Football Recruiting News
During Friday night’s showcase camp at Kroger Field, one player stood above the rest in the trenches. Standing 6-feet 5-inches tall, the lengthy athlete quickly made an impression to anyone watching individual drills for outside linebackers.
It turns out, that kid has not yet stepped a foot inside high school.
Keldric Faulk just finished eighth grade. Despite his age, Kentucky did not hesitate to offer him a scholarship after his camp performance.
— keldric faulk (@FaulkKeldric) June 7, 2019
Kentucky is not Faulk’s first offer. Florida, Tennessee and Penn State have already extended scholarship offers to the talented class of 2023 prospect from Highland Home, Alabama.
Brad White worked extensively with Faulk throughout the camp. Jon Sumrall, Vince Marrow and a plethora of other coaches also took time to talk to Faulk.
He has a few years of football ahead of him. Despite his age, he’s already making plays at the varsity level. Some might question why UK would already recruit such a young Cat, but after watching him do work, his talent is undeniable. Kentucky is wise to connect with Faulk early and often.
By Nick Roush on ©June 07th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
It’s the biggest weekend of the summer for the Kentucky football program.
Over the next week, prospects will converge at Kroger Field to participate in a variety of camps, starting with three days of evening showcases. For some, it will be the first time they’ve performed in front of SEC coaches. For others, it’s their chance to prove they’re worth a scholarship offer.
There will be a few that will not be doing much at all. Kentucky commits John Young and Andru Phillips already revealed they will be on campus (likely joined by Beau Allen). The commitments typically spend their time away from the drills, saving themselves to make pitches to uncommitted prospects, like a few of the official visitors who just arrived on campus.
Prior to today’s camp, a couple of talented junior college targets made it to campus. Outside linebacker Jesse Smith and wide receiver Dominick Watt tried on Kentucky blue for the first time yesterday. Watt brings plenty of star power from Garden City CC. A former four-star recruit and Nebraska signee, the South Florida native could be an immediate impact player in the SEC.
— Dominick Watt (@1Way_Dom) June 6, 2019
There are a few talented Kentucky kids trying to catch the eyes of coaches this weekend.
Ballard defensive back Josh Minkins asserted his skills at the Nashville Opening camp, earning MVP honors in his position group. Last week the Louisville legacy recruit picked up an offer from the Cards after his camp performance. From the south side of the city, Butler defensive end Hosea Knifely will try to earn an offer.
One player from Pikeville probably has the most potential for a big weekend. After clocking incredible 40-yard dash times (4.48) in previous camps, if wide receiver Jackson Hensley makes the most of this opportunity, he’ll leave with a scholarship offer.
Hensley will have competition at the wide receiver position. Fresh off a trip to Louisville’s camp, Alabama slot receiver Jayson Jones will be in Lexington. Jon Sumrall has made plenty of headway for the Rivals’ four-star prospect. He’ll be running alongside Karaun St. Louis, a three-star prospect from Ft. Lauderdale who also holds offers from Baylor and Syracuse.
Arguably the most talented player competing this weekend is Devon Betty. A four-star recruit and top 15 defensive end according to Rivals, Betty comes from Ft. Lauderdale perennial powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. He holds offers from Miami, Florida State and Michigan, but most recruiting analysts believes the Cats are the prohibitive favorites.
While most of your attention is likely on the previous 2020 prospects, the underclassmen have the most to gain this weekend. After evaluating film, coaches will use their firsthand experience this weekend to determine if the prospect is good enough to play in the SEC.
A couple of rising sophomore quarterbacks will get to throw in front of Darin Hinshaw. Gunnar Smith is a pocket-passer from Orlando and Te’Sean Smoot is a dual-threat quarterback from Springfield, Ohio. One of Smoot’s best targets at Fairfield high School, JuTahn McClain, is officially visiting this weekend.
West Orange High School gave Kentucky Juice Johnson. Last year it provided the Cats a place to practice before winning the Citrus Bowl. This weekend one of the school’s star running backs, Shakhi Carson, will be on UK’s campus.
One of the biggest prospects at camp is just getting his football career started. After playing one season of football, defensive tackle Jaydon Wannstedt has made significant early impressions on the recruiting front. Hailing from the St. Louis suburb of St. Peters, if he shows enough explosiveness, I expect UK will be his first scholarship offer.
The previous prospects are only a small sample size of what’s to come this weekend. Jack Pilgrim and I will be on the ground to let you know who stands out and how the events unfold.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 06th, 2019 @ 10:15pm
The son of legendary NFL running back Frank Gore will not be a Kentucky Wildcat.
This evening, 2020 three-star running back Frank Gore Jr. announced his commitment to Florida Atlantic University, choosing the Owls over Kentucky, Southern Miss, and Chattanooga.
Here was the announcement:
— Frank Gore Jr (@stn_2lit) June 6, 2019
Kentucky offered Gore Jr. back in September of 2018, giving the 5-foot-8 back out of Miami, FL his very first Division I scholarship.
The newest FAU commit’s father, Frank Gore Sr., played at the University of Miami from 2001-2004, where he became a third round pick with the San Francisco 49ers in the 2005 NFL Draft. In college, Gore was on the Hurricane roster when Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops was the team’s defensive backs coach from 2001-2003.
In the NFL, Gore played with the 49ers for ten years before making stops in Indianapolis, Miami, and Buffalo. Throughout his historic NFL career, Gore has managed 77 rushing touchdowns and 14,478 total rushing yards, good for the fourth-most yards of all time.
As far as Kentucky is concerned, the Wildcats are in solid position with a plethora of upper-tier running back talents in the class of 2020 such as Michael Drennen II, Elijah Young, Blake Corum, and Jutahn McClain, among others.
While it would have been cool to see “Gore Jr.” on the back of a Kentucky uniform, Mark Stoops and company are doing just fine on the recruiting trail.
By Nick Roush on ©June 06th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
Dabo Swinney is trying to create a recruiting pipeline in Lexington.
Clemson first got a foothold in the state when Walker Parks, a four-star 2020 prospect and top ten offensive tackle in the country, committed to the defending National Champs. Earlier this week, Parks brought a few of his Frederick Douglass friends with him to South Carolina.
Wide receiver Dekel Crowdus and offensive guard Jager Burton were the two biggest 2021 Kentucky prospects on the trip. Following the camp, Burton picked up an offer from Clemson.
Burton is the 11th-ranked offensive guard in the 2021 class according to 247 Sports. Incredibly mobile for a 6’4″ 275-pound lineman, when he pulls down the line of scrimmage or breaks downfield on a screen, Burton is burying opponents in the turf.
Clemson is the latest to join Burton’s growing offer sheet that includes Ohio State, Penn State and Oregon, among others. Last fall Kentucky was the first to extend a scholarship offer. Recruited by John Schlarman, Burton was in the stands for Kentucky’s Blue/White Game.
There’s plenty of life left in Burton’s recruitment. Near the top of UK’s 2021 Big Board, Kentucky will do whatever it takes to prevent another one of the best in the Bluegrass from leaving the state.
By Nick Roush on ©June 05th, 2019 @ 5:30pm
We don’t give a damn about the whole state of Michigan…except for this sweet pup Gibson. Unfortunately, this football recruiting news will not be as sweet, but can anything be as cute as that face? I don’t think so.
I like UK’s Chances with Cummings
After speaking with Izayah Cummings on Monday, I left Male High School with a few informal impressions. One, he’s much bigger than I anticipated. Reading measurables only goes so far. Cummings has the frame of an SEC receiver.
Two, it’s incredible what Vince Marrow has accomplished in the city of Louisville. Most kids grew up watching and cheering for UofL. Bobby Petrino and Charlie Strong had the Cards rolling through most of their formative years. Kentucky was an afterthought at best. In a short amount of time, the Big Dog has changed how kids from the city of Louisville think about UK.
Three, Beau Allen will be the difference-maker in Cummings’ recruitment. Louisville likely led for Cummings early in the process. While Satterfield piddle-farted around, UK got a commitment from the state’s top quarterback. Jeff Brohm and Neal Brown will pitch a pass-happy offense, but they don’t have a guy Cummings’ trusts delivering passes from the pocket. Tennessee is trying to enter the picture, but it may be too late. Cummings will wait until later in the summer, but ultimately I believe he will hop on the hype train and commit to Kentucky.
Top Ky Talent at Clemson
The top two rising juniors in the state of Kentucky spent Tuesday camping at the University of Clemson. Wide receiver Dekel Crowdus and offensive guard Jager Burton joined their Frederick Douglass teammate, future Clemson Tiger Walker Parks, for the festivities. Neither reported offers from the coaching staff, but each player holds an offer from UK.
No Ohio State?
Jaheim Thomas, the Cincinnati four-star recruit who’s considered the No. 10 outside linebacker in America, recently released his seven finalists — Michigan State, Maryland, Tennessee, Cincinnati, LSU, Louisville and Kentucky. Many assumed Thomas would take his talents to Ohio State, but the Buckeyes were nowhere to be found. Without OSU in the picture, there’s more room for the Big Dog to operate.
This Saturday three-star safety Trenton Yowe will announce a college decision. The Calera, Alabama native will choose between Mississippi State, West Virginia, Florida and Kentucky. Jon Sumrall put the Cats in the picture late in the process, but ultimately Yowe will likely roll with Miss. State or Florida.
Texas is not Back
Following the Longhorns’ victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, many believed Texas was all the way back. That’s just not the case. Not only are they doing well in school, they’re bragging about it.
A 2.89 is a fine GPA, but is it worth bragging about with a gaudy graphic? I don’t think so. That’s probably why they’re already looking to hire a new senior graphic designer.
By Nick Roush on ©June 05th, 2019 @ 3:30pm
A future UK quarterback has been honored as one of the best and brightest high school football player’s in America.
Eighty one high school student-athletes were selected from a pool of 3,500 to be a part of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame’s (NFF) first ever Team of Distinction. The new honor is given to scholar-athletes who have achieved academically, earned athletic accolades and are involved in the community.
Representing the South Region, Nik Scalzo was a Team Captain for Cardinal Gibbons High School. He helped the school win their first ever championship while shattering school records. Not only was he an all-state selection, he earned a spot on the honor with a 4.63 GPA. FOUR. SIX. THREE. Incredible.
Congratulations to Scalzo, whose name will now be displayed permanently at a digital exhibit in the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The quarterback will arrive on campus in ten days.
By Nick Roush on ©June 05th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
This weekend isn’t all about official visits.
After a handful of recruits receive the VIP treatment as official visitors, prospects will pour in from across the country to camp at the University of Kentucky. They range in talent from high school football upstarts to four-star recruits. One wide receiver is particularly talented.
Dominick Watt revealed he will be on UK’s campus this weekend. The Hollywood, Florida native was the No. 45 wide receiver in the 2018 recruiting class. A four-star talent, he initially followed the Scott Frost hype train from UCF to Nebraska. Before making it to campus, he was ruled academically ineligible.
To get back to the D-I ranks, Watt enrolled at Garden City Community College, Terry Wilson and Lonnie Johnson’s former stomping grounds. In his first season, Watt caught a team-high 16 passes for 188 yards to help the Broncbusters advance to the NJCAA National Championship, where they fell 10-9 to East Mississippi.
The news of Watt’s impending visit excited one person in particular, future UK quarterback Nik Scalzo. The two share a history on the football field in Broward County, Florida. Scalzo described Watt on Twitter as “a MUST get. One of my fav receivers to throw to.” Here’s a small sample of what Watt offered as a high school senior.
You can also see some of his top plays from his first year at Garden City.
Before hundreds of high school football players flock to Kroger Field Friday night for a weekend filled of evening camps, Mark Stoops is hosting more than a handful of official visitors in the 2020 recruiting class. Here’s who’s expected to use one of their five official visits in Lexington this week.
As I mentioned earlier on KSR, two of the top defensive backs in America are from Detroit. This week they’ll officially visit UK.
Four-star cornerback Enzo Jennings is the eighth-ranked cornerback in America according to Rivals. Pursued by every top program in America, following his visit to UK he’ll officially visit Pitt and Penn State. UK has extensive ties to Jennings. Steve Clinkscale gave Jennings, and his teammate Justin Rogers, scholarship offers when they were eighth graders.
Makari Paige, a four-star safety that’s considered one of the 20 best at his position, will make the trip from Detroit as well. Most believe it’s a three-horse race between Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State for Paige’s services. His most recent top seven includes UK, Notre Dame and five Big Ten programs: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue and Michigan State. If Rogers has his way, Paige will be a Kentucky Wildcat.
He coming with me https://t.co/Pw3CM4yI4t
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) June 4, 2019
At 6’1″ 210 pounds, Cleveland’s Torrance Davis is a big running back. Cut from the same cloth as A.J. Rose, Davis is considered one of the ten best players in the state of Ohio. Penn State, Pitt and Michigan State are also heavily pursuing Davis.
From the southwest part of the state, JuTahn (Juh-Tohn) McClain will make the trip to Lexington from the Cincinnati suburb of Fairfield. Like a handful of other UK targets, McClain is a small (5’9″), speedy running back that can make plays on the edge.
Leading into this weekend’s visit, McClain released a top seven that includes UK, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Nebraska and Purdue. McClain plans on announcing his college decision July 4. Even though he’ll wait a few more weeks to announce a decision, this weekend could seal the deal for McClain to UK.
Kentucky has found itself in the middle of an Iron Bowl recruiting battle. Outside linebacker Quandarrius Robinson is the No. 28 player in America according to Rivals. The 6’5″ 220-pound athlete from Birmingham was committed to Auburn for six months…until he attended Alabama’s Junior Day this spring.
While the two Alabama powers fought over Robinson, UK slid into the picture. He’ll start his summer official visit tour in Lexington, followed by trips to Auburn, Tennessee and Nebraska.
Kentucky will try to get another former commit back in the fold this weekend. John Young will be on campus Friday to try and convince Richie Leonard to re-commit to UK. One of the Sunshine State’s top interior offensive linemen, Leonard is coming to UK off visits to Georgia Tech and Florida. Two weeks from now he’ll visit Tennessee before he announces his final college decision on his mother’s birthday, July 5.
Leonard is bringing one of his talented friends with him to UK. Ranked as the No. 135 player in America, athlete Caziah Holmes will make his first trip to Lexington alongside his teammate. Florida State is the team to beat, but in the coming weeks he plans on visiting Penn State and Tennessee (the same weekend Leonard will be in Knoxville).
Arguably the most difficult task at hand this weekend is convincing Miami commit Samuel Anaele to reconsider his options. At least the defensive end’s second trip to Lexington, Anaele has remained committed to The U despite significant coaching changes. Considered the No. 96 player in America by Rivals, this official visit could ultimately make Anaele have a change of heart.
One of the Commonwealth’s best football players already plans to put on the Kentucky blue and white next spring.
Four-star offensive tackle John Young tells Justin Rowland he plans on enrolling at the University of Kentucky following the fall semester. Young will get a head start on the competition by enrolling early.
Ranked as the No. 24 offensive tackle by Rivals, the Christian Academy of Louisville star is one of UK’s top recruiters in the 2020 class. He’ll bring his best pitch to UK’s Friday Night Lights Camp this weekend when more than a 100 uncommitted recruits flock to Kroger Field.
Enrolling early is a new college football trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Once typically reserved for a handful of recruits, in 2019 ten in UK’s 22-man signing class enrolled ahead of the spring semester.
By Nick Roush on ©June 04th, 2019 @ 11:15am
Justin Rogers’ commitment to Kentucky is already paying dividends.
Kentucky made a splash in the recruiting world when the tenth-ranked player in America donned a UK hat during a commitment ceremony at his high school. Less than two weeks later, Rogers said on Twitter he would take another official visit.
The Saturday afternoon news drew the ire of many fans. “Why do these kids even commit?” “It means nothing till the signature dries!”
Aside from the anger, many fans felt all hope for Rogers was lost, ripping away the good vibes following his commitment. It did nothing to change all the positive momentum on the recruiting front. While you were busy questioning the integrity of “kids these days,” two incredibly talented players from Detroit were scheduling official visits to Lexington.
This week UK will host Enzo Jennings and Makari Paige on official visits. Consensus four-star talents, Paige is the country’s No. 13 safety and Jennings is the fourth-ranked cornerback. The latter plays with Rogers at Oak Park High School.
Obviously, there are plenty of factors that went into each players’ decision to use one of their five official visits on UK. Rogers’ commitment played a significant part. It’s not so different than the impact Beau Allen’s commitment will have on Izayah Cummings. A great wide receiver wants to play with a great quarterback. Great defensive backs want to play with great pass rushers, especially ones from their hometown.
The recruitment of Justin Rogers will have plenty of peaks and valleys, hopefully ending with a peak in December. If that does not happen, Rogers will not leave UK entirely empty-handed.
By Nick Roush on ©June 03rd, 2019 @ 11:00pm
Riding a wave of recruiting momentum, Kentucky is trying to capitalize with one of the Commonwealth’s top-ranked athletes.
In 2018 wide receiver Izayah Cummings earned all-state honors after helping Louisville Male High School win the 6A State Championship. Even though he missed five games with a knee injury, Cummings finished the season with 41 receptions for 597 yards and 11 touchdowns, including three catches in the 37-20 victory over Scott County at Kroger Field.
“It was unbelievable. It was crazy. There was nothing like it. I loved the experience. I can’t wait to do it again,” Cummings described the state championship victory to KSR. “It was awesome playing on that turf on the Kentucky field.”
Cummings plans on playing at Kroger Field in this year’s state final. If Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow and Beau Allen have their way, it will not be Cummings’ last appearance on the stadium’s turf.
Considered the No. 6 player in the state of Kentucky by the 247 Composite Rankings, the lengthy 6’3″200-pound three-star wide receiver has narrowed his list to six: Louisville, Virginia, Wake Forest, Purdue West Virginia and Kentucky. Who’s recruiting him the hardest?
“I would say Kentucky is coming the hardest. Coach Marrow and them are just trying to make the 2020 class big,” he said.
Kentucky’s recruiting efforts have intensified following a rash of commitments in the month of April. Most of the heat is coming from his peers.
“It’s crazy because those people I actually know. They’ll contact me like, ‘Hey, you trying to come over and join the Kentucky class and make it great?’ Beau Allen texts me like everyday trying to see when I’m coming up [for a visit].”
A pair of Louisville natives, offensive tackle John Young and defensive back Andru Phillips, are also in constant contact with Cummings. Before his family moved to South Carolina, Phillips and Cummings used to compete against each other quite a bit in middle school. As for Allen, Cummings has caught a few passes from the future UK quarterback.
“I camped with him, he threw me a couple balls,” Cummings said. “He’s good, he’s really good.”
Unfortunately, a hamstring injury will prevent Cummings from catching more passes from Allen at this weekend’s Kentucky football camps. He has not yet given Allen or the coaching staff a specific date for an official visit, but that will happen later this summer. Once Cummings is healthy enough to play, he’s not shy about his ability.
“When I’m healthy, I’m unstoppable. No one can guard me at all. I’m just a big threat, whether it’s route-running, deep balls — when the ball goes up there, I come down with it.”
Year 4 Coming Soon….? pic.twitter.com/NLCg1ddEM1
— IC8? (@IzayahCummings) June 1, 2019
The receiver’s mentality is not so different from the Big Dog’s “boss-man” mentality. Cummings could not quite put a finger on specifically what makes him such a good recruiter, but he did have a decent impression of Marrow.
“He’s like, ‘Come down here man, I’m telling you,'” Cummings said with a deep, gruff voice and a smile. “I know coach. I’m just trying to process everything to make sure it’s the best decision for me and my family.”
What will make Marrow’s job slightly more difficult is the school in Cummings’ backyard. His parents both attended the University of Louisville and Izayah grew up cheering for the Cards when the Bush-Brohm show was steamrolling through the Big East. Fast forward a decade, and things are completely different around the Commonwealth. Kentucky’s success last fall opened Cummings’ eyes.
“I don’t think anyone thought it would happen like that. People always expect UK to be a basketball school, not like a football school. Watching what happened this year, man, it could be something special.”
Kentucky’s ten wins were won on the shoulders of an excellent defense and a powerful rushing attack. Jeff Brohm and Neal Brown’s offenses typically provide more aerial firepower, but that will not remove UK from contention as long as Beau Allen is in Kentucky blue and white.
“It can worry you a little bit because I might not get the ball as much as I want, but if you have great quarterbacks for the class…I might take a shot for it. You never know, I might be able to make some plays for the team.”
If Cummings takes a shot and picks Kentucky, it will not likely happen in the immediate future. The talented wide receiver is eyeing a decision later this summer just ahead of his senior season. Until then, the Big Dog and Beau will continually remind Cummings that he can be a part of something special in Lexington.
By Nick Roush on ©June 03rd, 2019 @ 9:00pm
One of the Commonwealth’s best will soon wear blue and white under center at the University of Kentucky. Monday night Beau Allen joined Hey Kentucky to talk about why he decided to commit to UK.
It certainly helps that Allen’s father, Bill, also played quarterback at Kentucky. A lifelong UK fan, Beau could not believe his eyes when the Cats won the Citrus Bowl.
“It was awesome,” Allen said. “I’ve been a fan my whole life and I can’t really explain the feeling of — I’ve never had that feeling before in my life as a Kentucky football fan. It was unbelievable.”
He’ll get a chance to replicate that feeling as the Cats’ signal-caller. Until then, he’s trying to recruit more talented players to join him in Lexington. What makes the sell easier are the coaches he’s representing. Even with his past connections to the school, what ultimately convinced him to come to UK were the connections he created with the coaching staff.
“I think it’s really just the type of people they are. In football, everyone saw the success we had on the field last year, but most people don’t see the kind of people they are off the field and the personalities they have. They’re great people.”
See Allen talk about the Big Dog, Vito Tisdale’s recruitment and more in this conversation with Chip Cosby.
Click here to see more from tonight’s Hey Kentucky.
The recruitment of Kentucky’s five-star commitment from Detroit, Michigan did not end when he put on a UK hat at a highly publicized ceremony.
Justin Rogers committed to UK May 20. Less than two weeks after announcing the decision at Oak Park High School, Rogers says he’ll take one more official visit.
I have decided to take another official visit??
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) June 1, 2019
If you like to read into cryptic Tweets from 17-year olds, he said this just 30 minutes before that Tweet.
Yeah I’m done ???
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) June 1, 2019
The tenth-ranked player in the 2020 recruiting class, Rogers has already officially visited Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee. Recruits can take up to five official visits. His other finalists were Michigan, LSU and Alabama.
The relationship between Rogers’ mother and Michigan’s coaching staff was not on the best terms two weeks ago. Based on the way Nick Saban reacted when Alabama was left off his list of finalists, I believe this mysterious official visit is to Tuscaloosa.
For those who are surprised by Rogers’ decision to take another official visit, you haven’t been paying attention to football recruiting for long. It’s a long six and a half months until the Early Signing Period. UK will be recruiting him against stout competition until he signs on the dotted line.
You better believe Vince Marrow was prepared to respond.
It’s ashamed some schools who are supposed to be traditional football schools are starting to recruit negative against us lol it’s not going to work and you know who you are. Go Big Blue.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) June 1, 2019
Kentucky has made the cut for one of Florida’s top offensive linemen.
Saturday night offensive guard Richie Leonard revealed his seven finalists: Kentucky, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and UCF.
Top 7?? ! All Glory To The Most High !!?? pic.twitter.com/P5HfyMMHt7
— Richie Leonard IV™ (@Rhl4Richie) June 1, 2019
Leonard initially committed to Kentucky last October. Once Florida’s big three schools (Florida, Florida State, Miami) began bringing the heat, he reopened his recruitment in April.
Leonard will take his official visit to UK next week. He’ll also officially visit Tennessee before making a final decision July 5.
By Nick Roush on ©June 01st, 2019 @ 7:30pm
Over the next month, elite football recruits will flood Kentucky’s campus for camps, official and unofficial visits. After an incredibly successful April gave UK an average four-star rating in the five-man class, Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow are poised to keep the positive recruiting momentum rolling.
In this edition of the 2020 recruiting class Big Board, you’ll see where elite targets fit into the roster-building equation. Obviously, it’s a fluid situation. Some prospects will rise while others fall. From top targets to a few under the radar prospects, allow this to serve as a baseline entering the summer football recruiting season.
Departures: Gunnar Hoak, Danny Clark
Returning: Terry Wilson, Walker Wood,
Incoming: Sawyer Smith, Nik Scalzo, Amani Gilmore
Committed: Beau Allen
Top Targets: The Cats already got their guy.
Departures: Benny Snell
Returning: A.J. Rose, Kavosiey Smoke, Chris Rodriguez
Incoming: Travis Tisdale
The nephew of Randall Cobb was expected to officially visit this spring, but that trip to Lexington was postponed. However, Hodge was in the Kroger Field stands for the Blue/White Game. Tennessee, Louisville, Ole Miss, Penn State, Michigan and Oregon have also offered Hodge.
One of the most explosive playmakers in America, Drennen is being pursued heavily by Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan and every other traditional college football powerhouse. Despite the big logos involved, John Young is leading the charge to keep UK in Drennen’s mind throughout the process.
Davis is eerily similar to A.J. Rose. Both are from Cleveland. Both are 6’1″ 210 pounds. When you see Davis cut through holes, his style mirrors Rose. Davis is choosing between UK, Michigan State, Penn State, Cincinnati and Pitt.
In 2018 McClain rushed for 1,754 yards and 35 touchdowns and caught 24 pass receptions for 416 yards and five more scores. Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State have offered the track star, but the Cats are the perceived leaders in his recruitment.
McClain plans on announcing his decision on July 4 with three other UK recruits from Greater Cincinnati, Winton Woods running back Miyan Williams, cornerback Miquan Grace and wide receiver DeMeer Blankumsee.
Holding offers from Michigan, Purdue and a slew of other Big 10 schools, the powerful running back rushed for 430 yards and six touchdowns in a playoff game in 2018. He finished the season with an astounding 2,824 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Departures: OT George Asafo-Adjei, OG Bunchy Stallings, OT E.J. Price
Returning: OT Landon Young, C Drake Jackson, OG Austin Dotson, OG Logan Stenberg, OG Luke Fortner, OG Kenneth Horsey, OT Darian Kinnard, OT Nick Lewis, OT Naasir Watkins, OG Mason Wolfe
Incoming: OG Eli Cox, OT Jake Pope
Committed: OT John Young
One of UK’s first commitments in the 2020 recruiting class, Leonard reopened his recruitment not long after visiting Lexington for the Blue/White Game. Feeling the heat from Florida State, Leonard most recently received an offer from Florida. Last weekend he officially visited Georgia Tech. Before he announces a commitment July 5, Leonard will take an official visit to UK next weekend.
Rogers, Allen, Young and Phillips committed shortly officially visiting in the spring. Buford is the final domino to fall from that wildly successful recruiting weekend. The Detroit native is also being recruited by Auburn, LSU, Pitt and Penn State recently got in the mix with a scholarship offer.
Just because he’s committed to Ohio State, doesn’t mean the Big Dog is backing down. Johnson visited UK’s campus unofficially this spring. Persuading him to use an official in Lexington is a more difficult challenge, but Marrow will remain in Johnson’s ear.
The tenth-ranked guard in the class was one of the first to take an official visit in the recruiting calendar year when the New Jersey native made the trip to Lexington in April. Purdue, West Virginia, Auburn and Maryland are also in the mix for Mayo.
Even though he has yet to visit UK, the Cats are in Jones’ top six along with Mississippi State, N.C. State, Florida State, LSU and the favorite, Tennessee.
By Maggie Davis on ©May 31st, 2019 @ 11:00pm
Four-star offensive lineman John Young joined Matt Jones in the Hey Kentucky! studio Friday afternoon, and the future Cat gave us some insight into his college decision and what’s coming this summer for UK football recruiting.
Young says he took several visits during his recruitment, including stops at Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan, Purdue, Louisville and Auburn. But, after all of those visits, the University of Kentucky still felt like home.
“The coaching staff has been patient with recruiting, and they’ve gotten steadily better every year with their success. With success, comes good recruiting,” Young said. “When you’ve got a staff like that, that’s so personable… with them building a family atmosphere as well as having success on the field, that is just a recipe for some good recruiting.”
And Young doesn’t think that good recruiting mojo is going anywhere.
“In the coming weeks, I think we’re going to have a really big summer. I think we’re in a really good spot with some receivers, a couple running backs and a certain safety from the state as well.”
The safety he’s referring to is certainly four-star Bowling Green native Vito Tisdale, especially since Young confirmed with Matt he was talking about someone whose father has “Nappy Roots” ties. Tisdale’s crystal ball currently has Kentucky listed as a 60% favorite, with Louisville at a 30% and Oklahoma at 10%. Young’s recruiting pitches may be working.
Young might have also been referencing Izayah Cummings, a three-star wide receiver from Louisville Male High School. He’s clearly still working on that recruiting pitch, too.
Even though helping bring in the state’s top talent isn’t necessarily a primary goal for most fellow high schoolers, Young says it’s a position he’s come to enjoy.
“It’s been great. I love being able to talk to all these guys and kind of get to know them better and see what they’re thinking. Everybody I’ve talked to… I haven’t talked to anybody who hasn’t had anything but good things to say about Kentucky.”
Here’s a look at the entire Hey Kentucky! interview.
Six months ago Nik Scalzo’s football future was dramatically altered…or so we thought.
Playing in the 5A Florida regional semifinals, Scalzo suffered a torn ACL in his left knee after catching a pass on a trick play. An injury that could sideline some for up to a year, Scalzo went back into the game and led his team to a game-winning touchdown drive. Cardinal Gibbons High School went on to win the school’s first state championship.
Even though he fought through the injury for a series, many UK fans feared Scalzo would not be prepared to participate in practice at the University of Kentucky this fall. After a grueling rehab schedule, Scalzo is playing playing fullcourt basketball and doing backflips in his spare time.
My goal was to be able to backflip before I leave for college? finally hit one? pic.twitter.com/H7gnAdQ2zQ
— Nik Scalzo (@NikScalzo) May 29, 2019
Cleared to participate in all team activities when he reports to campus June 15, Scalzo spoke to KSR about the devastating injury, the rehabilitation process and more, including his upcoming appearance on the Netflix documentary QB1.
KSR: What was going through your head when you took that hit in the playoffs?
Scalzo: Really the only thing was — when I got hit we were up by a couple points — and the only thing I thought about in that game was just winning. After the backup came in and threw a pick six, I went back in. We drove down the field and we scored on that drive and they took me back out. Just the idea of winning that game basically.
KSR: Did anyone tell you not to go back into the game?
Scalzo: Yeah, everyone (laughs). My whole training staff and my coach too, but I told em, ‘I’m gonna go play.’
KSR: Was it a ton of pain? I can’t even imagine playing through that.
Scalzo: Yeah, you couldn’t really put pressure on it, so I relied on my left leg a lot. When I was throwing the ball, I was using my arm, only arm.
KSR: You got that win and Cardinal Gibbons ended up winning state. What was it like watching them go through all of that from the sideline?
Scalzo: It was definitely humbling, just because I was not there and that was our plan was to win state my senior year. I had to stay as positive as I could. I tried to talk to and coach the backup quarterback at the time. I was like, ‘This is your team now. Next year it’s going to be yours. Might as well take it over now.’ I told him he needed to get his mind right. And honestly, I enjoyed it because I got to watch the team from the sidelines a little bit, as much as I’d love to be playing. It humbled me, I could say that.
By Nick Roush on ©May 29th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Only five short years ago, Florida State won a national championship. Now they’re wishing Mark Stoops was still on the sidelines.
As Willie Taggart tries to scrape together a formidable football team following a 5-7 debut as the Seminoles head coach, he’s turning back the clock to recruit. While boasting the program’s past, FSU is also using a catchphrase coined by Stoops at UK.
“Why Florida State? Why Not”
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it might be too over the top when you consider the recruit Taggart is trying to steal is former UK commit Richie Leonard.
Will the familiar pitch convince the Florida native to be an in-state hero? Stoops will explain to Leonard why he should re-commit to UK when the three-star offensive tackle officially visits Kentucky’s campus next weekend.
By Nick Roush on ©May 28th, 2019 @ 4:30pm
The Kentucky football team is in the running for one of the best athletes in America.
Four-star all-purpose back Elijah Young trimmed his list of finalists to five Monday afternoon. Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Missouri and Kentucky made the cut.
The Knoxville native is the seventh-ranked all-purpose back in America, according to 247 Sports. Whether he’s lined up as a running back, wide receiver or cornerback, Young does it all. Built to operate out of the slot at the next level (5’10” 165 pounds), the state champion sprinter ran a 10.74 100-meter dash as a sophomore.
Tennessee first offered Young as a true freshman. Recruited by Dean Hood, Kentucky got in on the action with a scholarship offer last summer. He’s visited Lexington a few times and should make the trip up I-75 at least once more before deciding later this fall.
By Nick Roush on ©May 27th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
It’s good to see Daenerys didn’t completely destroy King’s Landing. Wait, that’s not King’s Landing. That’s beautiful Croatia where, of course, blue got in. As the three-day weekend nears a close, let’s all close our eyes and put ourselves in Lynda’s shoes. Glorious. Now, back to the Bluegrass.
No Days Off
While you were floating around a lake Sunday afternoon, Terry Wilson was tearing up the Kroger Field turf.
Given the month of May off, most of the football players use the opportunity to refresh and reload in their hometown. Some stay for the entire month. Others return early to get a head start on summer workouts. Isaiah Epps was just one of the many wide receivers who was in town Memorial Day weekend to work with Terry Touchdown.
Football players will begin to return back to campus this week, while next year’s Kentucky basketball team will not report until the following week.
Four-Star Linebacker Sets Official Visit
One of the best athletes from the state of Georgia will officially visit UK in June. Romello Height shared on Twitter that he will be in Lexington June 11-13. Recruited by Jon Sumrall and Brad White, Height is the No. 26 outside linebacker in the 2019 recruiting class according to 247 Sports.
Keep an eye out on the site throughout the week for updates on upcoming visitors and the Cats’ top remaining targets in the 2019 recruiting class.
MJ Devonshire Puts Speed to the Test (and wins)
Before Devonshire packs his bags to play cornerback at the University of Kentucky, the four-star prospect had to win a few state championships. Devonshire won the 2A Pennsylvania State Championship by blazing through the 100-meter dash in 10.85 seconds. As a point of reference, typically 10.9 in the 100m is the “holy crap, that guy is fast” threshold.
Devonshire also won the 200m by posting a time of 21.85. The only gold he did not win was in the relay. Aliquippa brought home the bronze in the 4×100. Something tells me this guy is going to be turning heads as soon as he arrives on campus.
Cats are Finalists for Ohio Cornerback
The home of Mike Edwards could give UK another defensive back. Winton Woods High School’s Miquan Grace revealed a top seven this afternoon that included UK, Purdue, Maryland, Illinois, Cincinnati, Toledo and Illinois. The three-star cornerback has visited Lexington often and has tentatively set a July 4 decision date.
What an Edit
One of Jon Sumrall’s Alabama recruits, four-star athlete Jayson Jones, holds offers from LSU, Ole Miss and Georgia. Ahead of summer trips to UK and UofL, Jones shared a graphic that this brain cannot compute.