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A Look at Kentucky’s 20 Signees in the 2018 Recruiting Class

A Look at Kentucky’s 20 Signees in the 2018 Recruiting Class

@BJ_4

Kentucky is off to a great start with the 2018 recruiting class. Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow expected to sign about 90 percent of the class on the first day of the first ever Early Signing Period, and that’s exactly what they’ve done this morning.

Stoops hopes to finish the class with 23-24 players.  Right now Kentucky has 20 signees and Stoops said, “I expect a few more pieces to be in here sometime this morning.”

The last committed Cat who has not signed is Xavier Peters.  The four-star All-American linebacker could sign at any moment over the next three days, but he will likely wait until the traditional National Signing Day on the first Wednesday of February.

Kentucky’s current crop of signees features All-American offensive tackle Darian Kinnard, surprise signing day addition Bryce Oliver and eight from the state of Florida, the most Mark Stoops has ever recruited in one class from The Sunshine State.

Kentucky Football 2018 Signees

NamePositionHometownHeightWeight 247 Composite
Marquan McCallOGOak Park, Mi.6-43204-star
Darian KinnardOTCleveland, Oh.6-73364-star
Terry WilsonQBOmaha, Ne.6-21803-star
DeAndre SquareS/OLBDetroit, Mi.6-12003-star
Brenden BatesTECincinnati, Oh.6-52303-star
Stanley GarnerCBFt. Lauderdale, Fl.6-31803-star
Quintin WilsonCCincinnati, Oh. 6-32903-star
Marvin AlexanderWRHollywood, Fl.6-31753-star
Jamari BrownCBPompano Beach, Fl.6-31803-star
Davoan HawkinsDEHollywood, Fl.6-42703-star
Akeem HayesATH/WRHollywood, Fl.5-101753-star
Keaton UpshawTELima, Oh.6-72253-star
Bryce Oliver WRFt. Lauderdale, Fl.6-32053-star
Christopher RodriguezRBMcDonough, Ga.5-112003-star
Ashtan PierreATHDeerfield Beach, Fl.6-21913-star
Domonique WilliamsJUCO CBKnoxville, Tn.5-101903-star
Kenneth HorseyOTSeminole, Fl. 6-43253-star
Jerquavion “Qua” Mahone DTManchester, Ga.6-4195N/A
Chance PooreKAnderson, Sc.6-32003-star
Max DuffyPWestern Australia6-11763-star

KSR’s Early Signing Day Live Thread for UK Football’s 2018 Class

KSR’s Early Signing Day Live Thread for UK Football’s 2018 Class

For the first time, Kentucky football will sign its newest prospects a little early.  Instead of waiting until the first Wednesday in February, the 2018 class will get to make it official in December of 2017.

Mark Stoops expects to sign about 20 of the 24-man recruiting class today.  Keep it locked right here as the faxes roll in.  We’ll keep you updated on who’s in, who’s out, any potential surprises and a ton of typical KSR ridiculousness.


Nick, 9:37 — Shut it Down.

Xavier Peters will likely wait until February to sign.  Instead of waiting for his official papers, enjoy a couple hours of Kentucky Sports Radio then come back to the website for press conference updates from Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow following Music City Bowl Practice around 12:30.


Nick, 9:28 — Add Brenden Bates to the Board

A huge get for Kentucky, Bates initially planned on waiting to sign until the traditional February date, but after last weekend’s official visit he could not wait any longer.  That leaves Xavier Peters as the only IK commitment who has yet to make it official.


SIGNED: BRENDEN BATES


Brenden Bates 
Tight End | 6-5 | 230 lbs.
Cincinnati, Oh. | Moeller
Highlights
★★★
ESPN  — | 11 TE Top 247  No. 674 | 30 TE
Rivals  — | 20 TE 247 Composite  No. 568 | 24 TE

Bio: An early commitment in the 2018 class, Bates spurned Louisville, West Virginia, Minnesota, Iowa and others to come to Kentucky.  A pass-first tight end that often plays split out as a wide receiver, he’ll fit in seamlessly at UK once he adds some weight to his frame and learns the art of run-blocking from Vince Marrow and C.J. Conrad.


Nick, 9:00 — Signees go Head-to-Head

Kentucky’s two junior college signees played in the same Kansas Community College league.  Cornerback Dom Williams went head-to-head with Terry “Touchdown” Wilson.  Williams picked up a blocked field goal and returned it 80-yards to give Highland the early 6-0 lead, but a pair of second half touchdowns by Terry Touchdown carried Garden City to a 27-23 victory.

Williams’ highlights:

Wilson’s highlights:


Nick, 8:56 — Hayes: Heavyweight Champ

Chaminade-Madonna wide receiver Akeem Hayes has the best football recruiting picture since Jacob Hyde rolled into prom on a lawnmower.


Nick, 8:41 — And then there were two…

Now that Ashtan Pierre is on the board, Kentucky is only waiting on a pair of highly sought after recruits from Cincinnati, tight end Brenden Bates and linebacker Xavier Peters.


SIGNED: ASHTAN PIERRE


Ashtan Pierre
Athlete | 6-2 | 191 lbs.
Deerfield Beach, Fl. | Deerfield Beach
Highlights
★★★
ESPN  –| 93 ATH Top 247 No. 1,368 | 99 ATH
Rivals  — | — 247 Composite  No. 1,535 | 116 ATH

Bio: Pierre earned the tag “athlete.”  A running back and returner on offense, on the other side of the ball he moved between linebacker and defensive end.  Few linebackers can return kicks for touchdowns, but that was Pierre’s game at the prep level.  He doesn’t have the highest rankings, but he caught the attention of Oklahoma, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Iowa State and Iowa before he committed to Kentucky.


Drew, 8:23 — Surprise! Cats add a new wide receiver on signing day.


SIGNED: BRYCE OLIVER


Bryce Oliver
Wide Receiver | 6-3 | 205 lbs.
Fort Lauderdale, Fl. | Dillard
Highlights
★★★
ESPN  — | 143 WR Top 247  No. 1119 | 116 WR
Rivals  — | — 247 Composite  No. 1030 | 159 WR

Bio: Three-star wide receiver Bryce Oliver is a signing day surprise for the Wildcats as he committed and signed over offers from Louisville, Iowa State, Iowa, FAU, N.C. State and UCF. Oliver is the second Dillard High School star to sign with Kentucky today, joining his high school teammate, Stanley Garner, one of UK’s prized pickups in the class. Garner also has a connection to UK freshman linebacker Jordan Wright; the two won a state basketball title together at Dillard.


Drew, 8:22 — Lynn Bowden on defense?!

Coach Stoops just said he might experiment with Lynn Bowden on defense after Bowden “hit him up” about wanting to play that side of the ball.

WHAT?!!!


Nick, 8:14 — TERRY TOUCHDOWN IS OFFICIALLY A WILDCAT


SIGNED: TERRY WILSON


Terry “Touchdown” Wilson
Dual-Threat Quarterback | 6-3 | 195 lbs.
Omaha, Ne. | Garden City C.C.
Highlights
★★★★
ESPN  No. 5 | 1 QB Top 247  No. 27 | 2 QB
Rivals  N/A 247 Composite  No. 31 | 2 QB

Bio: Touchdown Terry turned the BBN on its head when he made a surprise commitment following his official visit to Kentucky two weeks ago.  The former Oregon quarterback was being heavily pursued by Scott Frost at Nebraska and Dan Mullen at Florida, but when he saw the Cats practice, he knew exactly where he was going to call home.  With three years of eligibility remaining, Touchdown Terry could become QB1 during spring practice.


(more…)


Three-Star Wide Receiver Bryce Oliver Signs with KENTUCKY

CBS Miami

Not long after losing an Ohio wide receiver, Eddie Gran’s Kentucky offense has added an exceptional Florida wide receiver to the roster.  Bryce Oliver has given the BBN a signing day surprise by signing with Kentucky.

The three-star star prospect is considered the No. 143 wide receiver in the 2018 recruiting class by ESPN.  He picked Kentucky over Louisville, Iowa State, Iowa, FAU, N.C. State and UCF.

Oliver is the third from Ft. Lauderdale’s Dillard High School to become a Kentucky Wildcat.  His senior classmate, defensive back Stanley Garner, plans on enrolling at UK in January.  Last year Oliver won a state basketball championship playing alongside Jordan Wright, a freshman outside linebacker who used his first year in Lexington to redshirt.

An outside wide receiver, he specializes in jump balls.  As you’ll see in his highlights, he consistently high points the football over the defender, adding a much-needed element to the Kentucky offense.


Who Could Complete Kentucky’s 2018 Recruiting Class

Who Could Complete Kentucky’s 2018 Recruiting Class

In less than 24 hours, Kentucky’s 2018 football recruiting class will be nearly complete.  As of this moment, the Cats have a 20-person class.  Mark Stoops hopes to complete it with 23-24 players.

This morning UK took a hit when Ohio wide receiver Meechi Harris decommitted.  A two-way player that Freddie Maggard saw as an under-the-radar star, there’s no denying one simple truth: this eleventh hour decommittment sucks.

However, there’s another wide receiver targeted by Kentucky that could join Kentucky’s class tomorrow morning.  Kentucky does not need to complete the class on December 20, but there are a few guys that could let the Kentucky coaches rest easy for the next two months.

Bryce Oliver

This is not the three-star Florida wide receiver you were expecting to see.  Shocky Jacques-Louis has been a headline grabber, but all signs are pointing Shocky to Pitt.  Bryce Oliver is the most-likely candidate to replace Meechi Harris.

A 6’3″ 205-pound three-star receiver, Oliver was in Lexington this weekend for an official visit.  Offered by Eddie Gran this spring, Gran has a long-term relationship with Oliver and his school.  Oliver is teammates with early enrollee Stanley Garner and he won a basketball state championship last year playing alongside UK freshman outside linebacker Jordan Wright.

Louisville, UCF and Iowa are Oliver’s other choices, but his ambiguous emoji usage clearly puts Kentucky over the top.

Marvel at Oliver’s ability to make plays on the deep ball in his senior year highlight reel:

Trey Dean

It’s a longshot, but there’s a slim chance Kentucky could land the former Tennessee commitment.  A four-star all-american safety, Dean officially visited UK two weeks ago.  Following his trip to Lexington, he scheduled a December 20 commitment ceremony.  All signs point to Florida following this weekend’s official visit, but I’m saying there’s still a chance he could commit to Kentucky.

Outside Linebackers

Over the last two weekends of official visits, Kentucky has hosted numerous outside linebacker/defensive ends.  The one most likely to pull the trigger prior on tomorrow’s early signing day is Bryant Pirtle and for one reason: he’s a JUCO and tomorrow is when JUCOs sign.  Utah has been the long-time favorite and it would take a lot to convince the DeSales kid to play close to home.

Two from Ohio were in town last weekend, Leonard Taylor and Chris Oats.  The Crystal Ball favors Kentucky for Taylor’s services.  They’ve recruited the nation’s No. 252 player for quite some time.  I have a feeling to get him to Lexington they’ll have to recruit Taylor until February.  The same can be said about Oats, 247’s 239th-ranked player in America.  There’s no scoop to this feeling; just a hunch that neither is ready to sign papers tomorrow morning.

One outside linebacker who is ready to pull the trigger is Amauchechukwu Nnaji-Collins.  Few kids have ever Tweeted more praise during a visit.  However, Kentucky has yet to extend an offer, presumably to wait and see what the other prospects at his position will do.  If the Mooch does get that offer, I doubt he’ll hesitate to commit.

Even though Stoops’ staff would like to be able to close out the 2018 class tomorrow morning, I can’t foresee that happening.  There are three or four open spots and not a ton of targets ready to commit.

If Kentucky doesn’t finish the 2018 class tomorrow, that’s a positive.  They’ll have an opportunity to use seven weeks to find four more players.  I trust Stoops and Vince Marrow to make the most out of that new opportunity.


Signing Day has started in Australia; Max Duffy is in!

Signing Day has started in Australia; Max Duffy is in!

It may only be 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night here, but in Australia, it’s Wednesday morning, meaning Signing Day has begun. In turn, UK’s Australian punter Max Duffy just sent in his papers:

Here’s a good profile of Duffy, a former professional Australian rules football player, from 9-News in Perth, Australia:

And our story on him after his commitment last month:

UK Football lands another Australian punter

Welcome aboard, Max. The fun continues tomorrow morning starting at 7:30 a.m.


Terry Touchdown ready to sign with UK tomorrow

A commitment in football is never solid until the signature is secured. We were reminded of that earlier today when Meechi Harris, one of Kentucky’s top verbal commits, decommitted from the Wildcats on Signing Day Eve.

But at least one of UK’s verbal commits is excited about making things official tomorrow, and that is Terry Touchdown, who many are calling the future of the Kentucky program. He tweeted out, “Just one more day…”

Wilson — or should I say, Touchdown — is still being pursued by other programs in the final hours of his recruitment. But after taking in Lexington on yet another visit this past weekend, he is ready to sign with the Cats and begin his new life as a proud member of Big Blue Nation.

The pieces all come together tomorrow morning, beginning around 7:30 am when the faxes start rolling in. We’ll have running commentary of the morning here on KSR, so join us bright and early.

Let’s go.


Bad News: Meechi Harris decommits from Kentucky

@JamesRRider | FOX 45

Ugh.

One day before he was all set to sign with the University of Kentucky, prized wide receiver Meechi Harris announced he has decommitted and will reopen his recruitment.

“There is nothing wrong with the staff,” he wrote on Twitter. “This is my decision.”

The Ohio wide-out was high on Kentucky’s board when he committed back in October.

What a terrible surprise with signing day excitement in the air.


No more Shocky Jacques-Louis?

According to Joe Mussato over at SEC Country, Kentucky and three-star wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis have parted ways. And that breaks my heart.

It wasn’t all that long ago when Jacques-Louis was posing on the hood of a Bentley with Coach Stoops, and the Florida native recently named his three finalists as Kentucky, Tennessee and Pittsburgh.

But Kentucky’s pursuit is over, per Mussato:

Both Kentucky and Tennessee have remained in the mix to secure his signature. College football’s early signing period opens Wednesday. Kentucky won’t be sending Jacques-Louis papers, essentially ending its recruitment of him. [SEC Country]

Never forget…

@ShockyMVP


Numbers Game: The Weird New Element in the Early Signing Period

The football recruiting world has boldly gone where no college football coach has gone before.  This Wednesday college football prospects will be able to sign with their new school seven weeks prior to the traditional National Signing Day on the first Wednesday of February.

Kentucky’s coaches see the new rule as an overall advantage.  However, it’s added a few new aspects to the recruiting season that are difficult to calculate.

This GIF will get a lot of play this Wednesday. 

There two questions that cannot truly be answered until December 20.

1. Who Will Sign?

Players do not have to sign official papers between the 20-22 of December.  Even if they’re committed to Kentucky, they can wait until the traditional NSD on February 7 to make it official.

However, most are expected to sign this Wednesday.  Those who plan on enrolling early must sign on December 20, the traditional date for junior college prospects and January enrollees to make it official. Here’s who we know will be enrolled in January and be able to participate in spring practice, but the list could grow:

  • JUCO quarterback Terry “Touchdown” Wilson
  • JUCO defensive back Domonique Williams
  • Cornerback Stanley Garner
  • Athlete Ashtan Pierre
  • Safety/outside linebacker DeAndre Square

2. How Many Players Will Sign?

Kentucky has 21 verbal commitments in the 2018 recruiting class.  Vince Marrow believes almost all of them will fax official papers this Wednesday.

“I think in December you’ll see about 90 percent of the class sign the papers then,” Marrow said a few weeks ago.  “And then it tells us, if they don’t sign, they must not be that serious with us. And then we’ll go out and recruit somebody else.”

The early signing period has created a game of chicken between coaches and recruits.  Even though a prospect could wait to sign, their actions tell the coaches just how committed they are to the school.

This weekend’s official visits reaffirmed the decisions of many prospects.  Three-star tight end Brenden Bates committed to Kentucky last March.  He considered waiting it out to February after receiving a late push from Auburn, Clemson and Michigan.  Following his official visit this weekend, Bates told Justin Rowland he will sign this Wednesday.


Mark Stoops hopes to have about 23-24 players in the 2018 class.  With room to grow, Kentucky could look at add a few eleventh hour commitments, or keep the final spots for the final seven weeks.  The Kentucky coaches will be playing a balancing act down the homestretch, a new wrinkle in the college football recruiting game.


National Signing Day Terms

football-glossary

Editor’s Note: The Early Signing Period begins Wednesday morning.  Nudged in-between a busy basketball and college football bowl season, it’s snuck up on just about everyone.  Here’s a refresher Freddie previously posted to prepare you for what you’ll hear on UK’s first early signing day. 


Prepare for an onslaught of National Signing Day coverage from Kentucky Sports Radio. For the next few days, you’ll hear several hacks describe and analyze the newest Kentucky Wildcats. I thought we could break down evaluation terms so that we’ll all be on the same page come go-time.

Mauler: Term used to describe a physically tough offensive lineman with the size-mentality-ability to forcefully run block along the line-of-scrimmage. 

Thumper: A hard hitting linebacker. 

Navigate Wash: Ability for offensive/defensive linemen to work their way around other players within the “wash” of the line-of-scrimmage in order to execute assignments.

Get Off: Explosive or quick start movement upon football’s snap.

Space: Open areas on the football field. Can be used for ball carriers and defensive backs.

Smart Eyes: Applicable to most positions, refers to intelligent play and ability to foresee situations/result.

Twitchy: Fast-rapid explosion athlete. 

Courage Throw: Deep passes from a quarterback intended to be completed over the middle of the football field.

High Motor: High energy/effort, continual motion on the field.

*Think Jordan Jones.

Havoc: Defensive term referring to the following statistics: Interceptions, Tackles for Loss, Pass Breakups, QB Sacks, Forced Fumbles. 

Bull Rush: Pass rush method in which the defender pursues the quarterback by running directly at and over intended blocker.

Spin Move: Another defensive pass rush term, used when defender engages blocker then spins to avoid being blocked and to separate in order to sack the quarterback.

Y.A.C.: Yards after catch


Today on KSR, sponsored by Anthem Medicaid

Today on KSR, sponsored by Anthem Medicaid

Message from today’s sponsor:

Now is the time to find the health insurance plan that is just right for you. Anthem has been around for nearly 80 years in Kentucky. Anthem Medicaid serves members in all 120 counties in Kentucky. The benefits of Anthem Medicaid are endless: coverage for all ages, no copays, free eyeglasses for children and adults, the only Medicaid plan offering adults both glasses or contacts every year, free over the counter medicines with a prescription, and so many other benefits. To choose Anthem Medicaid call 855-306-8959 or visit benefind.ky.gov.


The early signing period starts Wednesday

This week, our focus will shift a little towards football, as the early signing period begins on Wednesday. This weekend, several commits and targets visited UK, including Terry Touchdown Wilson and Stanley Garner III, who teased another Yahtzee:

Hmm. It’s going to be a wild week, so buckle up. Here are all of UK’s 2018 commits thus far:

Kentucky Football 2018 Signees

NamePositionHometownHeightWeight 247 Composite
Marquan McCallOGOak Park, Mi.6-43204-star
Darian KinnardOTCleveland, Oh.6-73364-star
Terry WilsonQBOmaha, Ne.6-21803-star
DeAndre SquareS/OLBDetroit, Mi.6-12003-star
Brenden BatesTECincinnati, Oh.6-52303-star
Stanley GarnerCBFt. Lauderdale, Fl.6-31803-star
Quintin WilsonCCincinnati, Oh. 6-32903-star
Marvin AlexanderWRHollywood, Fl.6-31753-star
Jamari BrownCBPompano Beach, Fl.6-31803-star
Davoan HawkinsDEHollywood, Fl.6-42703-star
Akeem HayesATH/WRHollywood, Fl.5-101753-star
Keaton UpshawTELima, Oh.6-72253-star
Bryce Oliver WRFt. Lauderdale, Fl.6-32053-star
Christopher RodriguezRBMcDonough, Ga.5-112003-star
Ashtan PierreATHDeerfield Beach, Fl.6-21913-star
Domonique WilliamsJUCO CBKnoxville, Tn.5-101903-star
Kenneth HorseyOTSeminole, Fl. 6-43253-star
Jerquavion “Qua” Mahone DTManchester, Ga.6-4195N/A
Chance PooreKAnderson, Sc.6-32003-star
Max DuffyPWestern Australia6-11763-star

I’m a huge fan of Quade’s shades

Are Quade Green’s shades the thing the Big Blue Nation needed to fall in love with this team? It sure felt like it on Saturday. Green sported the sunglasses to protect his injured eye from the lights at Rupp, providing for not only some spectacular pictures, but the most fun game of the season. The defense still needs some work, but man, I’ll take the team we saw in stretches over almost any other.

Quade claims he’ll sport the sunglasses all season, but I love them so much I’ll just be happy if he wears them vs. UCLA in New Orleans. Until then, enjoy one last look at the Virginia Tech win courtesy of KyWildcatsTV:

College Basketball on TV tonight

6:00 PM Houston Baptist #2 Michigan State BTN
7:00 PM Omaha #13 Kansas ESPN2
7:00 PM Charleston Southern #19 Florida State ESPNU
9:00 PM North Dakota State #23 Arizona PAC12

I am still laughing at Chris Tomlin’s gift from the KSR Christmas Party

Ryan’s free t-shirts will steal the headlines from the KSR Christmas Party, but shoutout to Chris Tomlin for the best gift of them all: a portrait of my dear Gatsby as an astronaut.

That will hang in our guest bathroom for years to come.

The Foo Fighters’ Christmas Medley from SNL will get you in the holiday spirit

Radio in an hour…


LOOK: Kentucky commitments and recruits enjoy themselves in Lexington

@StanleyG_9

This past weekend, the UK football team hosted one of its biggest recruiting events of the year, with over 35 prospects on campus for both official and unofficial visits.

According to a few sources within the program, the coaching staff went all-out throughout the weekend and really made an “extraordinary impact” on everyone in attendance. The Wildcats made up a ton of ground on recruits they weren’t in great position with and locked up a few commitments that were on the fence.

Here are just a few of Kentucky’s top recruits and commitments talking about their time on campus:

Four-star QB commit Terry Wilson confirmed after his visit he would be signing with Kentucky on Wednesday.

Most importantly, Stanley Garner III says the Cats may have picked up a commitment this morning…

Any guesses on who that might be?

Regardless, it looks like the Cats are set to receive plenty of signatures on National Signing Day this Wednesday.


Via 247 & Hudl

Meet the 2018 Class: Ohio All-Americans

Via 247 & Hudl

What Mark Stoops lacks in quantity he makes up for in quality when it comes to 2018 football recruits from his home state of Ohio.

This will be the first year since Stoops arrived at UK that Ohio is not the most-represented state in the class.  Instead of grabbing a ton of talent from The Buckeye State, Stoops and Vince Marrow have zeroed in on the top prospects and convinced them to travel down I-75 to create a new home in Lexington.  Darian Kinnard and Xavier Peters headline UK’s 2018 Ohio recruiting class.

Peters is the highest-ranked player in the state of Ohio that is not going to Ohio State.  Hailing from Lakota West in the Cincinnati suburb of West Chester, the talented inside linebacker has earned just about every accolade imaginable.  A finalist at The Opening, you can watch him play in the Under Armour All-American Bowl January 4 on ESPN2.

When Peters first committed to Kentucky shortly after his trip to Oregon for the Nike camp, the BBN had a little something extra to celebrate on the Fourth of July.  Then uncertainty struck when he deleted his commitment Tweet the following day.  It was a weird situation that speculation can only solve, but that appears to have happened.

There will be tension until Peters’ fax has been received, but it will be worth it.  Projected to be an outside linebacker at the next level because of his height (6’4″ 225 pounds), he will likely play in the middle to become Kash Daniel’s reserve.  A top 15 outside linebacker and top 200 player overall, it ain’t hard to tell why when you watch his film.

When Darian Kinnard committed to Kentucky in April, he did not have All-American hype.  That did not last for long.

Shortly after his commitment, the 6’7″ 340-pound left tackle earned a fourth star and soared up the rankings.  He’s now considered the eighth-ranked offensive tackle and No. 101 player overall by 247 Sports.  He’ll play in the Army All-American Bowl January 6 on NBC.

Originally from Knoxville, Kinnard moved to Cleveland prior to his junior year.  He quickly caught the eyes of recruiting analysts by playing for three-time National Champion St. Ignatius.  Tennessee tried to lure Kinnard back to Knoxville, until last weekend’s official visit reaffirmed his commitment to Kentucky.

Other Profiles on the 2018 Class: The Chaminade-Madonna Trio and Michigan Men.


Meet the 2018 Class: Michigan Men

Meet the 2018 Class: Michigan Men

Today Kentucky is hosting most of the 2018 recruiting class on official visits this weekend, and that includes a pair of Michigan’s best football players.  That’s correct.  Two of Michigan’s best football players will wear Kentucky uniforms next fall.

When Mark Stoops built his pipeline in the state of Ohio, it obviously changed Kentucky football for the better, but it was nothing completely new to the program.  Kentucky did not dominate the state, but there was always a few here and there from Ohio speckled in each recruiting class.  Kentucky has recruited heavily in Florida, Georgia and throughout the south, but never Michigan.

Online recruiting databases reach back to 1999.  Over almost two decades, Kentucky has never had a scholarship commitment from the state of Michigan.

Stoops sought to change that this offseason.  He employed Youngstown-native Steve Clinkscale to extended UK’s recruiting pipeline into Michigan.  The Cats immediately had success.

Kentucky’s first commitment from The Great Lakes State was the top-ranked player: Marquan McCall.  A top 150 player overall, McCall chose Kentucky over his home-state school.  Stoops bested Jim Harbaugh for an elite interior athlete.

A two-way player that moves well inside, most scouts project McCall to the offensive line, but his services might be most needed on the defensive side at UK.  With the talent to play right away at either side, do not be surprised to see McCall lined up across from SEC centers as Kentucky’s nose this fall.

Clinkscale was able to land a second commitment from Michigan thanks to a long-time relationship.  DeAndre Square first met Kentucky’s defensive backs coach when Clinkscale was at Cincinnati. Square received an offer from the Bearcats as a freshmen.  When Clinkscale moved an hour and a half south on I-75, he had another offer ready for Square.  After a few visits, Square was ready to commit.

A four-star safety/outside linebacker, Square’s dreadlocks were flying all over the field when I watched him camp at Kroger Field this summer.  An aggressive athlete, Square has exceptional balance and body control.  Not only does he make big hits on the football field, he’s one of Detroit’s best track and field athletes.

Considered one of the 35 best safeties in America, Square could have gone to LSU, Wisconsin or Michigan State, but he chose Kentucky.  If Clinkscale continues to invest time in The Great Lakes State, Square and McCall will not be the last from the state to become Wildcats.


Mark Stoops Brought Ed Reed for UK’s Huge Football Recruiting Weekend

@JenNimePalumbo

A future Pro Football Hall of Famer was in the Rupp Arena stands for today’s Kentucky-Virginia Tech game, along with 24 UK football official visitors.

For Mark Stoops’ biggest recruiting weekend of the year, he invited one of his most successful former players to Lexington, Ed Reed.  Stoops was Reed’s position coach at The U before the Ball-Hawk terrorized NFL quarterbacks for more than a decade.

That wasn’t the only thing Stoops’ staff did to impress the recruits in the stands.  Benny Snell, Mike Edwards, Lynn Bowden, Courtney Love and C.J. Conrad were introduced to the Rupp Arena crowd.  Benny took the mic and told the Big Blue Nation, “We going to Nashville. We’re going to get this W. I promise.”