Football Recruiting News
By Nick Roush on ©October 04th, 2018 @ 2:00pm
Not long ago, many believed Kentucky was behind the eight-ball in in-state recruiting. Now the Cats have momentum with four four-star recruits entering the final stretch of the 2019 recruiting season.
The Commonwealth’s top eight 2019 prospects are consensus four-star players. Half of them decided early on they wanted to play college football outside of the state. When Alabama, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech received high-profile commitments, many worried Mark Stoops lost his touch. Then he let the Big Dog loose.
Since Marrow assumed the lead for in-state recruits, the Cats have been on a role. After picking up commitments from Eli Cox and TaeTae Crumes, Marrow has put UK in a position to land all four of the remaining four-star recruits.
For the Mississippi State game, Kentucky hosted four-star defensive end J.J. Weaver. The Louisville Moore pass-rusher watched Josh Allen wreak havoc against the Mississippi State offense. Now he has an official visit scheduled for October 20 when the Cats host Vanderbilt. It will be Weaver’s final official visit before he announces November 3. Weaver has a top six, but most believe it’s between Kentucky and Louisville. His close relationship with Crumes may help put UK over the top.
Two more four-stars were in town for Kentucky’s win over South Carolina. Wandale Robinson visited unofficially while Jared Casey used an official visit. Sources tell KSR Robinson’s visit “could not have gone any better.” The same can probably be said for Casey, who promptly announced a decision date just a few days after leaving Lexington.
Each recruit will take their final official visits this weekend. Casey will be in Madison to watch Wisconsin play Nebraska, while Robinson will be in Columbus to see Ohio State stomp Indiana. Oregon is the apparent leader for Casey, while Alabama and Ohio State duke it out for Robinson. If either decide to stay inside the Commonwealth to play college football, Kentucky is the apparent choice.
There’s also a wild card in the mix. Christian Academy of Louisville wide receiver Milton Wright is the top-ranked uncommitted prospect in the state, considered by 247 Sports as the No. 153 player in the nation. Wright has a top five featuring UK, UofL, Purdue, Alabama and Ohio State. No recruitment has been quieter than Wright’s, but the scuttlebutt around recruiting circles is that Wright is leaning toward UK. If Vince Marrow can land a commitment from Wright, it will shock the recruiting world.
At one point in time, it looked like Kentucky would be lucky to land one of the four. Now there’s a good chance Kentucky will receive commitments from three of the state’s final four uncommitted four-star recruits. Oh yeah, and they could pick up a commitment from Shawnkel Knight-Goff, the Commonwealth’s ninth-ranked player and a three-star outside linebacker that was once a Kentucky commit.
Jared Casey will announce his commitment one week from today. If he rocks Kentucky blue, it could be the first domino to fall in a spectacular in-state recruiting season finale for the Wildcats.
A four-star Louisville linebacker has a decision date and the timing bodes well for Kentucky.
Jared Casey revealed on Twitter he will make his college decision one week from Thursday on October 11. The announcement comes just a few days removed from an official visit to Kentucky. After his trip to Lexington, Casey told 247 Sports, “It feels like home every time I go down there.”
Casey will choose between Kentucky, Louisville, Oregon and Wisconsin. He took an official visit to Oregon in early September and will use his final official visit this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin.
The four-star Ballard High School linebacker is considered the No. 260 player in America by 247 Sports. The Crystal Ball currently gives Oregon a 62-38 advantage over Louisville.
By Nick Roush on ©September 29th, 2018 @ 1:30pm
Last weekend’s recruiting effort quickly produced results. Two players committed within 24 hours after UK’s win over Mississippi State. If that success is replicated this weekend, Kentucky’s 2019 recruiting class will be in excellent shape.
There are quite a few talented in-state recruits unofficially visiting campus. Fresh off another crazy five touchdown performance, Wandale Robinson will travel to Lexington. It could be his last visit to UK before he makes a final decision.
Four-star linebacker Jared Casey will make the trip from Louisville to Lexington for an official visit. Earlier this week Casey cut his list of schools to four — Kentucky, Louisville, Oregon and Wisconsin. Butler wide receiver and UK commit Demontae “TaeTae” Crumes is expected to be on campus too.
A few other highly-ranked recruits from Louisville could be on campus. There are conflicting reports where Milton Wright, the highest-ranked uncommitted player in the state, and J.J. Weaver will be today, UK or UofL. Weaver was in Lexington last weekend and yesterday 247’s Steve Wiltfong logged a Kentucky Crystal Ball prediction for Wright. Between you and me, the “Wright to Kentucky” prediction is a complete shock. I did not think Kentucky stood a chance in Wright’s recruitment. The Big Dog is doing work.
The Cats are expected to host a few other official visitors. South Carolina cornerback Jalen Geiger, a UK commit, is using this weekend for his official visit. Hailing from Mark Stoops’ alma mater Cardinal Mooney, three-star offensive guard Kyle Jornigan is expected to be on campus for an official visit.
Quarterback commit Nik Scalzo made the unexpected trip from Ft. Lauderdale and brought one of his receivers, sophomore Troy Stellato.
There will be quite a few underclassmen in attendance and they aren’t chumps. Vito Tisdale is a top 150 talent in the 2020 class from Bowling Green with offers from Oklahoma and Alabama. Tonight the four-star prospect will be in Lexington.
A few other juniors expected to be in the stands tonight: North Carolina pocket passer Navy Shuler, Tennessee defensive end Jay Hardy and Georgia wide receiver Konata Mumpfield.
When Vince Marrow first got to Kentucky with Mark Stoops, recruiting wasn’t easy. Now the script has been flipped.
UK used to have to sell recruits a vision. That vision featured new training facilities, a renovated stadium and a team that could compete in the SEC. That vision is now a reality and things have changed for Marrow on the recruiting front.
“It was kind of hard recruiting here early when we first got here. Now I know how Ohio State and all them guys feel. When you’re on the other side of the thing and being a top 20 team, you’ve got guys that were so-so, now they want to hurry and take official visits. They’re afraid we’re going to fill up now with all our recruiting boards. It’s good to be on this side and it’s well-deserved. We worked hard for it.”
Marrow actually let out a chuckle when he was asked how Kentucky’s perception has changed. It’s completely different and the fans are responsible for some of that change.
Kroger Field was rocking against Mississippi State. With more than 60,000 in attendance, recruits were treated to a spectacle.
“We had some big recruits in, some guys were on official visits, and they were blown away. Their parents were like, WOW. Some people recruiting against us say we’re just a basketball school. When they left they were like, ‘This is definitely a football school.’ Then getting that win, just put us way up.”
It’s not just that Kentucky got the win, it’s how they won. Josh Allen completely dominated Miss. State’s offense. Sitting in the stands was a guy who plays Allen’s position, four-star Louisville pass rusher J.J. Weaver. When recruits see guys at their position excelling, it gives them confidence that they can achieve great things at Kentucky.
“When you’ve got college directors of pro player personnel guys and GMs coming in this early, that means you’ve got a lot of good players. It ain’t just Benny and Josh. When DBs come in and tight ends are here, it’s easy to recruit when you’ve got a lot of guys that are pro prospects,” Marrow said.
“We got a lot of guys playing well. Josh and Benny stole the headlines, but a lot of other guys played well in that game.”
This weekend’s guest list for the South Carolina game is also quite extensive. Four-star Louisville linebacker Jared Casey will be taking an official visit, UK cornerback commit Jalen Geiger will be in town as well as the BBN’s most desired recruit, Wandale Robinson.
If the atmosphere against South Carolina is anything like what it was against Mississippi State, don’t be surprised if more prospects quickly decide to join Kentucky’s 2019 recruiting class.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 26th, 2018 @ 12:30pm
When Scoop Lemond talks, we listen. This morning on Kentucky Sports Radio, Ryan Lemond hinted that Kentucky’s chances with Wandale Robinson are much better than we all thought.
The four-star all-purpose back from Frankfort won’t take an official visit to Kentucky, but Derek Terry reported this morning that he will be on Kentucky’s campus for an unofficial visit this weekend. According to Scoop, that’s a pretty common occurrence and the Cats are in a “very, VERY” good spot with the in-state star. Hmm.
Through five games this season, Robinson has 1,522 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns for Western Hills. He’s already taken official visits to Purdue, Michigan, Nebraska, and Alabama. He’ll go to Ohio State next weekend. Even more reason to beat South Carolina and have Kroger Field rocking, right?
If anyone was wondering if rain slowed @robinson__era down you've got your answer here. Great night last night, super talented. Check him out. @WHHSKY #BBN #BoilerUp #GoBlue #GBR #GoBucks #RollTide pic.twitter.com/toU8yf86kB
— First String Media (@1stStringMedia) September 22, 2018
By TJ Walker on ©September 25th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
Well, we have some good news and bad news.
I’m a bad news first kinda feller, so here it goes: if Wandale Robinson wants to visit Lexington again it will have to be on his family’s dime. He announced on Tuesday that he will take his last official visit to Ohio State next weekend.
— Wandale Robinson (@robinson__era) September 25, 2018
But the good news: Robinson lives 25 miles from UK’s campus and it makes most financial sense for him to take official visits elsewhere. It still a kinda stinks, but it’s not the end of the world or this recruitment.
Earlier this summer Robinson officially visited Purdue and Michigan. This month he took official visits to Nebraska and just last weekend checked out Alabama (his second visit to Tuscaloosa). Now he will officially visit the school that leads his Crystal Ball- Ohio State.
Robinson has been to Lexington a handful of times and on UK’s campus several times in the last year, but it would have been nice if Robinson and his family allowed UK to pay for an entire weekend in Lexington. That won’t happen.
Let’s hope he can get to a Kentucky game very soon so he can check out the undefeated Cats in a rocking Kroger Field. He’s expecting to make a decision in late October
Robinson has been putting up insane numbers for Western Hills. He has 1,522 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns in five games this season. Bonkers.
Let’s hope the best player in the state stays home.
By Nick Roush on ©September 24th, 2018 @ 5:30pm
Kentucky received two commitments in less than 12 hours after the victory over Mississippi State. Junior college cornerback Brandin Echols and quarterback Amani Gilmore weren’t the only high profile players at Kroger Field Saturday night.
There were multiple members of Kentucky’s 2019 class in town for the game. Two linebackers were on their official visits, KD McDaniel and Taures Payne. McDaniel, a Georgia native, was the first 2019 commitment and is currently the second-highest ranked player in the 2019 class. Payne is a junior college transfer that currently plays with Echols at Northwest Community College in Mississippi.
The highest-ranked member of UK’s class, Moses Douglass, brought a teammate to the game. Isaiah Gibson was in the Kroger Field stands just three days after committing to Kentucky.
— Isaiah Gibson (@IsaiahGibson75) September 22, 2018
There were also plenty of talented in-state recruits in Lexington. J.J. Weaver is not just one of the best remaining 2019 recruits on the board, the four-star defensive end is one of the nation’s top pass rushers. I’m sure Josh Allen’s performance was an eye-opener for the Louisville Moore star. Weaver will return for an official visit later this fall.
Most of the recruits were underclassmen. Junior quarterback and legacy recruit Beau Allen was in the building. John Young, a four-star junior offensive tackle from Louisville Christian Academy, saw Kentucky beat up a physical Miss. State team in the trenches. Another young talent from Louisville, Male wide receiver Izayah Cummings, tried on a Kentucky uniform during his visit.
Another junior quarterback was blown away by Kentucky’s performance. Michael Wright, a three-star pocket passer from Atlanta, left Lexington typing in all caps.
— ?Mike Wright? (@mikewright2020) September 23, 2018
By Eli Mitchell on ©September 23rd, 2018 @ 3:00pm
The weekend keeps getting better and better for the Kentucky football program.
Brandin Echols, the 44th-rated JUCO prospect in the country, just announced on his Twitter page that he has committed to Kentucky.
He decided to join Kentucky’s 2019 recruiting class following an official visit to Lexington this weekend.
Through a tough process between teams my family and I have decided It would be best for me to continue my career with Kentucky. I very much thank all schools that has given me a chance and wish the best of luck for You all. #bbn #WeAreUK #GetUp ?????? pic.twitter.com/iKli952zJr
— Brandin Echols (@matayo_echols) September 23, 2018
This is Kentucky’s second commitment since their huge victory over Mississippi State last night, with three-star quarterback Amani Gilmore choosing the Cats almost immediately after the game went final.
— Amani Gilmore (@iam_maniiii) September 23, 2018
Echols has a chance to make an immediate impact in 2019 as Derrick Baity, Chris Westry, and Lonnie Johnson are all seniors.
Watch him work below:
By Nick Roush on ©September 23rd, 2018 @ 12:01am
After winning a game against the No. 14 team in the country, Mark Stoops’ staff is celebrating with a game of Yahtzee!
Shortly after he saw Kentucky defeat Mississippi State from the Kroger Field stands, Amani Gilmore committed to Kentucky.
— Amani Gilmore (@iam_maniiii) September 23, 2018
A three-star prospect from Amite, Louisiana, the pro-style quarterback was recruited by Michael Smith. Gilmore is the 17th member of UK’s 2019 recruiting class and the second quarterback. Some of his best work:
By Nick Roush on ©September 22nd, 2018 @ 12:45pm
Kentucky’s next quarterback can do so much more than throw a football.
Last night Nik Scalzo threw three touchdown passes in 45-8 victory over Stoneman Douglas High School, but he made his most impressive play with his legs. Scalzo scrambled before going up and over the defender into the end zone.
— Nik Scalzo (@NikScalzo) September 22, 2018
A three-star recruit in the 2019 class, Scalzo was in Gainesville to watch the Cats snap The Streak against Florida. Through five games he’s completed 62 percent of his passes for 916 yards, six touchdowns and only one interception.