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Football Recruiting News
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 21st, 2017 @ 2:00pm
Earlier today, Kentucky picked up its seventh commitment in the 2018 class, three-star athlete Shocky Jacques-Louis. Not only does Jacques-Louis have a fantastic name, he just bumped Kentucky’s 2018 class into the top 20 nationally. Right now, Mark Stoops’ 2018 class is ranked 19th by Rivals, ahead of programs like Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, and Louisville. Of course, it’s early, but still, that’s an impressive start, and good enough for fourth in the SEC behind LSU (#4), Texas A&M (#17), and Florida (#8).
Back to Shocky Jacques-Louis. He’s Kentucky’s fourth commitment in the 2018 class from the state of Florida, a testament to Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw’s hard work in the area. Shocky will reportedly play wide receiver for Kentucky and was courted heavily by Alex Reigelsperger, who committed back in February. After Shocky shared the news, Reigelsperger took to Twitter to celebrate:
We got another one oh my😧 yall thought I was playing about those 3-4 around the spring game huh😧 #BBN
— Alex Reigelsperger (@a_reigelsperger) April 21, 2017
If his name and Twitter picture weren’t reason enough for you to fall in love with Shocky, here’s a profile of him and his twin brother, Rocky. Shocky and Rocky Jacques-Louis. Wow. Can we have Rocky too?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 21st, 2017 @ 11:25am
You’re looking at Shocky Jacques-Louis, a three-star 2018 athlete from Dunbar High School in Fort Meyers, Florida, and according to Patrick Loney on Twitter, he just committed to Kentucky.
The 6’2″ 165 lbs. Jacques-Louis has a three-star ranking from Rivals and Scout, and is ranked the 48th best athlete in the 2018 class by Scout. He had offers from Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina, Maryland, North Carolina, and several other major programs, but apparently, Eddie Gran’s offer was too enticing to pass on.
What a name. Let’s watch him work:
UPDATE: Here’s the official announcement from Mr. Jacques-Louis himself…
— Shocky Jacques-louis (@ShockyMVP) April 21, 2017
Before the summer camp season begins around the football world, ESPN released their first team rankings for the 2018 recruiting class. Mark Stoops’ 2018 class is ranked No. 22 by the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Alabama is currently ranked No. 25.
Stoops only has six commits so far in the 2018 class, headlined by dual-threat quarterback Jarren Williams and defensive end Alex Reigelsperger. Both are four-star recruits ranked in the Top 300 of their class; Reigelsperger is No. 147 and Williams is No. 257 overall.
Obviously, much will change before the recruiting calendar year comes to a close ten months from now on National Signing Day. If the class can finish better than No. 22, it will be the highest-ranked recruit class in school history, surpassing the 2014 class. A look at how Stoops’ class stacks up in all four major recruiting services:
- ESPN: 22
- 247 Composite: 23
- Rivals: 21
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 16th, 2017 @ 8:05pm
We have a late Easter present for you all…
2018 Three-star WR Cadarius Gaskin out of Delray Beach, FL just committed to Kentucky!
The 6’4, 215 lb. receiver committed to the Wildcats over North Carolina State, Syracuse, Illinois, and West Virginia.
College football insider Ryan Bartow broke the news.
— Ryan Bartow (@RyanBartow) April 16, 2017
Check out what the newest Wildcat had to say on Twitter:
Watch him work:
Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR
“Recruiting is a lot like shaving. If you don’t do it everyday you’re going to look like a bum.” If Mark Stoops’ message to KSR applies this weekend, he’ll be bald for tomorrow night’s spring game.
The Kentucky football program is hosting dozens of elite recruits from across the country, featuring 2018 commits, legacy recruits, stars from the Commonwealth and many more.
Defensive end Alex Reigelsperger will return to Lexington once again with his five-star wide receiver teammate, L’Christian “Blue” Smith, the highest-ranked recruit Kentucky is pursuing in the 2018 class. However, nobody will arrive with more buzz than Jarren Williams.
The dual-threat quarterback is one the hottest names in the country, most recently offered by Alabama. Williams received a call from Stoops shortly after that offer was extended. He told Alabama’s SEC Country it matters that UK was there when other schools wanted him to switch positions.
“It matters that they were there,” Williams said. “You want to go somewhere where you’re a priority. You don’t want to go somewhere where nobody really knows who you are and the coaches aren’t high on you. I know I’m a priority at Kentucky. They took me in when I didn’t really know anything about recruiting. They have made me feel like I’m a part of the team.
“I’m firmly committed. People have asked me a lot lately where I stand and if I’m looking around. I wouldn’t say that the word is looking. It’s more so I’m listening to what others have to say.”
The Best of Ohio
The talented Lakota West duo will return to campus this weekend. Xavier Peters is one of the best linebackers in the country and a top 250 player in the nation. Defensive tackle Tyler Bentley returns to campus with offers from Alabama and LSU. Bentley’s recruitment has been a back-and-forth battle between the Cats and the Cars, but the SEC West offers will shake things up.
Even though the Cats already have one Ohio tight end committed in the 2018 class, Brenden Bates, Vince Marrow needs to stockpile his position group with Greg Hart and (potentially) C.J. Conrad departing after this season. Marrow is turning to Leonard Taylor, a four-star 6’4″ tight end who is ranked as the No. 61 player overall in the 2018 class by 247. Taylor’s Springfield High teammate, Cameron Hoelscher, will also be at UK, his first major college offer.
The Best in the Bluegrass
If you listened to last week’s Depth Chart Podcast, you heard Freddie hype the treasure trove of talent in the Kentucky’s 2018 class. Two of the best will be in Lexington for the Blue/White Game. Both have offers from Alabama and just about every college football program in the country.
Waggener cornerback Jairus Brents is a 4-star phenom, ranked No. 166 overall by the 247 Composite. Considered a Louisville-lean, he visited Florida State last week. Rondale Moore doesn’t have overwhelming size, but that doesn’t slow down the 5’8″ Trinity wide receiver. 247 ranks Moore as the No. 79 player in America. He most recently picked up an offer from Ohio State. Watch him do work:
The addition of Eddie Gran, Darin Hinshaw and Lamar Thomas have helped the Cats’ cause in Florida.
The best of the best from perennial national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas will be in the stands tomorrow night. Nik Bonitto has the most hype. The Top 100 4-star defensive end has all of the Florida schools fighting off Jim Harbaugh. His middle linebacker, Rocky Shelton, doesn’t have as many offers from top schools but he has the best linebacker name since Dick Butkus.
Three-star wide receiver Alonzo Clark does not attend Thomas Aquinas, but he is from Ft. Lauderdale. Hopefully he carpools with the other two. Running back/athlete Andrew Cunningham is making the trip from Tampa. The Cats’ toughest competition for Cunningham is from the Cardinals.
A pair of early enrollees, Jamin Davis and Danny Clark, have talented younger brothers. Caden Clark is a sophomore tight end with a scholarship offer from Kentucky. Jamin’s younger brother Treyon Davis will be a sophomore cornerback at Long County. For me, this isn’t newsworthy. If I enrolled early and my little brother didn’t come to the spring game, he’d learn his lesson on Easter Sunday.
Defensive end Tyler Baylor has a unique legacy. The grandson of NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor was Joshua Paschal and Naasir Watkins’ teammate last year at Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland. He’s pretty good too, considered the No. 10 defensive end in the class by 247.
There is a lot more talent on the lengthy guest list, like Missouri running back Donovan Marshall, but I am not brave to steal Stoops’ RSVPs.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 12th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Happy Wednesday, everyone, and shoutout to this baby, who, even at a very, very young age, has his or her priorities in order. Flattery will get you everywhere, friends…even if it comes in the form of a baby picture.
Now, let’s make that baby happy and go over today’s agenda, shall we? It’s a busy one.
1. Today is the first day of the spring signing period
Starting today, prospects can make their commitments official, which means that in some point over the next few days, we’ll see signatures roll in from Jarred Vanderbilt, who committed December 23 after the early signing was period was over, and Jemarl Baker, who committed yesterday.
2. Landing Baker was huge
Jemarl Baker’s commitment may not seem like a huge deal because he’s only a four-star, but he’s a player Kentucky desperately needs for next season. Baker is probably the best shooter of the remaining prospects, and although he may not be an elite guy like Kevin Knox, he’s still good and will be around for more than one year. Plus, he’s committed now, whereas Knox is going to wait until April 28 or May 1 to decide. Knox is an incredible talent, but waiting on him is a gamble Calipari can’t afford to make with so few shooters on next year’s roster.
3. Who else will join the class?
Obviously, Mohamed Bamba is priority #1, followed closely by Knox. Kentucky has offers out to Illinois Mr. Basketball Mark Smith and Pitt transfer Cam Johnson as well. I think you can count on at least two of those five joining the squad, possibly three. If I had to put money on it (and I won’t because I’m not Drew), I’d go with Bamba and Johnson.
Speaking of Bamba and Knox…
4. Today is Media Day at the Jordan Brand Classic
Get ready to hear more from Bamba, Knox, Quade Green, Nick Richards, Jarred Vanderbilt, and PJ Washington, because today is Media Day at the Jordan Brand Classic, the final high school all-star game of the season. KSR contributor Colleen Wagoner will be on the scene for us to bring you video of the future Cats, so keep an eye out.
5. Derek Willis heads to Portsmouth
Willis was selected to participate in the annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a pre-draft camp that features some of the best seniors in college basketball. The tournament actually starts today, but Willis’ team doesn’t play until tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Willis will play alongside Bryce Alford (UCLA), Jabari Bird (California), Matt Jones (Duke), Mangok Mathiang (Louisville), Erick McCree (Louisiana Tech), DeWayne Russell (Grand Canyon) and Steve Taylor Jr. (Toledo).
(Cue the Matt Jones jokes.)
If you missed it yesterday, Derek and Dom recapped the season in this video for KyWildcatsTV, and it’s great:
6. I can’t stop watching this video of a guy getting run over by a deer
A Canadian man was run over by a deer last weekend after getting out of a coworker’s car, but because it happened on April Fool’s Day (and, you know, who gets run over by a deer?), nobody believed him when he said it happened. Luckily, there was a security camera rolling, giving us the best viral deer video since that poor runner got tackled by one a few months ago.
— ABC News (@ABC) April 11, 2017
Turns out the guy is a rapper and plans to write a song about the incident. Of course.
7. Drew Barker probably won’t play in the spring game
Friday night’s Spring Game is right around the corner, and yesterday, both Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw hinted that Drew Barker won’t play. Barker told reporters he’s 75-80% recovered from his back surgery, but the staff doesn’t want to take any chances. On the flip side, Barker said he’s on track to graduate from UK in August and will enroll in the MBA program, and although the temptation to be a grad transfer must be there considering Stephen Johnson’s success last season, Barker said he remains committed to staying at UK and winning his job back.
Barker’s journey at Kentucky hasn’t always been a smooth one, but as someone who helped him write the Drew Barker Diary for KSR back when he was in high school, I’m very proud of how he’s matured, especially after watching this video from yesterday’s media opp:
8. Speaking of quarterbacks, can Alabama please stay away from ours?
If you heard a collective groan across the Bluegrass last night, it’s because Kentucky’s 2018 QB commit Jarren Williams picked up an offer from Alabama:
Blessed to recieve my 21st offer from the University of Alabama pic.twitter.com/ijp5JJMko3
— Jarren Williams (@Jarren2Williams) April 11, 2017
Go away, Alabama. Seriously.
9. Get ready for the Spring Game with the KSR Football Podcast
Nick, Freddie, Drew, and Jared reunited yesterday at the iHeart Radio studios to bring you a special Spring Game edition of the KSR Football Podcast. It’s been too long since we’ve heard tales of the Versailles Kroger, Forrest Gump jokes, or Nick’s cheesy puns, so do yourself a favor and pull it up on the KSR feed on iTunes or the countless other podcasting services.
Need more? Mark Stoops will be on the radio show at 11:30 a.m. to get you ready for the Spring Game as only he can.
10. The Mavericks claimed DeAndre Liggins
Earlier this week, the Cavaliers waived Liggins, but he didn’t stay out there long. The Mavericks claimed Liggins yesterday and he’ll join fellow former Cat Nerlens Noel on the roster with one game left in the regular season. That’s right, the playoffs start this weekend, which means today is your last chance to see most of Kentucky’s best players in the league. More on that later today in the BBNBA roundup.
Until then, get some work done because the radio show starts in one hour. Remember, STOOPS at 11:30.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 11th, 2017 @ 6:00pm
One of Mark Stoops’ prized commitments in the 2018 class just picked up an offer from Alabama. Ugh.
Jarren Williams, an ESPN top 300 player, tweeted the news that Bama is the 21st school to offer him a scholarship:
Blessed to recieve my 21st offer from the University of Alabama pic.twitter.com/ijp5JJMko3
— Jarren Williams (@Jarren2Williams) April 11, 2017
A dual-threat quarterback, Williams committed to Kentucky last summer and has blown up even more since that pledge. He’s recently picked up offers from Florida, West Virginia, Arizona State, Wisconsin, LSU, Ole Miss and now Alabama, and those are all within the last month. (CAN Y’ALL PLEASE BACK TF OFF)
Williams still insists he’s happily committed to UK and will be a Wildcat, but we’ve all seen this movie too many times in football recruiting. It’s never over until it is over.
Remember Mac Jones?
The pipeline keeps pumping.
Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports is predicting Leonard Taylor, 247’s 3rd ranked tight end in the class of 2018, will become a Wildcat. Ohio State is currently leading the Crystal Ball predictions, but Wiltfong’s coverage of Nike’s The Opening football camp seems to have indicated to him that UK is in good shape for the 6’4″, 250 lb. TE.
Does Vince Marrow ever sleep?
Future UK defense end Alex Reigelsperger was a guest on this morning’s KSR radio show and he teased some big news on the horizon for Kentucky football.
Reigelsperger couldn’t say exactly what is ahead for the program, but he did tell Big Blue Nation to be ready for multiple football-related headlines in the coming weeks. He said expect some the week of the Blue-White game (the week after next) and then the week after.
It sounds like there are some new names coming to Kentucky’s Class of 2018.
Four-star defensive end Alex Reigelsperger announced on Twitter that he will be an early enrollee at the University of Kentucky next winter.
The Dayton, Ohio native spoke to Mark Stoops last night and they decided to bring him on in to Lexington to get a head start on the competition.
It’s always good to lock them down early and get them on campus ahead of the curve.
Big news for the future Wildcat and the Cats’ 2018 recruiting class.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 27th, 2017 @ 2:15pm
We now interrupt your misery to bring you a bit of a distraction. You’re looking at Josh Ali, a three-star wide receiver/athlete that is signed on to play football at Kentucky next season. Ali is so fast — “HOW FAST IS HE” — that his cleats broke apart while he was running at a camp down in Florida yesterday. Unfortunately, video of said run doesn’t appear to exist, but Ali did pose with the torn up cleats afterwards:
— FOOTBALLVILLE (@FOOTBALLVILLETV) March 26, 2017
— Josh Ali (@_JoshAli6) March 26, 2017
Good news: Adidas is sending him a new pair. Also, Kentucky is a Nike school, so he won’t have to worry about crappy shoes for much longer. Check out Ali’s speed for yourself in his senior highlight film:
By Nick Roush on ©March 10th, 2017 @ 5:04pm
Cincinnati Moeller tight end Brenden Bates has committed to Kentucky. The four-star 6’5″ tight end is a considered Top 225 player in the junior class by Rivals and 247 Sports.
Recruited by Vince Marrow, Bates chose Kentucky over Cincinnati, Louisville, Duke, West Virginia and Indiana among others. He is the fifth commit in the class of 2018, the second from the state of Ohio. The addition of Bates will move Kentucky up to No. 17 class in the 257 Composite Rankings.
As C.J. Conrad and Greg Hart near the end of their Kentucky careers, tight end is a priority position in the 2018 recruiting class. It doesn’t get much better than Bates. The lengthy pass-catcher excels in the slot, bringing the trademark versatility we’ve seen during Conrad’s first two years at Kentucky. Last year for Moeller, a Cincinnati Catholic school powerhouse, he caught 15 passes for 224 yards (14.9 avg.) and a touchdown. Watch him do work:
By Nick Roush on ©February 25th, 2017 @ 12:20pm
After announcing his decision to attend the University of Kentucky, Alex Reigelsperger celebrated by posing for a picture in Mark Stoops’ office with Vince Marrow.
Reigelsperger said UK’s family approach set them apart from other schools. He is excited to join his former teammate Tobias Gilliam at Kentucky. He could add another teammate to the Kentucky family, Blue Smith, the 6’6″ athlete in the picture between Reigelsperger and Marrow.
By Nick Roush on ©February 25th, 2017 @ 12:03pm
Ohio defensive end Alex Reigelsperger, ranked by ESPN as the No. 166 junior in America, announced on the KSR Pregame Show he will play for Mark Stoops at the University of Kentucky.
Reigelsperger chose Kentucky over Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and many more. The addition of the pass rusher pushes Stoops’ 2018 class into the 247 composite’s Top 25 at No. 24. Reigelsperger is the fourth commit in the 2018 class, the first from the state of Ohio.
Hailing from national powerhouse Wayne High School, Reigelsperger will join a former teammate in Lexington, redshirt freshman safety Tobias Gilliam. The addition of Reigelsperger gives Vince Marrow another recruiter in the Wayne locker room. Wayne wide receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith is Marrow’s top Ohio target in the 2018 class. On campus this weekend, Blue is a consensus Top 100 player, ranked as high as No. 23 by Rivals.
At 6’4″ 240 punds, Reigelsperger moves extremely well for his size, also a featured tight end on offense. Even though he just completed his junior season, he’s already a sound technician at end. He remains disciplined in the pass rush, ensuring containment is not lost by keeping his outside shoulder free. Like all young defensive lineman, he has a tendency to play a little too high, but not too high to blow up a pulling guard in his junior highlight reel.
Mark Stoops’ second Junior Day is at an optimal time. Rupp Arena will be rocking, Memorial Coliseum will be packed for DanceBlue; if only the warm weather held out for one more day, it would be the perfect weekend to visit UK.
Dozens and dozens of recruits are visiting from as close as Scott County — like four-star offensive tackle Bryan Hudson — or as far as the DMV. Still riding offseason momentum, it’s the perfect chance to bring in the best of the best see how much UK has improved. There are many more visitors not listed, including underclassmen, but here are some of the best from 2018 on campus right now.
Wayne and Lakota West
Dayton’s Division I (Ohio’s equivalent to 6A football) football powerhouse is consistently a nationally-ranked team. Vince Marrow has already pulled one from Wayne, hard-hitting safety and redshirt freshman to-be Tobias Gilliam. In ’18, he could receive two commits from Wayne.
Alex Reigelsperger is a pass-rushing defensive end ranked No. 166 in the class by ESPN. Pitt and Cincinnati are UK’s top two competitors. Reigelsperger may have been close to committing to UK once before. If all goes well, he could pledge before summer.
The Big Dog’s Biggest Dog in this class is L’Christian “Blue” Smith. Blue’s name makes him a perfect fit at Kentucky, but an opportunity to play for Calipari still might not be enough to pull the 6’6″ wide receiver out of the state of Ohio. A consensus Top 100 player, Top 25 according to Rivals, Ohio State broke normal protocol to give Blue an early offer. A long fight lies ahead, but if Marrow can convince Blue to bleed blue forever, it will be his greatest recruiting accomplishment yet.
The other school taking up a lot of space on UK’s big board is Lakota West. The suburban Cincinnati school has produced Wildcats before (most recently Mikel Horton) and now there are two talents considering heading south on I-75.
Defensive tackle Tyler Bentley recently named UofL as his leader, but this is the second time he’s visited UK in 2017. Outside linebacker Xavier Peters is 247’s ninth-ranked outside linebacker in the 2018 class. Penn State and Ohio State are also recruiting him heavily, but the Buckeyes have yet to offer Peters.
Tight End Tandem
Greg Hart only has one year remaining and C.J. Conrad has just two (maybe less), which means tight ends must be a priority in the upcoming class. Vince Marrow is looking for reinforcements in the Cincinnati Catholic school league.
Josh Whyle is a 6’6″ 220-pounder from La Salle who’s received interest from Cincinnati, Purdue and a few other Big 10 programs. Moeller’s Brenden Bates is not flying under the radar like Whyle. The four-star recruit is considered the No. 11 tight end in America.
Normally outside of UK’s reach, Stoops is extending recruiting territory into Michigan. You’d think the coaches from Ohio wouldn’t give a damn about the whole state of Michigan, but that cliche is not true for all Ohio natives.
Tyrone Sampson is considered the No. 1 center in America, yet he hasn’t received many offers from Power Five schools….until UK offered earlier this week. Four-star offensive guard Marquan McCall has received all of the big offers, but Kentucky isn’t shying away. Outside linebacker DeAndre Square is the third four-star prospect from Michigan on campus this weekend.
Those are just the big names. When one high-profile recruit is invited to campus, he usually brings teammates and underclassmen. The exposure to the younger players in different areas like the DMV is an invaluable asset Stoops has acquired through four seasons at Kentucky.