and they’ll be the favorite in all three) and it’s all good with me. Heck, Kentucky had won seven games only five times in over three decades before Mark Stoops got them back to seven in 2016. We should be thrilled with a 7-5 year, given the circumstances, should it play out that way these last three weeks.
Last night’s loss should light a fire under Coach Cal’s team.
If John Calipari is good at his job, and if his current players are true competitors, the loss to Evansville will only make them better in the long run. The Cats quickly learned that the No. 1 team in America still has to show up with some fight, and that they’re not as good as the love they received after beating Michigan State, the previous No. 1 team.
UK should learn to never overlook an opponent, no matter the opponent, and that they have a long way to go to be consistently good. They don’t play again until Monday. Practice will be hell between now and then, and it’ll be good for them. All of them.
Turn this embarrassment into a positive and learn something from it.
In the big picture, the loss to Evansville isn’t that big of a deal.
It sucks today and Kentucky will be mocked for many months to come, but it will be a complete afterthought come NCAA tournament time. Last year’s Duke debacle taught us that. Just hang in there, BBN.
Recruiting is still up, so there’s that.
On the basketball side, Kentucky signed its first player of the 2020 class this morning, and he’s a good one. Terrence Clarke inked his Letter of Intent to confirm his spot on next year’s team. Clarke reclassified to get a head start on his college career, and 247Sports ranked him fourth overall among high seniors when he made the jump. He is the top-ranked combo guard and an elite scorer. 247 even called him a potential No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
Over on the football side where things can get a little dicey, Mark Stoops was glowing when talking about keeping his current class together before Signing Day. On Monday he said, “I was so encouraged by the recruiting aspect of it. There were guys texting me afterwards, ‘til late in the evening, picking me up and I was like, ‘I can’t tell you how much that means to me, I needed a little pick up right now.’ And guys were really encouraged and this is a special group. It’s a tight group. I think their unity within the commits is affecting guys that are on the fringe. I think we have a chance to put a special class together.”
The star of the group, five-star defensive tackle Justin Rogers, was at the game and reassured fans by posting a pic of himself with a UK football helmet just yesterday. Then I’m told an uncommitted visitor at the game, potential Auburn QB transfer Joey Gatewood, really enjoyed his time in Lexington.
All good news for the future.
Vanderbilt really sucks.
Please win Saturday. Please. I don’t know if we can go on if Kentucky drops Saturday’s football game in Nashville. Gotta win it. We need it. We all need it. Please destroy Vanderbilt. Please.
I hope this helped a little. If it didn’t, at least Floribama Shore starts back up tomorrow night with a two-hour episode.
By Nick Roush on ©November 11th, 2019 @ 4:05pm
Two days after Kentucky fell two yards short to Tennessee, I did not expect to see Mark Stoops smiling from ear to ear. That’s exactly what happened when I asked him what he said to recruits after the 17-13 loss to the Vols.
“I was so encouraged by the recruiting aspect of it,” he said as he searched for the proper words to convey his joy.
“There were guys texting me afterwards till late in the evening and picking me up. I was like, ‘I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I needed a little pick up right now.’ Guys were really encouraged. This is a special group. It’s a tight group. I think their unity within the commits is affecting guys that are on the fringe. I think we have a chance to put a really special class together. ”
Mark Stoops hasn’t smiled that wide since he told James Franklin who wears the real blue and white.
Kentucky’s head coach had plenty of future players to talk to after the game. A significant chunk of the 2020 commits attended the game at Kroger Field: Beau Allen, Andru Phillips, Earnest Sanders, JuTahn McClain, Tre’Vonn Rybka and Justin Rogers. Many worried the five-star recruit headlining the Cats’ class would reconsider his commitment, but he’s remained steadfast and vocally supported Kentucky since the season started. This weekend he even brought a teammate, four-star junior offensive tackle Rayshaun Benny.
— Rayshaun Benny ??? (@rayshaun_benny) November 11, 2019
Kentucky’s 16 commits in the 2020 class could help Stoops and Vince Marrow close out the recruiting year on a heater. With enough room to add eight or nine players, one player may have made up his mind after attending the Kentucky-Tennessee game. He said as much Sunday afternoon.
I think I’ve made my decision ?
— Tyler Baron (@Tylerbaron23) November 10, 2019
The fifth-ranked defensive end in America and Rivals’ No. 102 player overall, Tyler Baron is from Knoxville and his father works on Jeremy Pruitt’s staff. Also considering Ohio State, if UK convinces Baron to make the move to Lexington… to call it a huge win would be an understatement.
He wasn’t the only talented player in town. Joey Gatewood was once a top 50 prospect overall and the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in America. An enormous talent at 6-5 240 pounds, Auburn Tiger fans were upset when Gatewood entered the transfer portal. Many believed legacy recruit, Bo Nix, was handed the starting job, despite being less talented. Auburn’s coaching failure could end up being Kentucky’s fortune. Florida and LSU are also pursuing Gatewood, but UK got the first visit. He spent his weekend hanging out with Terry Wilson and Vince Marrow, first at Rupp Arena, then at Kroger Field. The trip to Kentucky could be Gatewood’s first and last visit. This is a big week as Gatewood considers his options.
— Joey Gatewood (@Joey1gatewood) November 10, 2019
Two four-star players from the Commonwealth have kept their recruitments quiet, and that should benefit Kentucky. Vito Tisdale was generating buzz from Oklahoma, Louisville and Tennessee, but the only news we’ve heard from the Bowling Green safety over the last six months are his intentions to announce his decision on national TV at the All-American Bowl. Tennessee recruiting followers believe they are the team to beat for defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine. Despite that, I’ve heard similar good feelings from Kentucky’s side after he unofficially visited over the weekend. We will ultimately learn Ox’s fate when he announces his decision at North Hardin High School on December 18, the first day of the Early Signing Period.
Before the beginning of the early signing period, Kentucky will reportedly host another talented defensive lineman for an official visit December 9. Josaih Hayes, ranked by Rivals as the No. 11 defensive tackle and the No. 166 player in America, the former Ole Miss commit has offers from Alabama, Georgia and LSU, but Miss. State is the only other school he’s visited.
In the secondary, Kentucky hosted four-star Baton Rouge, La. defensive back Joel Williams in October when the Cats took down Arkansas. The one-time Florida commit is also being recruited by LSU and Florida. A week later Kentucky hosted another Williams, cornerback Ronald Williams. A junior college prospect from Louisiana, he received offers from Oklahoma, Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama shortly after leaving Lexington.
— Ronald Williams Jr (@LongLiveZan9) October 27, 2019
As frustrating as this season has been at times, Kentucky’s 2020 recruiting class is giving Mark Stoops plenty of reasons to smile five weeks before the prospects put pen to paper.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©November 10th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
The result of Saturday night’s nightmare ending against Tennessee hasn’t deterred at least one high school football prospect from his interest in the Kentucky Wildcats.
Four-star offensive tackle out of the class of 2021, Wyatt Milum, announced earlier on Sunday that he has the ‘Cats in his top-6 list of potential college choices.
— Wyatt Milum (@MilumWyatt) November 10, 2019
The 6-foot-6, 273-pound tackle is ranked as the 41st best prospect in the country, according to 247Sports, currently holds offers from elite-level programs such as Alabama, Notre Dame, Penn State, Ohio State, and Oregon. Milum is rated as the ninth-best offensive tackle in the nation and the second-best overall player in West Virginia.
Milum is also a highly-ranked baseball prospect as a left-handed pitcher and throws an 88 MPH fastball.
We’ll take any good news in the football department right now.
Check out his sophomore season highlights.
The 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff vs. Tennessee is Mark Stoops’ last opportunity to use an entire game day to host prospective recruits. About six weeks away from the start of the early signing period, Stoops and Marrow are putting the blitz on top 2020 targets while also showing underclassmen a good time.
The biggest name in the building is Joey Gatewood, the highly-touted Auburn quarterback who just entered the transfer portal about a week ago. Florida, Miss. State and LSU are also in the mix. Another QB, UK commit Beau Allen, is expected to be on campus as well.
— Terry Wilson (@TerryTouchdown3) November 9, 2019
The other top priority on campus is Tyler Baron, a Knoxville native who’s also considering Ohio State and Tennessee. Beating one of his finalists, the one that currently employs his father in a quality control role, would surely make a positive impression for the four-star defensive end.
Another top defensive lineman considering UK and Tennessee may make the trip to Lexington, Octavious Oxendine, but I have yet to confirm if he will in fact attend the game. Oxendine revealed this week he will announce his college decision at North Hardin High School on the first day of the signing period. Steve Wilfong reports that JUCO linebacker Tyrus Wheat could make a visit this weekend. From Amite, La., the home of Amani Gilmore, he’s currently committed to Miss. State.
Many of Kentucky’s 2020 commitments will be at Kroger Field for the Saturday night showdown. Cornerback Dru Phillips will be making moves into colder territory from South Carolina, while running back JuTahn McClain is coming down I-75 for the game. Defensive tackle Justin Rogers will make the trip from Michigan with wide receiver commit Earnest Sanders and a talented underclassman, Rogers’ teammate Rayshaun Benny, a four-star offensive tackle ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 35 player at his position. A few other underclassmen that will be at Kroger Field Saturday:
— Robert Army, a 2021 6-foot wide receiver from Detroit, currently has an offer from UK, Purdue, Mizzou, West Virginia, Boston College, Iowa State and a dozen others.
— Huntsville, Al. defensive tackle Tyler Bence has an SEC offer from Vanderbilt.
— 2021 Tennessee quarterback Bryson Grabowski will be in the stands.
— Georgia defensive lineman Nick Cribbs is making a return trip to the Commonwealth.
— Junior running back and cornerback from Frederick Douglass High School, Darius Neal, is staying in Lexington to watch the Wildcats. He does not yet have an offer from UK.
— Junior offensive lineman David Hull hails from South Doyle, Tn.
— The Cats will have a kicker on campus. Tennessee native Connor Wood earned a 4.5 star rating after attending the prestigious Kohl’s Kicking Camp.
— Defnsive lineman Cartrell Ecford-Green will be representing UK’s recruiting contingency from Missouri.
The list is not complete but it should give you a good idea of what Kentucky’s recruiting goals are for their final night game of the season. The Wildcats are bringing in prospects from Michigan to Missouri and the Deep South to put on a good show while a top 10 draft pick, Josh Allen, returns home for a rivalry game.
By Nick Roush on ©November 07th, 2019 @ 11:01am
Kentucky’s top-ranked commit is returning to the Bluegrass to watch the Wildcats take on the Tennessee Volunteers.
Five-star defensive tackle Justin Rogers revealed on Twitter that he will be in Lexington this weekend along with another UK commit from the state of Michigan, wide receiver Earnest Sanders.
We going to be in Lexington ????? https://t.co/OLbx4Rwd5z
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) November 7, 2019
Kroger Field’s recruiting room will be crowded Saturday night. Former Auburn quarterback and top-40 overall prospect Joey Gatewood will be in the building. Josh Edwards reports four-star defensive end and Knoxville native Tyler Baron is also traveling to Lexington to watch the matchup between two of his top three schools.
Those are just a few of the big names that will be at UK’s final marquee recruiting game day event. Friday afternoon I’ll provide a complete list of the targets expected to be in town. There are now only six weeks until the start of the early signing period.
Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow ‘Put out Fires’ on the Recruiting Front Following Florida State Vacancy
By Nick Roush on ©November 06th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
When news broke Sunday afternoon that Florida State fired Willie Taggart, Mark Stoops sprung into action. The first thing he did was pick up the phone to make an important phone call… to Vince Marrow.
This week Stoops had no time for speculation in his interest in the Florida State vacancy. He was too busy contacting recruits to calm any concerns he may leave Lexington.
“What goes on in this world and this media with social media and all of that, I don’t mean to be so old that I can’t understand that but it’s just a little bit absurd how fast things go and people like to get out in front of their skis really far in that world,” Stoops said Monday. “That just needs to be addressed but nothing we can’t handle.”
He addressed it with the Big Dog. The two were up until almost midnight making calls to reassure UK’s recruits that they aren’t going anywhere.
“I’ve been putting out a lot of fires the last two days because their reporters for their schools, like the Rivals and 247, telling these guys that we’re gone after the season. Half of that stuff, we don’t have a clue what they’re talking about,” Marrow said Tuesday evening.
“This team’s going to be pretty good the next couple of years. I’m not speaking for Mark Stoops, but we’re going to be pretty good. We got a great class coming in. I was up to almost midnight trying to talk to all of our recruits as a whole because people are — you get a little break like that and people are going to start running with it. The guys have been on group chats talking among each other, worrying about what’s going on if that situation was true. Me and Mark sat up in his office and called a couple of guys and talked to them. We nipped that in the bud quick.”
Those conversations followed a week of intensive recruiting during UK’s second bye where coaches evaluated their final targets, made contact and watched them perform in-person.
“We planned for Tennessee and got a lot done early, so we were allowed to focus on a lot of kids that we’re about to close in on,” said Marrow. “We got a couple silent commitments, guys that we’re looking — you always gotta keep an eye on the transfer portal for guys that can come in and help this team. It was really a good break to have that and getting out to go see our top guys. I got to see guys play Friday and Saturday, which is good.”
The player not-named in the transfer portal is Joey Gatewood, the incredibly talented dual-threat quarterback who will visit Kentucky’s campus for the Tennessee game. Competing against other college football powers, Stoops believes their approach to the process sets them apart from the competition.
“I think you know by the way we do things, we try to be very intentional,” said Stoops. “I think a lot of people talk about a lot of things. We try to really show what we do and how we do things and the way we go about our business. When guys are going on and having success (in the NFL), I think it does nothing but help you.”
The Kentucky Wildcats got a commitment from another in-state kid. This time, it’s a walk-on from Somerset, Kentucky.
Jase Bruner is a 6-2, 235-pound linebacker in the 2020 class. He committed to the Cats Sunday afternoon.
All Glory to God ?? pic.twitter.com/Zi3fzbODl6
— Jase Bruner II (@JaseBruner1) November 3, 2019
Bruner currently has one Division-I offer from the Morehead State Eagles. Jon Sumrall was the lead recruiter on this one.
The Kentucky native put up solid statistics in the regular season this year. Through 10 games, he’s totaled 67 tackles, five TFL, one sack and two fumble recoveries. On the offensive side of the ball, Bruner rushed the ball 39 times for 311 yards and five touchdowns.
In 2018, Bruner was the District 7 Player of the Year, Team MVP, First-Team All-Conference and All-County team, according to his Twitter page. He also holds a 4.3 GPA and is a Kentucky Governor’s Scholar.
It’s always nice to see the Cats add an in-state kid, especially in the form of a walk-on.
Welcome to the family, Jase!
By Nick Roush on ©November 01st, 2019 @ 6:00pm
The Kentucky football team is not in action this week but Kentucky football recruits are.
After you watch the Wildcats take down Kentucky State on the hardwood, change the channel to ESPNU at 9 p.m. ET to watch one of Mark Stoops’ top recruits play on national television.
Joel Williams rocks No. 2 for Madison Prep Academy in Baton Rouge, La. Williams will play cornerback and wide receiver when his school hosts Parkview Baptist. A defensive back in college, he has a team-high 30 receptions and ten touchdowns already this season.
Recruited by Michael Smith, Williams officially visited Kentucky when the Wildcats defeated Arkansas. Friends with UK cornerback Kelvin Joseph, a.k.a Boss Man Fat, Williams has also reportedly scheduled official visits Alabama and Georgia before he announces his decision in December.
A small sample of what you’ll see tonight:
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 29th, 2019 @ 11:45am
Former Kentucky commitment Jordan Watkins has officially turned to the dark side.
This morning, the 2020 three-star wide receiver out of Butler High School announced his commitment to Scott Satterfield and the Louisville Cardinals.
“The recruiting process takes a lot of twists and turns, and at times can be very confusing,” he said in his announcement post on Twitter. “You year the opinions and wants of so many people around you. At the end of the day, it’s important to trust your instincts and make a decision based on what you know is best for you.”
“With that being said, I KNOW the best place for me is to STAY HOME and wear Cardinal Red!” Watkins continued. “I am officially fulfilling a childhood dream and COMMITTING to the UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE!”
Here was the official announcement:
— Jordan Watkins ¹ (@jordantwatkins) October 29, 2019
After originally committing to Kentucky back on June 22, the 6-foot-0 three-star athlete out of Louisville backed off his pledge on October 10.
Watkins is considered the No. 1157 prospect in the nation and No. 13 player in Kentucky in the 2020 247Sports player rankings.
Come on down, Michael Drennen.
By Nick Roush on ©October 25th, 2019 @ 7:30pm
Another home game, another official visitor.
When Kentucky hosts Missouri, they will also be hosting a talented junior college cornerback. Ronald Williams will be making the trip from Hutchinson C.C. in Kansas to watch the Cats take on the Tigers.
Since Michael Smith was added to the coaching staff, the Wildcats have gained significant ground on the recruiting trail in the state of Louisiana, landing quarterback Amani Gilmore and cornerback Kelvin Joseph, and recently hosting defensive back Joel Williams on an official visit. Ronald Williams is the latest Louisiana product to visit UK, hailing from Ferriday, he first received a scholarship offer when Vince Marrow took a private jet to Kansas during the bye week.
Looking for only the best ballers in Kansas on the bye weekend pic.twitter.com/gQs7eYJkV7
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) October 5, 2019
The quick turnaround for Williams’ official visit is a good sign for the Wildcats, who are seeking a commitment before other schools begin heavily investing into the 6’2″ top 100 JUCO prospect.
He’s not the only junior college player UK has targeted. This week Kentucky extended a scholarship offer to offensive tackle Jeremy Flax, a 6’6″ Detroit native that’s ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 51 JUCO prospect in America.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 15th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
2019 four-star defensive end signee and current Kentucky freshman pass-rusher JJ Weaver isn’t going anywhere… If you ask his mother, at least.
Over the last several days, rumors have circulated that the Louisville, KY (Moore Traditional) product was second-guessing his decision to sign with Kentucky and was contemplating a transfer to the University of Louisville.
And then over at Cardinal Authority – Louisville’s 247Sports affiliate – UofL insider Jody Demling reportedly said there is “smoke” to these rumors, adding that it’s “not a flimsy rumor” that the prized Kentucky signee was thinking about heading home to play for the Cardinals.
This afternoon, however, the former four-star prospect’s mother, Stacey Sherrell, announced on Twitter that her son “AIN’T GOING NO DAMM WHERE” and respectfully asked fans to “KILL THAT NOISE!!”
— Stacey Sherrell (@StaceySherrell2) October 15, 2019
Weaver was listed as the No. 213 prospect in the class of 2019, the 14th-best player in the class at his position, and the fourth-best prospect in the state of Kentucky on Rivals.com. As a senior, the Moore Traditional product recorded 70 tackles, 10 sacks, three interceptions and a fumble recovery, helping lead Moore to 11 wins and a spot in the quarterfinals of the state championships.
Weaver chose Kentucky over Louisville, Miami, Georgia, Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Purdue, among others, out of high school.
Through six games, the 6-foot-5, 237-pound outside linebacker has not played and is currently on pace to redshirt this season.
By Nick Roush on ©October 11th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
Thursday evening Jordan Watkins announced he reopened his recruitment. Losing a wide receiver from Louisville, likely to UofL, certainly dampened the spirits of the Big Blue Nation. They may not be down for long.
One of Kentucky’s top remaining targets in the 2020 recruiting class is Michael Drennen II. Hailing from Gunnar Hoak’s alma mater, Dublin Coffman High School (Oh.), Drennen is ranked by Rivals as the No. 6 all-purpose back in America and No. 159 player overall. An incredibly fast running back that also makes plays as a slot receiver, Drennen has offers from Ohio State, Alabama, USC and every other top-ranked college football program in America.
Even though he lives in Ohio State’s backyard, Kentucky is the favorite to land the four-star prospect with 73 percent of the 247 Crystal Ball picks currently in the Cats’ favor. Drennen officially visited UK for the Florida game and left impressed.
“It felt different probably because my momma was there and she had never been on a visit with me. I just wanted to see her reaction, and she loved it. I really couldn’t ask for much more. The crowd was pretty big, the atmosphere was crazy and there was a lot of fans there,” he told Rivals’ Josh Helmholdt.
“Out of all my teams, it feels like they show me the most love. Their offense really fits me. They told me they want me to play a Lynn Bowden (role) – that versatile running back/slot type.”
Recruited by Vince Marrow, if Drennen does in fact pick UK, he would be the highest-ranked skill player to commit to the Cats since Bowden. Earlier this week, Marrow alluded to a few high-profile silent commits. My gut tells me one of those silent commits is Drennen.
Jordan Watkins is no longer a member of Kentucky’s 2020 football recruiting class. The three-star athlete out of Butler in Louisville announced he is no longer committed to UK and he will reopen his recruitment. He thanked the Big Blue Nation for their support and the coaches for making him feel at home. Respect his decision, he says, and no interviews.
No Interviews…????? pic.twitter.com/KAdS0naRRZ
— Jordan Watkins ¹ (@jordantwatkins) October 10, 2019
For what it’s worth, Watkins visited Louisville last weekend.
By Nick Roush on ©October 09th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
A week after Kentucky lost its third game in a row, Mark Stoops’ coaching staff hit the road recruiting.
“It’s goods for us to get on the road, to continue to get in front of the prospects that we have committed, to continue to recruit and put the finishing touches on this class,” Stoops said at Monday’s press conference.
Kentucky may be struggling to win on the field, but that has not been the case on the recruiting trail. Vince Marrow is quick to praise the potential in the 2020 recruiting class.
“I think when we close this class out it has the potential to be better than our ’14 class,” said Marrow.
The 2014 class finished ranked 17th in the country, featuring future stars like Mike Edwards, Darius West, Boom Williams and Juice Johnson. Stoops believes the next group of UK signees could feature just as much star-power.
“We have an opportunity to have one of the most significant classes in, certainly in my tenure,” Stoops said. “I can’t go back into the history of this place, but in my time here this can be a very impressive group.”
As of October 2019, Kentucky’s 2020 class ranks 22nd in America, boasting five-star talent Justin Rogers and seven other players ranked as four-star prospects by at least one recruiting service. The reason why the coaches are so excited is that they consider UK’s 17-man class to be larger than you think.
“We’ve got some guys that have silently — gonna announce their dates on a birthday of a mom or a dad,” Marrow said. “We got some guys that are highly, highly — I don’t get into the rankings — but highly, highly recruited that’s about to jump on board. It ain’t going to shock us but it’s probably going to shock a lot of people.”
Meanwhile, UK is looking to add more into the fold. With about 25 available scholarships, this weekend the Cats will host four-star Louisiana defensive back Joel Williams. During the bye week Marrow went to Kansas to offer a scholarship another cornerback, JUCO product Ronald Williams, and visit cornerback Brian George, considered one of the of the five best JUCO players in America.
“I’ve been a lot of places, covered some miles,” Marrow said. “To step your game up in recruiting you gotta have access to planes and stuff like that. You ever try to fly into Highland, Kansas, then try to be at a football game back in Ohio? I appreciate that. I did some traveling the last three days.”
The recruiting trail isn’t as friendly in the middle of a three-game losing streak. Schools will be quick to throw Stoops’ program under the bus.
While Marrow flew to Highland, Kansas, Butler wide receiver Jordan Watkins attended Louisville’s 41-39 win over Boston College. After visiting the Cardinals’ campus, UK fans became concerned when Watkins Tweeted, “I am not answering any reporters right now, sorry!!”
Marrow is well aware of the negative recruiting efforts by other schools. He responds to those questions by asking a question.
“If Justin Fields got hurt tomorrow, you think Ohio State is favored to go to the National Championship? No. If (Jake) Fromm at Georgia got hurt — it’s so different when it comes to Kentucky. We lost Terry Wilson. Terry Wilson won ten games for us last year and he was even better this year, but people seem to overlook that and we still had a chance to beat Florida without him. We have the pieces, but we really lost three quarterbacks. You lose Terry, you lose Gunnar (Hoak), you lose Danny Clark and then the guy we have come in, he gets hurt.
“When we talk to our recruits, they know the message. They know who we are. They know ain’t nothing changed. We’re not using it as an excuse, but I can guarantee you now if Justin Fields went down tomorrow, I bet oddsmakers would say they’re not going to win the Big Ten. We just take it as it comes.”
As other schools put down UK’s program, the Cats have a handful of talented four-star prospects in their crosshairs. Four-star defensive end Tyler Baron recently took an official visit to Lexington. Michael Drennen II officially visited the same weekend. Since the visit, UK has become the favorite to land the nation’s sixth-ranked all-purpose back. The Cats are also in good position for the state’s last two uncommitted four-star recruits, defensive back Vito Tisdale and defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine. Until they reach a decision, Stoops, Marrow and the rest of the staff will be out on the trail.
“You can take this message to other schools, of course people are going to take shots at you, even when you win or when you lose. There’s some schools, and they know who I’m talking about, all of a sudden they got the right ingredients down there. Time will tell. We’re anxious to get back on the field. We ain’t going nowhere. We’re going to keep recruiting and recruiting. While other guys were chilling on our bye week, we were recruiting.”
Kentucky Football Class of 2020
|Justin Rogers||DT||Oak Park, MI||6-4||315||5-star, #14 Overall|
|Samuel Anaele||DE/OLB||Miami, FL||6-4||250||4-star, #112 Overall|
|John Young||OT||Louisville, KY||6-6||295||4-star, #5 KY|
|Beau Allen||QB||Lexington, KY||6-2||200||4-star, #20 QB|
|Tre'vonn Rybka||DL||Dickson, TN||6-4`||281||4-star, #18 SDE|
|Andru Phillips||CB||Mauldin, SC||6-0||180||3-star, #5 SC|
|Torrance Davis||RB||Cleveland, OH||6-1||215||3-star, #26 RB|
|JuTahn McClain||APB||Fairfield, OH||5-9||176||3-star, #12 APB|
|Kalil Branham||WR||Columbus, OH||6-1||205||3-star, #84 WR|
|Deondre Buford||OT||Detroit, MI||6-5||270||3-star, #70 OT|
|Izayah Cummings||WR||Louisville, KY||6-3||210||3-star, #11 KY|
|Earnest Sanders||WR||Flint, MI||6-2||190||3-star, #100 WR|
|D'Eryk Jackson||LB||Dexter, GA||6-2||235||3-star, #106 GA|
|Joshua Jones||OT||Phenix City, AL||6-6||300||3-star, #58 OT|
|Carrington Valentine||CB||Cincinnati, OH||6-0||218||3-star, #28 OH|
|Rickey Hyatt Jr.||S||Westerville, OH||6-1||195||3-star, #38 S|
By Nick Roush on ©October 07th, 2019 @ 4:30pm
Kelvin Jospeh might not be the only incredibly talented cornerback from Baton Rouge on UK’s 2020 football roster.
Joel Williams revealed on Twitter that he will officially visit Kentucky when the Cats host Arkansas Saturday night at Kroger Field.
Recruited by Michael Smith, Rivals ranks Williams as the No. 25 safety in America. A one-time Florida commit, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Houston are the Cats’ top competition for the four-star talent.
If the rankings and offers don’t speak to Williams’ talent, consider that he’s an athlete with a sub-4.5 40-yard dash and a 36-inch vertical. Williams does a little bit of everything for Madison Prep, returning punts and catching touchdowns as a wide receiver. Enjoy his best work.
They worried about what I’m doing askin if im still going, just know I ain’t going no where… pic.twitter.com/MEm6fZoYmC
— Joel Williams? (@sayyjoee) August 24, 2019
By Nick Roush on ©October 05th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
I don’t know who that guy knows, but I sure don’t want to meet him. I do know that Kentucky’s coaching staff did a lot of recruiting during the bye week.
Offers Extended to Underclassmen
Dakota Patterson — Kentucky is the first school to offer Corbin’s 6-3 freshman wide receiver.
Jantzen Dunn — The South Warren athlete from the class of 2021 also has offers from WKU and UofL.
Jaden Payne and Kenneth Beard— Michael Smith awarded each junior from Cane Ridge, Tn. their first scholarship offers.
Logan Taylor — Brad White offered the 6-8, 290-pound junior offense tackle from Alexandria, Va.
Jordan Young — The junior defensive back from Tampa’s Jesuit High School already has offers from Alabama, Florida and Florida State.
Ronald Williams Jr. — The only upperclassman on the list, UK offered this JUCO cornerback from Hutchinson C.C. is in the 2020 class.
Peter Delaportas — You have to look for quarterbacks earlier than most positions. Darin Hinshaw offered this 6-3 pocket-passing sophomore from New Jersey. Delaportas already holds offers from Boston College and Rutgers.
Salute to Square
The coaches weren’t the only ones watching Friday Night Football. UK linebacker DeAndre Square made the trek from Lexington to Hazard to watch the Bulldogs take on Somerset. UK target Kaiya Sheron completed 10-of-18 passes for 136 yards, two touchdowns and an interception to give the Briar Jumpers a 21-9 victory. This play right before half was a back-breaker for Hazard.
— Willie Hope (@WillieWYMT) October 5, 2019
The home team didn’t get the W, but they did appreciate Square’s presence at the game. The UK Detroit native took pictures and signed autographs for fans after he was named a Duke of Hazard.
One of UK’s top remaining targets, defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine, pulled off a 25-yard scoop and score for North Hardin in a victory over Meade County. Butler High School did not get the win, but Jordan Watkins showed off excellent athleticism in this extra effort play.
Pretty impressive play from Butler's Jordan Watkins (@jordantwatkins) against Central Hardin tonight. The UK commit showing some speed to chase down the runner and force the fumble. pic.twitter.com/KeJRtlneZq
— Dominique Yates (@RealDYates) October 4, 2019
Tyler Baron Connections
The elite defensive lineman from Knoxville officially visited Kentucky for the Florida game. Also considering Ohio State and Tennessee, his father is currently on the Vols’ payroll. Patrick Abernathy serves on Jeremy Pruitt’s staff in a player development role.
Baron has a connection to Kentucky too. His coach at Knoxville Catholic, Steve Matthews, played alongside Vince Marrow with the Kansas City Chiefs. A tip of the cap to Josh Edwards for digging into Baron’s background.
By Nick Roush on ©September 28th, 2019 @ 3:30pm
Two future Kentucky Wildcat wide receivers met on the gridiron Friday night. Each put up impressive numbers, but only one could leave the field victorious.
Izayah Cummings caught five passes for 153 yards and a 65-yard touchdown reception in Louisville Male’s 61-22 victory over Butler. His team may have gotten the win, but Cummings was slightly bested by Jordan Watkins, who caught five passes for 168 yards a touchdown. Cummings also left the game with a crown as homecoming king.
KSR was in the house for all of the action and spoke to each player after the game. The wide receivers are excited to share a sideline in Lexington next season.
By Nick Roush on ©September 21st, 2019 @ 1:15pm
Beau Allen put on a show in the Holy War between Lexington Catholic and Lexington Christian Academy. KSR was there to see it all.
The future Kentucky quarterback was almost perfect through the air, completing 24-of-28 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns, including a 31-yard dime that tied the game up in the fourth quarter after the Knights trailed by two touchdowns. He also rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns, including a score from 43 yards out.
Unfortunately, it was not enough for the Knights to win. LCA’s Mattie Lebryk stripped the ball from Allen with two minutes to play. In less than a minute LCA marched down the field, scored a touchdown and completed a two-point conversion to take the lead. Allen got the Knights into field goal range with four seconds to play, but the 33-yard attempt missed.
Allen finished the night with five touchdowns and 374 total yards, yet LCA left with the 43-42 victory.