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Football Recruiting News
Four-star tight end CJ Conrad is one of UK’s highest-ranked commitments so far in the 2015 class, but this weekend, he’ll attend the Friday Night Lights camp at Ohio State.
Conrad says his commitment to UK is still firm and he’s spoken to the UK staff about attending the camp, but this should still make UK fans slightly nervous. Conrad is from Lagrange, Ohio, and if he picks up an offer from the Buckeyes this weekend, there’s a chance he could flip his commitment. In fact, 247 Sports’ Dave Biddle says he’s a “prime candidate” to flip to the Buckeyes, and after an impressive performance at The Opening earlier this month, an offer will probably come his way.
Stay with us, CJ…
By Drew Franklin on ©1:30 pm
Kentucky leads George Brown Jr.’s Crystal Ball prediction with 88 percent of the vote, but GatorBait.net, the Florida 247Sports affiliate, still expects him to pick the Gators. “We continue to hear the Gators are confident in landing the three-star prospect,” the site’s Recruiting Insider writes.
Brown, set to announce his decision tomorrow afternoon, recently took a visit to Gainesville (his final visit before deciding) and immediately unfollowed almost all UK-related Twitter accounts, while adding several Florida assistant coaches, beat writers, players and former players. If you read into that stuff, it could be a very telling sign.
But the UK staff is also confident it will land Brown tomorrow at 1:30 pm, says Chris Fisher, which means one side is in for a letdown. Kentucky was at one time the very heavy favorite for the offensive lineman from Cincinnati, and he has taken at least six unofficial visits to Lexington.
24 hours until he tells the world…
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:00 pm
For many of us, Craig Yeast was a UK football hero growing up. “Couch to Yeast” was a familiar refrain at Commonwealth Stadium in the mid- to late 90′s, and the fact that both players were from Kentucky made UK fans even prouder. In fact, Yeast was one of the best wide receivers to ever play at Kentucky, his career so impressive that 247 Sports included him in their Top 5 SEC East wide receivers since 1992 (the year the conference split into two divisions):
5. Craig Yeast, Kentucky, 1995-98: Catching passes from Tim Couch helped Yeast put up some amazing numbers in Lexington. When he ended his career, he was the SEC’s all-time reception leader and was second in career receiving yards. He has fallen off a bit, but his 208 catches are third in league history, his 2,899 yards are good for seventh in SEC history and his 28 receiving touchdowns are good for No. 6 on the SEC career list. As a senior he had 85 catches for 1,311 yards receiving and 14 TD receptions in 11 games. He also had 1,256 career return yards and returned four kicks for touchdowns.
The other four on the list? 1. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt, 2010-13; 2. Terrence Edwards, Georgia, 1999-2002; 3. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina, 2009-11; and 4. A.J. Green, Georgia, 2008-10.
Craig’s son, Russ, is carrying on the Yeast football tradition. Russ is in the class of 2017, and is already drawing high praise for his size (5’11″, 170), speed, and tremendous upside. Russ impressed the UK staff so much at a camp in June that Vince Marrow offered him a scholarship. Judging by his Twitter feed, he’ll probably accept it one day:
Kentucky gonna be good in about 2 years #BBN
— Russ Yeast (@russ_yeast03) July 21, 2014
Here’s some footage from his freshman year:
1) Nothing new here… but Kentucky football is taking over Ohio
This isn’t the first time you’ll hear this and it certainly won’t be the last time you hear this… but the presence of Kentucky’s football recruiting prowess in the state of Ohio just continues to grow. After receiving another Top-50 rated Ohio commit this weekend, Kentucky currently has 6 of the state’s top 50 players signed on for the 2015 class. That brings the total number to 17 Top-50 Ohio players in the last 2 years, as Kentucky signed 11 in this year’s class. For those keeping tabs with Ohio State, Kentucky currently has the same # of Top 50 players from Ohio committed for 2015 that Ohio State does… That’s impressive no matter how you slice it.
2) Kentucky has two key areas of need AND the staff is filling those needs quite nicely
The offensive line and the secondary are two of Kentucky’s biggest pressing needs moving forward. The coaching staff has clearly been putting a priority on locking up solid commitments in those two areas in the 2015 recruiting class. Kentucky’s thin secondary got a boost for the future last night when the Cats picked up two commitments from guys who can contribute and play right away next season. And that’s exactly what Kentucky will need.
Kentucky’s other key area of interest in strengthening the offensive line, which will take a few blows following graduation next year. Kentucky is also looking to beef up the line to entice guys like 5-star running back Damien Harris. Quarterback protection has been a weakness in the past few seasons at Kentucky, but the future looks bright with a number of key commitments (8 so far) already in the class of 2015 to go along with 5-star 2014 offensive lineman Matt Elam.
3) Vince Marrow is THE MAN, but Neal Brown is locking down the state of Kentucky
When you look at the impressive Ohio numbers in recruiting over the past two seasons, that’s in large part due to Vince Marrow’s work on the recruiting trail. Marrow has worked to lock down at least 6 of Kentucky’s current Ohio prospects in the class of 2015, with plenty of time left before National Signing Day.
On the other hand, Neal Brown hasn’t received quite as much notoriety for his achievements in recruiting thus far– but Brown has seemingly taken the lead on most of the top in-state talent. With a loaded 2016 in-state recruiting class looming, Brown figures to be a key contributor if Kentucky is able to lock down the majority of that talent.
Kentucky picked up three commitments during the Friday Night Lights camp this past weekend, two in the 2015 class (Marcus Walker and Kei Beckham) and one in the 2016 class (Zy’Aire Hughes). It’s been a while since we’ve recapped where the Cats are with the 2015 class and who they still want to bring in, so I spent my day updating the Big Board. Enjoy.
Bowling Green, KY
6-2 | 185
247Composite: 12 OLB | 204
247Sports: 19 OLB
Rivals: 10 OLB | 133
ESPN: 13 OLB | 234
Scout: 21 OLB | 239
Committed: April 21, 2014
Other Offers: Ohio State, USC, Ole Miss, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky
Additional Note: Originally a Vanderbilt commit, Brown re-opened his recruitment in October shortly after an unofficial visit to Ohio State, UK’s biggest competitor for Brown at the time.
6-2 | 203
247Composite: 48 OLB | 696
247Sports: 48 OLB
Rivals: 32 OLB
ESPN: 36 OLB
Committed: May 8, 2014
Other Offers: Oklahoma, Nebraska, Michigan State, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana
Additional Note: Jones attends Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio, alma mater of Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow.
6-4 | 240
247Composite: 18 WDE | 399
247Sports: 19 WDE
Rivals: 18 SDE
ESPN: 37 DE
Scout: 44 DE
Committed: June 28, 2014
Other Offers: Alabama, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, West Virginia
Additional Note: Fullwood and Jabari Greenwood announced together at Fullwood’s home in DC, opening the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) pipeline for years to come. Fullwood cited the family atmosphere around the program and the ability to play in the SEC as reasons he chose the Cats over Virginia Tech, Duke, and Maryland. He also said he wants to be a leader in the 2015 class, like Drew Barker was for 2014.
Lake Wales, FL
6-0.5 | 176
247Composite: 19 S | 377
247Sports: 32 S
Rivals: 16 S
ESPN: 16 S | 196
Committed: July 18, 2014
Other Offers: Arkansas, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Michigan State, Mississippi State, NC State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt, UVA
Additional Note: Walker first committed to Kentucky back in January, but decommitted in April. After picking up offers from Arkansas, Michigan State, Tennessee and others, Walker decided to recommit to Kentucky, in part because the staff kept in contact with him even after he reopened his recruitment. He was one of three commitments during UK’s Friday Night Lights camp this past weekend (two in the 2015 class, one in the 2016 class).
6-0 | 173
247Composite: 46 CB | 564
247Sports: 44 CB
Rivals: 42 CB
ESPN: 59 CB
Committed: July 18, 2014
Other Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Minnesota, Purdue
Additional Note: Beckham also committed to the Cats during the FNL camp after an exclusive workout with Mark Stoops. He needs to bulk up before he can hold his own in the SEC, but he’s athletic, with good hands and quick feet.
Lake Wales, FL
6-3 | 295
247Composite: 9 C | 533
247Sports: 10 C
Rivals: 3 C | 247
ESPN: 4 C
Scout: 12 C
Committed: May 1, 2014
Other Offers: Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, NC State, South Florida, Syracuse
Additional Note: A four-star product on Rivals.com, Hiers committed to Kentucky days after visiting Lexington for the Blue-White game. He was Rivals’ second-ranked center in the country at the time, but has since dropped a spot to No. 3. There are reports that he committed back in October but waited to see the campus before going public with it.
6-7 | 232
247Composite: 86 OT | 770
247Sports: 52 OT
ESPN: 75 OT
Committed: April 5, 2014
Other Offers: West Virginia, NC State
Additional Note: Livingston plays both sides of the line of scrimmage in high school and insists he can play either in college, however, the plan is to use him on the offensive line at Kentucky.
6-6 | 327
247Composite: 106 OT | 969
247Sports: 106 OT
Rivals: 9 C
ESPN: 109 C
Committed: April 5, 2014
Other Offers: UAB
Additional Note: Stenberg committed to UK on the same day as fellow offensive linemen Levon Livingston and Larry Wells.
6-8 | 295
247Composite: 127 OT
247Sports: 139 OT
ESPN: 81 OT
Committed: April 5, 2014
Other Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Akron
Additional Note: Wells committed on the same day as Levon Livingston and Logan Stenberg.
6-7 | 280
247Composite: 88 OG
247Sports: 98 OG
ESPN: 96 OG
Scout: 77 OT
Committed: April 7, 2014
Additional Note: Wolfe became the fourth offensive lineman commit in three days when he committed during an unofficial visit to UK in early April. He told 247Sports he just felt it was time and he was interested in Kentucky since the very beginning.
West Chester, OH
6-4 | 295
247Composite: 53 OT | 445
247Sports: 19 OT | 176
Rivals: 42 OG
ESPN: 58 OG
Scout: 35 OG
Committed: June 23, 2014
Other Offers: Akron, Cincinnati, UConn, Florida, Illinois, Louisville, Miami (OH), Minnesota, Syracuse, Toledo, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan
Additional Note: Asafo-Adjei is a former teammate of current UK players Kyle Meadows and Mikel Horton, and said he felt comfortable with UK’s players, coaches, and facilities. It doesn’t hurt that it’s close to home, as well. (Thank you, Vince Marrow.)
6-5 | 225
247Composite: 10 TE | 228
247Sports: 8 TE
Rivals: 7 TE | 195
ESPN: 11 TE
Scout: 7 TE | 203
Committed: May 9, 2014
Other Offers: Arkansas, Illinois, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Additional Note: Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame were picking up interest, but he chose the Cats before they could close in. Vince Marrow was the lead recruiter, of course, and he liked how UK was on him early. Indiana was the other finalist with Kentucky.
6-3 | 190
247Composite: 39 WR | 305
247Sports: 33 WR
Rivals: 40 WR
ESPN: 75 WR
Scout: 31 WR | 235
Committed: May 3, 2014
Other Offers: Cincinnati, Miami (FL), West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Ohio, Harvard, Yale
Additional Note: Stump, who will undoubtedly see his ranking climb next season, called Kentucky the perfect fit when he committed earlier this month. “Their offense is a great offense for receivers,” he told the Herald-Leader. “Maybe, possibly I could have gotten ‘bigger’ offers, but this is the perfect fit for me. There was no reason not to do it.”
6-4 | 193
247Composite: 57 WR | 506
247Sports: 53 WR
Rivals: 42 WR
ESPN: 56 WR
Scout: 60 WR
Committed: June 28, 2014
Other Offers: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Marshall, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Pitt, Rutgers, UVA, Wake Forest, Washington State
Additional Note: Greenwood picked Kentucky over Michigan State, Virginia, and Maryland. At 6’4″, 193 lbs., he’s got the size to compete in the SEC, and more importantly, looks like a playmaker. Greenwood said WR coach Tommy Mainord played a huge factor in his decision, and his commitment was a big win for Mainord, who is the primary recruiter in the DMV area.
5-11 | 205
247Composite: 1 RB | 23
247Sports: 2 RB | 59
Rivals: 1 RB | 4
ESPN: 1 RB | 28
Scout: 1 RB | 34
Decision Date: December 13, 2014
Other Offers: Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Arkansas, Florida State, USC, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin
Additional Note: Harris is the staff’s biggest priority in the class. If he does choose Kentucky, he’ll be the highest ranked recruit the program has ever landed, and have an impact on recruiting classes for years to come. Harris attended UK’s FNL camp this past weekend, one of several visits he’s taken to UK, and by all reports, the staff feels better than ever at their chances of landing him. However, December 13 is a long time from now, and UK may need to pull off more than one upset this season to convince Harris to take a chance on them.
GEORGE BROWN JR.
6-6 | 253
247Composite: 42 OT | 364
247Sports: 84 OT
Rivals: 13 OT | 118
ESPN: 63 OT
Scout: 39 OT
Decision Date: July 25, 2014
Final Five: Alabama (non-committable), Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU
Additional Note: Brown seemed close to committing during his visit to UK for the FNL camp this past weekend, but held off to take one last visit for Florida. If you read the tweet leaves, he seems torn between the two, but we’ll know for sure on Friday.
Winter Garden, FL
6-4 | 240
247Composite: 50 SDE | 1037
247Sports: 41 SDE
Decision Date: Unknown
Other offers: Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Wisconsin
Additional Note: Wilson visited UK last Tuesday, and reports say he enjoyed himself, especially getting to see his former teammate Garrett Johnson, who will be a freshman this fall. He’s looking for an offer from Georgia, and on Sunday, tweeted he’d also like to take an official visit to Wisconsin. While the Cats are in a good position, this is far from over.
Mount Dora, FL
5-11 | 170
247Composite: 42 CB | 504
247Sports: 39 CB
Rivals: 25 ATH
ESPN: 46 ATH
Scout: 69 CB
Decision Date: Unknown
Other offers: Arizona, Indiana, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis
Additional Note: There have been conflicting reports about Davis’ interest in Kentucky, but according to 247 Sports’ Ryan Bartow, had Davis visited UK this past weekend, he would have committed. Keep an eye on this one.
[All images and star-ratings via 247Sports.com]
Kentucky has been in good standing with George Brown Jr. for a long time now, but a recent change to his Twitter account has many UK football fans worried in the days before his announcement this Friday.
Coming off his recent visit to Gainesville, Brown began following several Florida football accounts, from former players to assistant coaches and beat writers. Almost one-third of the 91 accounts he follows appear to be Gator-related (by my very unofficial count), making me wonder if we’ll be receiving bad news when he announces.
Or maybe I’m just paranoid and need to get outside for some sunshine. Following recruits on the internet tends to make us all a little crazy from time to time. Kentucky leads with 88 percent of the vote in his Crystal Ball predictions, so maybe I should direct my attention away from his Twitter page and toward that.
I guess we’ll know for sure in a few days.
— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) July 22, 2014
WHAT IS HE TELLING US? IS THIS A SIGN OF WHAT’S TO COME?????? AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH
131 days until he announces his decision…
Pretty impressive group of schools for Friday’s 1:30 pm announcement. Would be an amazing get for the Cats…
Kentucky’s top in-state target in the class of 2015, #1 rated running back Damien Harris, tweeted that he will be making his final decision on December 13th. Before he makes that decision though, Harris will trim his list to 5 on August 1st. Kentucky figures to make the final cut for Harris and he seems to still be very high on the Cats.
Go Cats. Yahtzee? Please?
UK pulled in three Yahtzees during the Friday Night Lights camp this past weekend, and another one could be on the way later this week. Three-star OT George Brown, Jr. camped at UK this past weekend and judging by his tweets, was close to committing on the spot. He’s considered the 42nd best offensive tackle in the country by 247 Sports Composite, and, at 6’6″ 253 lbs., is a beast.
Brown is down to Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and LSU, but many believe it’s down to the Cats and the Gators. Brown is currently visiting Florida, and sadly, seems to be having an excellent time:
Before we get too worried, he posted this tweet last night:
His Crystal Ball is also encouraging: 88% UK, 9% Florida. Don’t have too much fun down there, George.
Friday night Kentucky played some Yhatzee with the commitments of 4-star Safety Marcus Walker and a commitment from 3-star Kei Beckham. Walker became the Cat’s fourth four star commit in the 2015 class and helped launch the Cats back into 247sports.com’s top 20.
The Cats rank 9th in the SEC behind Alabama, A&M, South Carolina, Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi State (25 commits), Georgia, and LSU. Clearly the Cats are closing the talent gap with some of these teams and bringing in multiple 18th ranked classes will have the Cats much more competitive than multiple 50th ranked classes. Stoops and the staff continue to dominate recruiting like we have never seen in Lexington.
Do you think Kentucky will end this year with their third straight highest finish ever?
YAHTZEE strikes again for the third time this weekend. Reports are coming out from 247 Sports and Josh Edwards that 2016 Athlete/Wide Receiver Zy’Aire Hughes has committed to Kentucky. Hughes is from McCracken County and committed after his high school team competed in 7 v. 7 today at UK.
Hughes was one of Kentucky’s big in-state targets in a loaded 2016 class for the state of Kentucky. Hughes is an impressive prospect who has drawn rave reviews for his immense athleticism. Hughes held offers from Purdue and Western Kentucky, and was also receiving interest from Louisville and Tennessee.
Keep the dice rolling, Stoops.
With 2 big commitments from highly touted defensive backs this weekend, Kentucky may be adding another 4-Star prospect to the 2015 class in the near future.
Cincinnati (OH) OL George Brown Jr. is rated as a 3-Star prospect by 247Composite and the 42nd ranked OT in the country, but has a very long list of suitors. Brown holds offers from some of the nations elite including Auburn, Baylor, Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, and UCLA but as his announcement draws nearer, it appears Kentucky is in a prime position to land the highly coveted OL based on his recent Twitter activity. George Brown is also the cousin of 2014 UK signee Mike Edwards who also came from Winton Woods HS in Cincinnati.
Need To Talk With The Family But I Think Close To Home Is Feeling Good 👌💯
— ⭐George Brown Jr⭐ (@MADDAWG_G) July 19, 2014
I Really Think Me And My Boys Can Change Things Around #WhyNot
— ⭐George Brown Jr⭐ (@MADDAWG_G) July 19, 2014
Nothing like the thought of a Yahtzee to get your weekend started? Am I right? Here’s some highlights for you to indulge in.
Kentucky rolled the dice for the second time tonight with another commitment for the class of 2015. Three star CB Kei Beckham joins 4-star Marcus Walker as Kentucky’s second YAHTZEE of the day. Beckham picked the Cats over Louisville and West Virginia.
Beckham hails from Ohio and moves Kentucky’s 2015 recruiting class into the 16th spot nationally according to Rivals, ahead of Ohio State.
The dice are rolling on this Friday evening as Kentucky just received a commitment from 4-star Florida Safety Marcus Walker. Walker held offers from Arkansas, Michigan State, Tennessee and UCF. According to 247 Sports composite rankings, Walker is the 19th rated safety in the class of 2015. Walker was formerly committed to Kentucky before re-opening his recruitment. Walker makes the 13th commitment for Kentucky in the class of 2015.