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Football Recruiting News
Four star defensive end James Hudson III tweeted this afternoon that he will make his decision soon. Hudson opened his recruiting back up in May, but still listed Kentucky in his top ten on July 3rd.
Commitment coming real soon 😳
— James Hudson III ™ (@__BallisLife2) July 24, 2016
The Toledo native is ranked as the eighth best strong side defensive end and 229th overall player in the country by Rivals.
By Nick Roush on ©July 19th, 2016 @ 8:00pm
The football season is in a transition period. After months of recruiting and hosting camps, the coaching staff is looking ahead to the “real football” that starts in August.
To end the recruiting period, UK hosting hundreds this weekend with three different camps. Recruits received the typical five-star treatment, but for the first time, they were able to show off some of the new Football Training Center. Here’s a little bit of what they saw and who could join wide receiver Clevan Thomas in the class of 2017.
Vince Marrow on the New Facilities
The tight end coach and recruiting coordinator joined the Big Blue Insider Monday night (start listening around 19:30) to discuss what went down that weekend. Since NCAA rules prevent him from discussing specific players, he primarily discussed the reactions of the recruits when they saw the new facilities for the first time.
“They were blown away.”
Many had visited before and seen the construction underway. They expected it to be good, but not this great. “We had some kids visiting other schools and they said this is by far the best facility. The good part is only about 90% done.”
Most of the key elements in the design should be attributed to Mark Stoops and Dan Berezowitz. Marrow said they looked at the top five facilities in the country, took the best pieces from each and made it their own. When he saw it all put together for the first time, he compared it to being a kid on Christmas morning that has so many toys, they don’t know what to do.
Ohio Commits in Town
There were plenty of Ohio commits and recruits in Lexington over the weekend. One didn’t waste anytime getting back to work once he returned home. UK’s highest-ranked commitment, four-star wide receiver Javonte Richardson, spent time yesterday working out with former Michigan State quarterback and current Oakland Raider, Connor Cook.
He rocked Kentucky blue while making a few impressive plays.
Come back to the ball pic.twitter.com/5feyErd9ft
— JIGG (@Jigg_Starter) July 19, 2016
Hit up his Twitter account (@Jigg_Starter) for more.
Recruits to Keep an Eye On
Lynn Bowden — The Youngstown native is a superb athlete. He does not attend the same high school as Stoops and Marrow, but you better believe they are working their connections. After this weekend, it appears that it has worked. A consensus Top 200 player, ranked as the #10 athlete in the nation by 247, they could soon add more 4-star talent in the secondary.
Cedrick Dort — The three-star cornerback from West Palm Beach, Florida announced shortly after leaving Lexington that he’ll make his decision on August 2nd. UK only has one defensive back commitment in the class. Dort could provide depth, speed and length (6’1″).
Danny Davis — Even though the Cats picked up their third wide receiver commit in the class this weekend, they will have plenty of WRs departing over the next two seasons. Davis has enough skill that they will gladly take him. The only question is will the highly-touted Ohio native ditch the best schools in the Big Ten to come to SEC Country?
B.J. Sharpe — The three-star strongish defensive end from Macon, Ga. told Cats Illustrated after attending the big man camp that Kentucky, Alabama and Miss. State are his top three.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 19th, 2016 @ 2:15pm
Kentucky’s new $45 million football training center is nearing completion, and during an appearance on ESPNU this afternoon, Mark Stoops said he’s showing the players their new home tomorrow. The media gets their first look at the state-of-the-art facility later this week, but thanks to a KSR spy, we already have a sneak peek of the inside…
— Cole Denham (@cole_denham) July 19, 2016
Team meeting room:
Avery Williamson got to check out the facility over this past weekend, and, according to Drew, said it’s nicer that most NFL training centers. Personally, I can’t wait to get a first-hand look Saturday at the Women’s Clinic.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 18th, 2016 @ 12:43pm
Can I get a Yahtzee? According to 247Sports.com, 2017 three-star wide receiver Clevan Thomas just committed to Kentucky after attending camp in Lexington yesterday. Thomas, a Miami, Florida native, is considered the 112th best wide receiver in his class by 247 Sports Composite, and chose the Cats over Syracuse and Vanderbilt. He told 247 Sports’ Ryan Bartow that his trip to Lexington was an eye-opener:
“Kentucky really, really wanted me,” Thomas said. “I saw the facilities and I was like, ‘Dang this is what I’ve got to look forward to.’ It was beautiful. All the money they put into it.”
Thomas also cited Eddie Gran’s offense as a reason he committed. He’s now the fourth wide receiver and 11th commit in the 2017 class. Let’s get to know him with some highlights:
By Haley Simpson on ©July 17th, 2016 @ 10:00pm
A few weeks ago, Russ Yeast, son of former UK star Craig Yeast pulled his commitment from Kentucky. Today on Twitter he listed his top six and Kentucky was not among them.
— Russ Yeast (@russ_yeast03) July 17, 2016
The six include Louisville, Auburn, Iowa, Ole Miss, Northwestern and Illinois.
Yeast was one of several of the 2017 class who removed their commitments from Kentucky, but it sounds like tonight’s Sunday Night Lights Camp made quite the impression.
The massive recruiting camp wrapped up a couple hours ago at Commonwealth Stadium. That now concludes the on-campus recruiting camps for the UK coaching staff. Several big names were on campus which we highlighted earlier this evening. The rest of the gang will have more on the big-time visitors tomorrow. Stay tuned for any commitments.
By Kelsey Mattingly on ©July 17th, 2016 @ 5:00pm
The University of Kentucky football program has been busy hosting various camps over the past two months, but that is coming to a conclusion this evening with a big-time recruiting event, the Sunday Night Lights Camp at Commonwealth Stadium. Many of UK’s commitments have been on campus for various camps this weekend as well as some of their top targets.
Some of the current commits include 2018 quarterback Jarren Williams and 2017 Ohio standouts Tyrell Ajian and Javonte Richardson. Richardson, the four-star wide receiver from Maple Heights, OH, is one of the highest ranked commitments the staff has ever received. Justin Rowland with Rivals reported some pretty big camp news this afternoon that UNC commit Malik Robinson also made the trip. Rowland says he is close friends with Jarren Williams. Robinson is a three-star linebacker in the class of 2017 from South Gwinnett High School who chose UNC over 15 other scholarship offers from Auburn, Louisville, Georgia, Notre Dame, Miami, among others.
Here are a few highlight of some of the other targets on campus. Florida State commit and five-star cornerback, Stanford Samuels III is on campus. Samuels has 41 offers and from all the top programs including Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and Michigan. His father, the former FSU standout, is in attendance as well. Three-star Florida receiver, Clevan Thomas is also at camp. Other schools he has offers from include Louisville, WKU and Iowa State. A big-time safety, Jaylen Kelly-Powell is at camp as well. Kelly-Powell is four-star safety from Detroit. He also holds offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State.
We will keep you posted here at KSR on any new information that comes from the camp and any commitments that may come from it!
By Nick Roush on ©July 16th, 2016 @ 10:30pm
After hosting a variety of camps over the last two months, camp season comes to an end at the University of Kentucky this weekend before the real football season begins.
Today there’s a 7-on-7 team competition for high schools and a lineman camp for the big boys. Tomorrow’s Sunday Night Lights Camp at Commonwealth Stadium is the coaching staff’s last effort to roll out the red carpet for their top targets. Here’s a look at who is going in and out of Lexington this weekend.
OL Austin Dotson — The Belfry native impressed throughout the day.
WR Joshua Ali — The Cats’ most recent commit, from Florida.
LB Jamin Davis — The OLB has been a long-time commit, but UofL is trying to swoop in for a steal.
ATH Tyrell Ajian — The 4-star athlete will likely play safety at UK; autocorrect will likely ruin the spelling of his last name at least a dozen times before he’s at UK.
WR Javonte Richardson — The WR is one of the highest ranked commitments they’ve ever received.
QB Jarren Williams — UK’s only commit in 2018 is making the trip for the first time since pledging to Kentucky.
There’s plenty of buzz about a potential commitment coming from Stoops’ hometown. Lynn Bowden is a 4-star Youngstown athlete that dominates both sides of the ball at running back and cornerback. Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops are trying to convince him to stick the hometown guys instead of opting for Penn State or Michigan State.
Top 2017 Targets
DE MJ Webb — The #8 strong-side defensive end in the class, Webb is probably the highest-ranked recruit in attendance. He has offers from everybody, yet UK remains at the top of his list near South Carolina, Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama.
WR Danny Davis — The 4-star 6’3″ Ohio wideout is ranked in the top 250 nationally for Fairfield High in Ohio. Penn State, Michigan State and West Virginia are also at the top of his list.
DE BJ Sharpe — A 3-star on the strong side, Jimmy Brumbaugh spent some extra time with the Georgia native who already has an offer from Alabama.
FS Ahman Ross — The former Miami commit and Mac Jones’ high school teammate is expected to be in town tomorrow.
DE Josh Johnson — A 6’5″ 245-pound native of Peachtree, Georgia, Johnson has yet to receive any major offers.
WR Justin Marshall — UK isn’t included in his top ten and UofL is considered a favorite, but anything can happen, right?
DT Emmanuel McNeil — The 3-star bruiser holds offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State and many more. His high school quarterback, Jarren Williams, is committed to UK.
RB Morgan Ellison — A Pickerington Central teammate of Jaylin Bannerman’s, the 3-star running back does not currently hold an offer from Kentucky.
FS Hunter Sims — Also considered an “athlete,” he’s teammates with Jarren Williams’ Central Gwinnett, competing in the 7-on-7 tournament.
FS Tariq Carpenter — The speedster from Florida has committed to play for UCF.
DE Malik Vann — The Fairfield, Ohio native ranked tenth at his position in the class of 2018 is also considering Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State.
WR Johnny Fritz — UK was the first offer for the tall 2018 St. Cloud, Fl. wide receiver.
CB Andre Seldon Jr. — From the Detroit area, he was offered by UK before playing a game in high school.
DE Stephen Herron Jr. — A Trinity freshman last fall, Justin Rowland believes an offer could be coming soon.
By Nick Roush on ©July 16th, 2016 @ 3:03pm
Kentucky’s most important instate target is spending the final big recruiting weekend of the summer away from Lexington. Instead of camping at Kentucky, he’s traveled south to the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama.
Ranked as the nation’s #8 offensive tackle and #40 player overall by 247 Sports, Wills will begin preparing for his senior season at Lafayette high school when he returns.
Another five-star offensive lineman was planning on visiting this weekend, but due to “unforeseen circumstances” he could not make the trip to Lexington. Jackson Carman is a Top 25 player in the class of 2018, the third-best offensive tackle in the nation. Even though he could not make it today, the Fairfield, Ohio native said he will make it to Lexington soon, “no doubt.”
If you enjoy pancakes, you’ll enjoy Carman’s highlights.
I’ll have more on who made it to campus for the weekend just a little bit later.
The four-star Lafyette offensive lineman is at Nike’s “The Opening” this weekend. The nation’s N0. 6 offensive linemen recently trimmed his list to eight schools, but announced that he will have a top five soon.
Wills said he will visit both Alabama and Georgia after The Opening.
Watch Wills in OL vs DL 1 on 1’s. Don’t worry I already did the fun part of watching the entire clip and finding Wills. Catch the Lexington native around the 4:30 and 7:17 mark.
More videos of Wills going through drills.
— Tyler James (@TJamesNDI) July 8, 2016
— Tyler James (@TJamesNDI) July 9, 2016
— Tyler James (@TJamesNDI) July 8, 2016
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 04th, 2016 @ 5:00pm
Tee Higgins is a five-star wide receiver from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and earlier today, he announced which college he’s taking his talents to in a truly cool and unique manner. Higgins was down to Ole Miss, Ohio State, Florida State, Tennessee and Clemson, and instead of holding a press conference or tweeting his decision out like most recruits, he showed his family and friends which school he was going to…through fireworks:
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 4, 2016
On July 4th, is there anything more appropriate than that?
That was the question asked by ESPN’s SEC Blog the last two days. They examined the 3,762 signees from 2000 to 2016, organizing them by position and their SEC state of origin.
We often talk about how Kentucky is not a talent-laden recruiting base. How bad is it? It’s bad, so bad that it’s sad. The state of Kentucky was dead last at every position, except tight end and athlete. Here are exactly how many offensive prospects came from Kentucky at each position.
- Quarterback: 4
- Running Back: 6
- Wide Receiver: 5
- Tight End: 6
- Offensive Line: 13
Four quarterbacks seem like a low number, but four other states aren’t far ahead, hanging around in the single-digits. Texas dominates all with 42 SEC QBs hailing from the longhorn state. The worst position for the Bluegrass State is without a doubt wide receiver. Mississippi is the least populous state in the SEC and has produced 7x more receivers than the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Now, on to how the state fares for defensive players.
- Defensive Line: 14
- Linebacker: 6
- Defensive Back: 4
- Athlete: 6
“Athlete” doesn’t put Kentucky at the bottom of the barrel, one more than Arkansas. South Carolina, Arkansas and Kentucky are near the bottom of almost every category, while Florida, Georgia and Texas reign at the top. To put it into perspective, over this time period Kentucky has produced 64 total SEC players while Florida has produced 82 SEC wide receivers.
The good news is that the state has started to produce more talent. Where the state’s geographical position is perceived as a negative to get the best from Florida and Georgia, Stoops has turned it into a positive by heading north to Ohio. Still, Kentucky coaches start behind the 8-ball. It’s difficult to understand just how bad it is until you scroll through the long lists and find Kentucky near the bottom, every single time.
By Freddie Maggard on ©July 01st, 2016 @ 9:30pm
In regards of college football recruiting, July is a crucial month. Heavy laden with t-shirt camps, scholarship offers will be collected like stamps. In addition, during these evaluations highly coveted recruiting stars are given or taken away. College destination decisions are certain to oscillate like weathervanes.
From 2008 to 2016, seventeen Wildcats were selected in the NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at where these players were ranked coming out of high school or junior college:
|★★★||Josh Forrest||2016||6th Round||LA Rams|
|★★★||Bud Dupree||2015||1st Round||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|★★★★||Za’Darius Smith||2015||4th Round||Baltimore Ravens|
|★★★||Avery Williamson||2014||5th Round||Tennessee Titans|
|★★★||Larry Warford||2013||3rd Round||Detroit Lions|
|★★★||Winston Guy||2012||6th Round||Seattle Seahawks|
|★★||Danny Trevathan||2012||6th Round||Denver Broncos|
|★★★||Randall Cobb||2011||2nd Round||Green Bay Packers|
|★★★★||Corey Peters||2010||3rd Round||Atlanta Falcons|
|★★||Trevard Lindley||2010||4th Round||Philadelphia Eagles|
|NR||John Conner||2010||5th Round||New York Jets|
|★★||Myron Pryor||2009||6th Round||New England Patriots|
|★★||Jeremy Jarmon||2009||Supplemental||Washington Redskins|
|★★★||Jacob Tamme||2008||4th Round||Indianapolis Colts|
|★★★||Keenan Burton||2008||4th Round||St. Louis Rams|
|★★★★||Andre Woodson||2008||6th Round||New York Giants|
|★★||Stevie Johnson||2008||7th Round||Buffalo Bills|
Notes of interest; Super Bowl Champion and NFL Top 10 linebacker Danny Trevathan was a two-star prospect. Arguably the best player in the history of the university, Randall Cobb, was a late-rising three star. The Steelers first round selection, outside linebacker Bud Dupree, was a three-star tight end. Current center Jon Toth is possibly the best football player on Kentucky’s roster. Where did he rank? Josh Allen was a two-star prospect, and played in the SEC as a true freshman.
Throughout the course of time one recruiting certainty hasn’t changed: No situation is ever as good, or bad as it appears. A short time ago, Texas A&M was considered dead in the water after a string of decommitments followed by a questionable tweet from an assistant coach. The Aggies have since picked up eight commitments including the nation’s top dual threat quarterback. Within a short period of time, former UK commit and four-star QB Mac Jones flipped to Alabama. Shortly after, Wildcat legacy recruit WR Russ Yeast backed out of his Wildcat pledge. Last week, Stoops and company received a pledge from a three-star receiver from Florida. The ebb and flow of recruiting.
As an inquisitive person by nature, I’ve unwaveringly questioned the star system and specifically the vague manner in which prospects are evaluated. Who’s doing the actual evaluation? What criteria is used? How does the medicine ball toss equate to on-field potential? How much input do high school coaches have or are they becoming devalued as in other sports? Should summer-long, weekly camp attendance be a red flag or a positive? Has recruiting actually changed that much or has social media and enhanced coverage by recruiting sites merely overly-popularized the process? I don’t have the answers to these questions. However, the more recruiting evolves, the less I enjoy following its process leading up to National Signing Day. However, I profoundly enjoy evaluating and projecting prospects in actual high school or junior college football games.
It’s not personal, it’s personnel.™
By Drew Franklin on ©July 01st, 2016 @ 5:00pm
When Michael Warren decommitted from the Kentucky football program on May 20, it didn’t necessarily mean the Wildcats were completely out of consideration for the four-star running back’s services.
At the time of his decommitment, Warren wrote on Twitter, “I just want to open up my recruitment and enjoy my recruiting process because this is only a once in a life time experience. Kentucky is still a top team on my list.”
That is still the case today as Warren named his top six schools and Kentucky is still in the hunt. The Toledo product is also considering Iowa State, Boston College, Rutgers, Louisville and his hometown school, Toledo.
— Michael Warren II (@MikeWarren40) July 1, 2016
It’s also worth noting that Warren is a high school teammate of James Hudson, another Wildcat decommit in the class. Hudson, who was arguably the top commit when he was on board, decommitted two days before Warren; but he is also keeping Kentucky in mind moving forward.
Gotta stay on those two, Vince.
By Nick Roush on ©June 30th, 2016 @ 9:00pm
— Kentucky makes the cut for Ahman Ross. You might have forgotten about Ahman Ross. The 3-star 2017 safety was a one-time Miami commit. Once he removed his pledge, he was arguably Kentucky’s top target because he’s teammates with Mac Jones at The Bolles School. Jones’ decision to flip to Alabama has not made a difference for Ross. He recently told Rivals that Kentucky, Louisville and West Virginia are his leaders. He plans to visit Indiana, Louisville and Kentucky in July.
— Russ Yeast explains his decision to decommit. The son of Craig Yeast, one of the best receivers to ever wear a Kentucky uniform, committed to Kentucky on July 28 of last year, but removed his pledge on June 16. A two-way athlete, Yeast explained why he reopened his recruitment to The Cats Pause.
“I just don’t feel like it is the best situation for me. Some people can’t see why because my parents played sports there and all but in the end I’m the one going to school,” Yeast told The Cats’ Pause.
“Nothing happened between me and the coaching staff that forced me to make my decision nor did any in my family force me to make that decision; unlike what some reporters and people may think. I just need to take some time to back off and fully evaluate some of these other programs and make a proper decision.”
He’s still open to Kentucky but his decision is likely down to Louisville, Iowa, Ole Miss, Auburn, Illinois and Northwestern.
— Cats in the mix for 2017 wide receiver. 3-star Florida WR Leroy Henley Tweeted out a Top 11 earlier today.
— Leroy henley (@leedady1998) June 30, 2016
I wouldn’t normally share something like this, but I want you to pay attention to the handle at the end. Who is @Hayesfawcett3? He’s only one of the nation’s preeminent recruiting insiders and he’s just 15 years old. Fawcett creates many of the edits you see when players trim their list or commit via Twitter. Fawcett’s story from The Clarion Ledger is one of the most fascinating articles I’ve read in a long time. I highly recommend investing a few minutes of your time.
— JD’s got a few tricks up his sleeve. I don’t know how anyone can have as many handshakes as JD Harmon, but the senior from Paducah pulls it off. This time he has the mascots in the mix.
— The Kentucky Wildcat (@The_Wildcat) June 30, 2016
By Drew Franklin on ©June 29th, 2016 @ 5:15pm
One of Kentucky’s top in-state targets in the 2017 recruiting class has eliminated two schools from consideration, narrowing his list from 10 to eight schools.
Jedrick Wills, the five-star offensive tackle out of Lexington, is down to Kentucky, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, LSU and Florida, he announced today on Twitter, in that order.
— jedrick wills jr. (@JWills73) June 29, 2016
Wills eliminated Michigan State and Ohio State. Take that, Big Ten.
His high school coach recently told the Courier-Journal the plan is to make a decision before his senior season.