Football Recruiting News
By Sam Gormley on ©January 13th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
While day two of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs started, the Kentucky football coaching staff extended an offer to three-star linebacker Devyn Curtis.
— Devyn Curtis (@TheDevynCurtis) January 13, 2019
Curtis is 6’2 and is rated at the 25th best ILB in the nation and the 23rd best player in the state of Tennessee for the Class of 2020.
The Brentwood Academy defensive stud currently holds offers from both Vanderbilt and South Carolina as well as other Group of Five programs.
Curtis was in attendance in November for the Georgia game and mentioned how much he enjoyed the atmosphere of the game.
— Devyn Curtis (@TheDevynCurtis) November 3, 2018
You can watch the linebacker work at the link below:
Could we possibly be calling his name soon enough as a replacement for Kash Daniel? Come on down!
By Nick Roush on ©January 12th, 2019 @ 11:00am
Two of Kentucky’s brightest stars on the gridiron began their career at Winton Woods High School. The latest highly-touted recruit from the Cincinnati school will consider following in their footsteps.
Mike Edwards just completed his Kentucky career as only the second defensive back in school history to record more than 300 tackles. He’ll hear his name called in April’s NFL Draft. Last fall, Chris Oats’ name was called into action as a true freshman. In 2017, Oats was playing alongside running back Miyan Williams.
A 5’10 210-pound prospect, Williams finished his junior season with some of the best numbers in the state of Ohio. Williams rushed for an astounding 2,842 yards and 38 touchdowns, which includes a ridiculous 430-yard, six-touchdown playoff performance (on only 2o carries) that propelled his team to a come from behind victory.
Before Williams exploded onto the scene in 2018, Vince Marrow offered him a scholarship.
“I like Kentucky and they’ve been recruiting me since I was a sophomore,” Williams told 247 Sports. “Coach Marrow is telling me that we need to stay in touch, and they want me to visit as often as possible. I feel like Kentucky is producing good players.”
Of course, others are beginning to notice Williams. Shortly after his season ended, Michigan extended a scholarship offer, his tenth. More are on the way, but Kentucky was one of the first. It’s also the same place that turned Mike Edwards and Chris Oats into stars. That will certainly play a significant factor as Williams narrows his suitors over the next ten months.
The second play, a 98-yard touchdown, is one incredible run.
We’re big fans of Neal Brown around here. I had a Troy football t-shirt on just last week. And now that Brown is the head coach over at West Virginia, we are ecstatic for him to have a great job and we want nothing but the best for him and the Mountaineers program under his guidance. Go Neal Brown.
But I’ll also say this: We’re going to hate him in recruiting because he is going to be a problem.
Brown has already planted some recruiting roots in Kentucky and it took him only a day on the job to do so. He has extended scholarship offers to three Kentucky prospects (that we know of) and that number will only grow as he gets to work.
The most notable of Brown’s new targets is Lexington Catholic quarterback Beau Allen, who Mark Stoops is also recruiting. Allen already had an offer from Brown at Troy, and now Brown is recruiting him to be the next big quarterback in Morgantown. Given Brown’s style of play and the success of the West Virginia program in recent history, it’s a very attractive opportunity for the Bluegrass’ sixth-best prospect in the Class of 2020.
Brown also reached out to two juniors at his high school alma mater, Boyle County. He gave offers to Reese Smith, a three-star athlete, and Landen Bartleson, a three-star running back in the class. Both hold offers from UK.
So again, good for Neal Brown on his new job and the opportunity ahead in the Big 12. But he’s going to steal recruits out of Kentucky — it’s inevitable — which was already a problem for the UK coaching staff before Brown entered the picture. In-state recruiting will only get more competitive with Brown nearby, as well as a new coach at Louisville and Jeff Brohm still at Purdue. Keeping guys home just got even more difficult.
Back off, Neal.
Enzo Jennings has made his first round of cuts – and Kentucky made the list. Of course, the 2020 4-star prospect left 11 schools on his radar, but it’s still positive news for the Cats.
The Michigan native is listed as a 6-foot-2, 178-pound cornerback. He comes in just inside the top-100 players in the class nationally (No. 93) and ranks as the No. 11 “athlete” in the class. According to Jennings’ 247Sports profile, the top-four contenders for his commitment are Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and Notre Dame, and he is being recruited by Steve Clinkscale, the Cats’ defensive backs coach.
Top11 ? (recruitment is still open) pic.twitter.com/OhtqB6slaC
— Enzo?Jennings (@_enzoj) January 2, 2019
To make it even more interesting, Jennings is also teammates with 5-star offensive guard Justin Rogers. His commitment, as of now, seems to be between Georgia and Ohio State, but Kentucky is still listed as a ‘warm” school on 247Sports (along with LSU, Michigan and Tennessee). And it looks like he still needs some help deciding:
Who really need me at they college that’s the real question ? It’s not I want justin I need justin ???
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) December 29, 2018
Kentucky has several young guys coming through the pipelines for both of these positions, but they are losing key seniors, so it never hurts to pick up a few more highly-touted recruits. At the cornerback position, UK will lose Derrick Baity and Lonnie Johnson; at offensive guard, they’ll lose an All-American in Bunchy Stallings.
We’re still a long way away from getting ink-to-paper for these guys, and I know there are people out there who get worn out with football commits, especially in the age of the dreaded de-commitment. But these are two talented, out-of-state ball players from up north, and it means something they’re both still interested in Kentucky. A few seasons ago, we wouldn’t have been able to say that.
By Maggie Davis on ©January 06th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
The Cats have some more competition. Reese Smith, a three-star 2020 prospect from Boyle County, just picked up an offer from West Virginia. Kentucky offered Smith back in October, after Tennessee extended an offer in mid-September.
Smith announced the offer on his Twitter account:
— Reese Smith (@reesesmith_) January 5, 2019
The offer comes just days after Neal Brown accepted the WVU head coaching job. Remember, Brown also played football at Boyle County High School. Smith was formerly listed as a wide receiver, but is now listed as an “athlete.” As of now, Kentucky is recruiting him as a safety, while other schools, including Duke, are recruiting him as a slot receiver.
Last season, Smith finished with 53 receptions for 1,173 yards and 20 touchdowns. At safety, he had three interceptions in 2018, returning one for a 99 yard touchdown.
Sure, Neal Brown seems like a nice guy and they share that Boyle County bond. But the Cats just went 10-3, and the BBN does tend to love a Kentucky boy a little extra… Just ask Kash Daniel.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 03rd, 2019 @ 5:00pm
There is another big football game being played in Orlando’s Camping World Stadium that you should keep an eye on. It’s the Under Armour All-America game and it airs tonight at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
Why should you care, you ask?
Because the game will include Devonta Lee, a star in the Class of 2019, who could potentially become a Kentucky Wildcat by Signing Day. The four-star wide receiver prospect out of Louisiana has said he “fell in love” with the Kentucky program after taking an official visit to Lexington in early December.
A high school teammate of UK quarterback signee Amani Gilmore, Lee might just pick the Cats over his home state LSU Tigers, as well as offers from Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Miami, Oregon, Florida State, Mississippi State, Texas and many others. (That’s a hell of a list, huh?)
Lee will be on Team Flash tonight, coached by Steve Mariucci. He’ll be catching passes from a Texas commit, a Texas A&M commit and an Arizona State commit.
Tune in to see him, if you can. He could be the next great weapon in UK’s passing game.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©December 22nd, 2018 @ 12:30pm
A major defensive back target for the Kentucky Wildcats needs your help.
Jammie Robinson, a four-star prospect out of Cordele, GA, is up for Georgia 6A Player of the Year, and he has asked the Big Blue Nation to put in their votes.
— BIG 6? (@Jammierobinson6) December 22, 2018
As a senior at Lee County, the star safety finished with 105 tackles, six tackles for loss, two interceptions, and one pick-six for one of the top defenses in the state of Georiga. It was a unit that forced six shutouts on the season, including one in the state title game in a 14-0 victory over Northside.
Tonight, he’ll be playing for a national championship at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
— BIG 6? (@Jammierobinson6) December 22, 2018
He has already won the 2018 Albany-Area Defensive Player of the Year and has been named as a Class 6-A All-State selection.
Jammie Robinson makes the specialist position, which goes to the player who made the biggest impact on special teams, but to be honest, he could have made defensive back too. Robinson led the classification averaging 25.5 yards per punt return and 36.7 on kickoffs. The senior had 7 touchdowns that he returned back, showing off moves that looked akin to Devin Hester. Robinson’s impact at Lee County was huge in 2018, stats cannot quantify his impact in all facets of the game.
Now he needs the 6A Player of the Year title.
Robinson is currently in the lead with 1,656 votes (50.77%), but he needs the Big Blue Nation’s help to leave everyone else in the dust.
— Recruit Georgia (@RecruitGeorgia) December 22, 2018
You can click on the direct link to vote here.
He’s going to look pretty solid in Blue and White when the time comes to sign in February.
Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow signed a pair of teammates from Ohio that could contribute on the field in 2019. Before defensive tackle Isaiah Gibson and Moses Douglass put pen to paper on Wednesday, each proved their loyalty to Kentucky in different ways.
“Here’s what people don’t understand about Moses. Moses had about 31 offers. He had everybody,” Vince Marrow said Wednesday. “You had everybody pulling at this kid. This kid never took another unofficial visit. He still had five visits where he could have taken visits anywhere, and the kid was loyal to this University and loyal to us.”
Douglass’ loyalty to the Big Blue Nation runs thicker than blood. The son of former Wildcat defensive back Moe Douglass, now the head football coach at Springfield High School, outsiders believed the Kentucky connection would lead him to UK. That wasn’t necessarily the case.
“That really didn’t play a role at all,” Moses told KSR last week. “I didn’t want to go there at first because of that. I don’t like being in nobody’s shadow.”
His father never thought Moses would end up at Kentucky. “He went down there and had a good time, saw it for the first time and just thought it was the right place for him to be.”
Even though Moses was quickly sold, it was far from a done deal. To create an unbreakable bond, Vince Marrow had to convince Camela Douglass that Kentucky was the perfect place for her son.
“I think she wanted him to have his own way because his dad played here. She wanted him to have his own life, and I had to convince her, ‘Just come up and visit.’” Once Marrow got her to campus, the city of Lexington did the rest of the work.
“The people in Lexington really played a big part in their hospitality and just treating these parents respectfully. Because, you want to know where your kid is going to school. You want to know what kind of people are going to be around. So, I think that was a big part.”
Douglass will move to Lexington with Isaiah Gibson in January. Each player will enroll early for the spring semester and participate in spring practice.
Before Gibson puts on a Kentucky uniform, he is already all-in on the Wildcats. While other schools pushed to flip the defensive tackle from UK, he confirmed his commitment to Kentucky with a Wildcat tattoo.
By KSR on ©December 20th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
You thought we’d only have one KSR Football Podcast for our incredible listeners this week? You thought wrong.
After our Citrus Bowl Special on Tuesday, the KSR crew decided to release yet another special edition of the podcast focused on Kentucky’s successful haul on Wednesday’s Early Signing Day.
Nick Roush, Jack Pilgrim, and Adam Luckett threw on their headsets and discussed:
- How the KSR crew avoided a Signing Day tragedy.
- Why is the coaching staff so confident?
- Freddie had Josh Allen. Luckett has KD McDaniel
- Kentucky’s massive haul in the front seven
- Recruiting pitches
- Versatility in the class
Get the podcast delivered to your phone by subscribing to “KSR Football Podcast” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play , and streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.
Today’s episode is brought to you by:
By Nick Roush on ©December 19th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Signing 21 players wasn’t easy.
Mark Stoops called in the Big Dog for a reinforcements a few times. Back in the spring, he sent Vince to the city of Louisville. He gave a pitch four highly-touted recruits — Jared Casey, J.J. Weaver, Shawnkel Knight-Goff and TaeTae Crumes — could not deny.
“Three of the top linebackers we took out of there were top guys in the country,” Marrow said. “I think they saw success of our linebacker group. A lot of people don’t know that we’ve been pretty good in the NFL for the last couple of years with linebacker play. It was just getting these guys here to come play in the best conference in the country and come play with the best school in the state. It wasn’t a hard sell.”
To lock up Cavon Butler, Stoops asked Marrow to stay up late to talk to the sought after defensive tackle.
“I was on the phone texting back and forth with Cavon until about 10:30, 11:00 last night,” Stoops said. “I’ve got to get up early tomorrow, Big Dog, I’ve got to get to bed.”
Keeping Butler and Isaiah Gibson took extra effort. Big Ten powers pulled at the Ohio natives until the very end because there isn’t a more difficult position to recruit than defensive line.
“D tackles are just so important,” Stoops said. “Everybody wants the big, long, athletic guys. They’re difference makers, and in this league, that’s one of the positions that really changes. That’s one of the positions that separates the top from the bottom.”
Stoops signed two quarterbacks in the 2019 class, Nik Scalzo and Amani Gilmore. The latter, a lefty from Louisiana, plans on playing baseball at Kentucky. Stoops’ willingness to let Gilmore play two sports helped seal the deal (and helps Nick Mingione).
“I encouraged him (Gilmore) to do that. He was football all the way, but I felt like Nick owes me one on that because I told him, I really did, I felt like he was too talented. I felt like he’d regret it,” Stoops said.
Baseball prevented Gilmore from attending the recruiting camps that generate buzz and catapult players up the rankings. Flying under the radar helped them land a few players, including Vince Marrow’s sleeper in the class, Shawnkel Knight-Goff.
“He can play safety, he can play linebacker, he can play receiver, and he can play running back,” said Marrow. “He’s so athletic. I think this kid would have been a high four-star but his circumstances; he worked in the summer and never went to really any camps, but he came to our camp and ran real well for a guy that big. I think he’s going to be a guy that surprises a lot of people. I really do.”
One of the biggest surprises came this afternoon. JUCO defensive back Quandre Mosely committed to Kentucky, becoming the sixth player from the state of Georgia to join UK’s 2019 recruiting class. Recruiting the state is not easy, but Kentucky’s 9-3 season made the talent-rich state pay attention.
“Georgia is the number one state that really produces college football players right now and I think even pros. When you have success, you’re not looked at as a joke going in there,” Vince said.
When Marrow recruited Jarren Williams, he wasn’t taken seriously. That changed this year.
“Kentucky was looked at as, ‘Why you want to go there if you’re from the South? Why do you want to go there? You’re going to skip over all of these schools to go to Kentucky?’ But, when you starting beating those schools. When you start beating South Carolina, Florida, Missouri and all of those schools, Mississippi State, well, oh, this is a school I really want to go to. That’s what happened with us in Georgia now.”
If Kentucky beats Penn State in a New Year’s Day bowl, the Cats’ credibility will become even more significant. Today UK reaped some of the rewards from a 9-3 season, but there’s even more to come next year.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 19th, 2018 @ 10:30pm
Vince Marrow got us all excited by teasing some more “very interesting things” still on the way, but he also raved about the players who signed with Kentucky this morning, particularly on defense.
“First of all, this is probably the best linebacker corp we’ve signed since we’ve been here,” Marrow said on KSR. “Very talented young men. A lot of top guys in the Top 250 and three in our own state, Shawn’Kel Knight-Goff, Jared Casey, and JJ Weaver. We’re very excited about these guys, but the whole group is very, very athletic, long, physical and can run.”
Knight-Goff, Casey, and Weaver are all from Louisville, an area that’s churning out so much talent these days Mark Stoops asked Marrow to prioritize it alongside Ohio.
“I spend a lot of time in Ohio and at one point, [Stoops] said, ‘I need you to go into Louisville. We need to really make our presence there.’ Going in there, there are some real good high school coaches but man, I can tell you, there’s really good talent there. There’s probably, in Louisville, I think seven guys that could play in the SEC and we signed five out of the seven.”
Like the 2015 class that included Josh Allen, Jordan Jones, Christ Westry, and Derrick Baity, Marrow believes this class includes some players that flew under the radar.
“Yeah, no doubt. We’ve got some kids in this class, like Shawn’Kel Knight-Goff. He’s just as talented as any of the four-star linebackers, but this kid never went to camps. A lot of these kids don’t go out and get showcased because some of these kids work jobs or whatever their circumstances are.”
Because the 2015 class is on its way out, Kentucky had to make defense a priority in the 2019 class. Marrow is confident this group fits the bill.
“I’m going to love to see what these guys turn out to be,” Marrow added. “When you look at these linebackers, dude, I’m telling you, these guys are — a lot of people wanted these guys. They’re a pretty good bunch.”
By Drew Franklin on ©December 19th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
In case you haven’t digested enough content about Kentucky’s successful early signing day, we have the clip of Mark Stoops’ Wednesday afternoon appearance on the SEC Network for your viewing pleasure. Stoops made an appearance to discuss what went into building the new class, which the staff believes is among its best; replacing NFL-level talent on both sides of the ball; and what they look for to maintain the momentum around the program.
Check it out:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 19th, 2018 @ 4:15pm
Opening Statement …
“Good Evening. I’m just going to piggyback off of Coach [Stoops]. This probably was the best linebacker class we’ve signed since we’ve been here. I know we signed six or seven linebackers, and they’re all interchangeable, but this is a very athletic group and they were very highly recruited. I was very excited about that. Defense, we needed to address in this class because we’re losing a lot of guys on defense and we should be pretty good on offense next year, so defense was a big emphasis this year.”
On how the current group takes this new group being the best linebacker class …
“Because it is! To be quite honest, losing Josh [Allen] and Jordan [Jones] and we may have a transfer here and there, but overall this is, like Coach Stoops said. We used to have to project guys. We’d take guys that were 6’2”, 210 pounds, and then hope they grow into 6’3”, 230. These guys are already the type of guys that ‘Bama or Ohio State would take, or Oregon and schools like that. It’s a great group.”
On what makes this group so great …
“Very versatile. They can do it all. You can take all six of these guys and they can be Sams (strongside LBs), Jacks (hybrid LB/DE position). Some can play Will (weakside). Some can play Mike (middle). Some can play Sam. These are the type of guys, like I said, that Nick Saban would take. You just take these guys and they become good special teams players and just interchangeable. Some guys may grow into a D-end. You just never know, but it’s good size and length coming in.”
On how recruiting in Louisville worked …
“I just think our perception. I think we were pretty good in most of the state. Pretty much 85 percent of the state. Louisville was a different monster. It was just a thing where I think Louisville just had a strong hold on a lot of the kids there, a lot of the inner-city kids. Just came in with a message to say hey, this state is pretty much 90 percent blue, Big Blue Nation. For some reason, it was like the kids there were 90 percent, but in that 10-15 percent was Louisville. We just said a different message and the success we were having on defense. Three of the top linebackers we took out of there were top guys in the country. I think they saw success of our linebacker group. A lot of people don’t know that we’ve been pretty good in the NFL for the last couple of years with linebacker play. It was just getting these guys here to come play in the best conference in the country and come play with the best school in the state. It wasn’t a hard sell.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 19th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
COACH STOOPS: Okay. Exciting day for us. Really good to put the wraps on such a good class. Greatly appreciate our staff and the hard work they’ve done for the past year, past two years in some cases recruiting some of these players.
I feel very good about this class. I feel they’re excellent football players, excellent people, very good in the classroom. Feel good about going in state and getting some of the top prospects in state to stay home. Definitely some difference makers that were very important to us.
So across the board very excited about this class, top to bottom. And there still could be one or so out there in this class. And of course we’ll have a couple of spots left to continue to work for the February signing period. So, I like where we’re at.
Q. The in state guys, how did that come together getting five guys? And how important specifically to get into Louisville was it?
COACH STOOPS: I think it was very important. We’ve been working these guys for some time. They’re very — there’s very good players. You don’t know where the players are going to be in state, as I’ve mentioned every year. I think there’s always good quality in this state. Sometimes there’s not always the quantity.
This year, there were certainly a good amount of very good football players. And it was a group effort. Really appreciate the work of our staff and certainly Coach Marrow, our recruiting coordinator, went in there and had a strong impact and built some strong relationships with these kids, along with our position coaches and other guys. And Coach Schlarman started it years ago in that area. So it was a group effort.
But Coach Marrow will talk to you in a minute, let the big dog come up here in a minute. He certainly did a very good job and definitely had a big hand in landing some of these guys.