Football Recruiting News
The Kentucky football team is one step closer to landing a four-star cornerback. This afternoon Jay Ward released his four finalists and the Cats made the cut.
— JAY WARD ? (@JWARD_4) January 24, 2019
If Kentucky can secure a signature on National Signing Day, it would be Ward’s second commitment to the Cats. The Moultrie, Georgia native originally committed to UK over the summer, but backed off his pledge after LSU entered the picture. Kentucky never lost communication. Vince Marrow traveled to Georgia on Tuesday for an in-home visit with Ward.
I saved the best news for last: Kentucky will get Ward’s final official visit next weekend, just days before National Signing Day. Things are looking good between UK and the nation’s No. 30 cornerback.
By Nick Roush on ©January 24th, 2019 @ 11:00am
One of Kentucky’s top remaining recruiting targets is taking an unexpected trip to Lexington this weekend.
Four-star wide receiver Devonta Lee will be on Kentucky’s campus this weekend for an unofficial visit, reports Rivals’ Sam Spiegelman. The talented 2019 wide out will be on hand to watch the UK basketball team host the Kansas Jayhawks at Rupp Arena.
Lee officially visited Kentucky in December and was reportedly blown away by the visit. Many believed, including myself, that it would be his last trip to Lexington. The Under Armour All-American’s second visit shows the Cats have a realistic chance to pull him away from his home state school.
Lee, teammates with UK quarterback signee Amani Gilmore, is not finished taking visits. He is expected to officially visit LSU on the final weekend before National Signing Day.
If Kentucky can beat out LSU to pull off the massive recruiting upset, Lee will be the highest-rated recruited in the class (No. 126 overall by Rivals) and an instant impact outside wide receiver for Terry Wilson.
After a slight break in the action, Kentucky football recruiting is picking up speed.
Kentucky will host dozens of underclassmen for the annual Junior Day when the basketball team hosts Kansas this Saturday. As the focus shifts toward the 2020 class, Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow and Co. are in the process of completing the 2019 class on National Signing Day.
The Early Signing Period has removed some of the sheen from the first Wednesday in February. Last year there were really only two prospects, Chris Oats and Xavier Peters, to watch over the final five weeks of the UK recruiting season. After signing 21 players in December, Kentucky does not have too many vacancies left to fill.
Kentucky Football Class of 2019
|MJ Devonshire||CB||Aliquippa, PA||5-11||170||4-star, ..8816|
|Jared Casey||LB||Louisville, KY||6-3||235||4-star, .8958|
|JJ Weaver||OLB||Louisville, KY||6-6||240||4-star, .8937|
|Moses Douglass||S||Springfield, OH||6-2||200||4-star, .8906|
|Javonte Richardson||WR (JUCO)||Maple Heights, OH||6-4||210||3-star, .8838|
|Shawnkel Knight-Goff||OLB/ATH||Louisville, KY||6-4||215||3-star, .8788|
|KD McDaniel||OLB/DE||Tifton, GA||6-3||250||3-star, .8763|
|Travis Tisdale||RB||Voldosta, GA||5-8||165||3-star, .8762|
|Taj Dodson||CB||Fairburn, GA||6-2||180||3-star, .8739|
|Isaiah Gibson||DT||Springfield, OH||6-4||300||3-star, .8722|
|Demontae "TaeTae" Crumes||WR||Louisville, KY||6-1||165||3-star, .8688|
|Marquez Bembry||OLB||Atlanta, GA||6-3||225||3-star, .8669|
|Nik Ognenovic||TE||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||6-5`||235||3-star, .8668|
|Cavon Butler||DT||Toledo, OH||6-3||290||3-star, .8626|
|Brandin Echols||CB (JUCO)||Southaven, MS||6-0||180||3-star, .8602|
|Tra Wilkins||ILB||Stone Mountain, GA||6-2||210||3-star, .8506|
|Jalen Geiger||CB||Columbia, SC||6-0||185||3-star, .8480|
|Nik Scalzo||QB||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||5-11||185||3-star, .8475|
|Amani Gilmore||QB||Amite, LA||6-2||175||3-star, .8431|
|DeMarcus Harris||WR||Vero Beach, FL||6-2||170||3-star, .8398|
|Jake Pope||OT||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||6-7||275||3-star, .8385|
|Eli Cox||OG||Nicholasville, KY||6-4||295||3-star, .8323|
|Eli James||DT (JUCO)||Oswego, IL||6-4||300||3-star, .8217|
|Quandre Mosely||CB||Brunswick, GA||6-1||195||3-star, .89|
Kentucky can sign up to 25 players in the 2019 class. Two JUCO recruits, wide receiver JaVonte Richardson and defensive tackle Elijah James, committed to UK in December but did not sign. I cannot get confirmation, but it’s safe to assume they are out of the picture. Moving forward, Kentucky has prioritized defensive backs and wide receivers. An “under the radar” prospect could commit just before February 6, but first, let’s turn our attention to the big dogs with big UK targets on their backs.
Cornerback | 6-1 | 175 lbs.
Moultrie, GA | Colquitt County
|ESPN||N/A||Top247||No. 267 | 30 CB|
|Rivals||55 CB | 46 GA||247 Comp.||No. 503 | 52 CB|
The four-star cornerback initially committed to Kentucky in June. Following a visit to LSU he re-opened his recruitment in November. Kentucky has remained in touch throughout the ups and downs and it could pay dividends on National Signing Day. The Cats have one more chance to convince Ward to pick UK over LSU when the Georgia native takes an official visit to Lexington on the final weekend before NSD.
Cornerback | 5-11 | 200 lbs.
Leesburg, GA | Lee County
|ESPN||42 ATH | 55 GA||Top247||No. 453 | 36 S|
|Rivals||24 S | 28 GA||247 Comp.||No. 379 | 30 S|
This four-star corner created headlines when he wore UK gloves in his state championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. There was plenty of UK buzz around Robinson following his official visit, but that has shifted toward Auburn and Tennessee after visits to each respective school. Along with South Carolina, Robinson will choose between the four SEC schools on February 6.
Wide Receiver | 6-2 | 215 lbs.
Amite, LA | Amite
|ESPN||No. 242 | 34 WR||Top247||No. 177 | 7 ATH|
|Rivals||No. 126 | 12 ATH||247 Comp.||No. 163 | 6 ATH|
The most recognizable name remaining on UK’s recruiting big board, not much has come from the Top 200 player’s camp since he participated in the Under Armour All-American Game.
Lee officially visited UK with his high school quarterback, Amani Gilmore, in December. The visit transformed UK from long shot to possibility. Kentucky’s early playing time pitch was powerful. Meanwhile, LSU remains the perceived leader. Being an in-state hero is an appealing pitch, but there’s grumblings that the Tigers want him to play defense instead of offense.
Texas A&M, Auburn and Alabama are in the mix, but UK is in a position where anything is possible. Ultimately, Lee’s decision will weigh heavily on his official visit to LSU. If the Cats can lock up Lee, it would be the biggest recruiting win over SEC foes in a long time.
|Marlin “MJ” Devonshire
Cornerback | 5-11 | 170 lbs.
Aliquippa, PA | Aliquippa
|ESPN||72 ATH | 12 KY||Top247||63 CB | 14 PA|
|Rivals||32 CB | 6 PA||247 Comp.||50 CB | 9 PA|
A target that recently entered the mix, UK extended a scholarship offer to Devonshire on January 18. The son of a coach is a four-star recruit according to Rivals. Pitt, West Virginia, Ole Miss and Ohio State are Kentucky’s top competition. He’s expected to officially visit UK prior to National Signing Day.
Offensive Tackle | 6-6 | 315 lbs.
Dayton, OH | Dunbar
|ESPN||93 OT | 36 OH||Top247||89 OT | 49 OH|
|Rivals||–| 41 OH||247 Comp.||60 OT | 38 OH|
Unlike the Alabama Jonathan Allen, this Dayton, Ohio native is a pass protector, not a pass rusher. Another prospect that Kentucky began pursuing late in the game, Cincinnati’s early interest in Allen makes the Bearcats the leader. Ohio State, Penn State and Indiana are also involved. Marrow must convince Allen to make a visit prior to NSD to have a chance to secure a commitment.
No matter how many players sign with UK in February, there’s still a good chance Kentucky pulls a few players from the transfer portal at the end of the spring academic semester. Finding top wide receiver prospects at this point of recruiting season is difficult, but there are a few viable options on the transfer market.
La’Michael Pettway will be eligible to play as a grad transfer immediately this fall. Recruited by UK wide receivers coach Michael Smith at Arkansas, Pettway led the Razorbacks in receiving yards in 2018. Juwan Johnson was on the same field as Kentucky this season. After catching a couple of passes in the Citrus Bowl, Penn State’s No. 3 wide receiver announced his intentions to transfer. The 6’4″ wide out has one season of eligibility remaining and can play right away.
Kentucky has plenty of options to fill its 2019 roster. That picture will become much clearer over the next two weeks.
By Nick Roush on ©January 18th, 2019 @ 10:30am
A future Kentucky Wildcat will compete against international competition tonight at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Outside linebacker/defensive end KD McDaniel will wear No. 41 for Team USA in the International Bowl. McDaniel will compete for America’s U19 team against the Mexican Cabellero de Playa del Carman. The game begins at 9:00 ET and can be streamed on Watch ESPN.
A 6’2″ 240-pounder from Tifton, Georgia, McDaniel signed with UK in December as a consensus Top 40 outside linebacker. He chose Kentucky over South Carolina, Tennessee and Ole Miss. If you tune in tonight, here’s what you’ll see:
Like all highlight videos, I advise you to watch on mute.
For more on McDaniel’s game, go inside the film room with Luckett.
If Georgia fans were sour after Eddie Gran’s denial, wait until they see how many prospects the Cats are poaching from the Peach State.
In December Kentucky signed six Georgia natives, more than any other state in UK’s 2019 recruiting class. It’s the most players UK has signed from Georgia since Rich Brooks made it his primary recruiting ground in the mid-2000s. The rationale for the decision was simple.
“Georgia is the number one state that produces college football players right now, and I think even pros,” Vince Marrow said on December’s signing day. Marrow’s work in Georgia is not finished.
One of Kentucky’s top remaining recruiting targets in 2019 is Jammie Robinson. A four-star cornerback from Leesburg, Georgia, he wore UK gloves as he led his team to a state championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Robinson officially visited Lexington in December. South Carolina, Auburn and Tennessee are Kentucky’s top competition.
While assistant coaches check in on Robinson, they’re fostering relationships with underclassmen around the state. Unlike some schools where one coach has one specific territory, Kentucky is sending multiple coaches all over the state of Georgia. This afternoon Matt House was in the southeast corner of the state. On Monday Derrick LeBlanc was on the west side of the state. Steve Clinkscale, Brad White and Marrow all played a part in signing the first six players of the 2019 recruiting class.
Mark Stoops earned notoriety at Kentucky for recruiting in Ohio. After establishing back-to-back classes in Florida, Kentucky is expanding into Georgia and will not be slowing down anytime soon.
By Sam Gormley on ©January 13th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
While day two of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs started, the Kentucky football coaching staff extended an offer to three-star linebacker Devyn Curtis.
— Devyn Curtis (@TheDevynCurtis) January 13, 2019
Curtis is 6’2 and is rated at the 25th best ILB in the nation and the 23rd best player in the state of Tennessee for the Class of 2020.
The Brentwood Academy defensive stud currently holds offers from both Vanderbilt and South Carolina as well as other Group of Five programs.
Curtis was in attendance in November for the Georgia game and mentioned how much he enjoyed the atmosphere of the game.
— Devyn Curtis (@TheDevynCurtis) November 3, 2018
You can watch the linebacker work at the link below:
Could we possibly be calling his name soon enough as a replacement for Kash Daniel? Come on down!
By Nick Roush on ©January 12th, 2019 @ 11:00am
Two of Kentucky’s brightest stars on the gridiron began their career at Winton Woods High School. The latest highly-touted recruit from the Cincinnati school will consider following in their footsteps.
Mike Edwards just completed his Kentucky career as only the second defensive back in school history to record more than 300 tackles. He’ll hear his name called in April’s NFL Draft. Last fall, Chris Oats’ name was called into action as a true freshman. In 2017, Oats was playing alongside running back Miyan Williams.
A 5’10 210-pound prospect, Williams finished his junior season with some of the best numbers in the state of Ohio. Williams rushed for an astounding 2,842 yards and 38 touchdowns, which includes a ridiculous 430-yard, six-touchdown playoff performance (on only 2o carries) that propelled his team to a come from behind victory.
Before Williams exploded onto the scene in 2018, Vince Marrow offered him a scholarship.
“I like Kentucky and they’ve been recruiting me since I was a sophomore,” Williams told 247 Sports. “Coach Marrow is telling me that we need to stay in touch, and they want me to visit as often as possible. I feel like Kentucky is producing good players.”
Of course, others are beginning to notice Williams. Shortly after his season ended, Michigan extended a scholarship offer, his tenth. More are on the way, but Kentucky was one of the first. It’s also the same place that turned Mike Edwards and Chris Oats into stars. That will certainly play a significant factor as Williams narrows his suitors over the next ten months.
The second play, a 98-yard touchdown, is one incredible run.
We’re big fans of Neal Brown around here. I had a Troy football t-shirt on just last week. And now that Brown is the head coach over at West Virginia, we are ecstatic for him to have a great job and we want nothing but the best for him and the Mountaineers program under his guidance. Go Neal Brown.
But I’ll also say this: We’re going to hate him in recruiting because he is going to be a problem.
Brown has already planted some recruiting roots in Kentucky and it took him only a day on the job to do so. He has extended scholarship offers to three Kentucky prospects (that we know of) and that number will only grow as he gets to work.
The most notable of Brown’s new targets is Lexington Catholic quarterback Beau Allen, who Mark Stoops is also recruiting. Allen already had an offer from Brown at Troy, and now Brown is recruiting him to be the next big quarterback in Morgantown. Given Brown’s style of play and the success of the West Virginia program in recent history, it’s a very attractive opportunity for the Bluegrass’ sixth-best prospect in the Class of 2020.
Brown also reached out to two juniors at his high school alma mater, Boyle County. He gave offers to Reese Smith, a three-star athlete, and Landen Bartleson, a three-star running back in the class. Both hold offers from UK.
So again, good for Neal Brown on his new job and the opportunity ahead in the Big 12. But he’s going to steal recruits out of Kentucky — it’s inevitable — which was already a problem for the UK coaching staff before Brown entered the picture. In-state recruiting will only get more competitive with Brown nearby, as well as a new coach at Louisville and Jeff Brohm still at Purdue. Keeping guys home just got even more difficult.
Back off, Neal.
Enzo Jennings has made his first round of cuts – and Kentucky made the list. Of course, the 2020 4-star prospect left 11 schools on his radar, but it’s still positive news for the Cats.
The Michigan native is listed as a 6-foot-2, 178-pound cornerback. He comes in just inside the top-100 players in the class nationally (No. 93) and ranks as the No. 11 “athlete” in the class. According to Jennings’ 247Sports profile, the top-four contenders for his commitment are Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and Notre Dame, and he is being recruited by Steve Clinkscale, the Cats’ defensive backs coach.
Top11 ? (recruitment is still open) pic.twitter.com/OhtqB6slaC
— Enzo?Jennings (@_enzoj) January 2, 2019
To make it even more interesting, Jennings is also teammates with 5-star offensive guard Justin Rogers. His commitment, as of now, seems to be between Georgia and Ohio State, but Kentucky is still listed as a ‘warm” school on 247Sports (along with LSU, Michigan and Tennessee). And it looks like he still needs some help deciding:
Who really need me at they college that’s the real question ? It’s not I want justin I need justin ???
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) December 29, 2018
Kentucky has several young guys coming through the pipelines for both of these positions, but they are losing key seniors, so it never hurts to pick up a few more highly-touted recruits. At the cornerback position, UK will lose Derrick Baity and Lonnie Johnson; at offensive guard, they’ll lose an All-American in Bunchy Stallings.
We’re still a long way away from getting ink-to-paper for these guys, and I know there are people out there who get worn out with football commits, especially in the age of the dreaded de-commitment. But these are two talented, out-of-state ball players from up north, and it means something they’re both still interested in Kentucky. A few seasons ago, we wouldn’t have been able to say that.
By Maggie Davis on ©January 06th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
The Cats have some more competition. Reese Smith, a three-star 2020 prospect from Boyle County, just picked up an offer from West Virginia. Kentucky offered Smith back in October, after Tennessee extended an offer in mid-September.
Smith announced the offer on his Twitter account:
— Reese Smith (@reesesmith_) January 5, 2019
The offer comes just days after Neal Brown accepted the WVU head coaching job. Remember, Brown also played football at Boyle County High School. Smith was formerly listed as a wide receiver, but is now listed as an “athlete.” As of now, Kentucky is recruiting him as a safety, while other schools, including Duke, are recruiting him as a slot receiver.
Last season, Smith finished with 53 receptions for 1,173 yards and 20 touchdowns. At safety, he had three interceptions in 2018, returning one for a 99 yard touchdown.
Sure, Neal Brown seems like a nice guy and they share that Boyle County bond. But the Cats just went 10-3, and the BBN does tend to love a Kentucky boy a little extra… Just ask Kash Daniel.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 03rd, 2019 @ 5:00pm
There is another big football game being played in Orlando’s Camping World Stadium that you should keep an eye on. It’s the Under Armour All-America game and it airs tonight at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
Why should you care, you ask?
Because the game will include Devonta Lee, a star in the Class of 2019, who could potentially become a Kentucky Wildcat by Signing Day. The four-star wide receiver prospect out of Louisiana has said he “fell in love” with the Kentucky program after taking an official visit to Lexington in early December.
A high school teammate of UK quarterback signee Amani Gilmore, Lee might just pick the Cats over his home state LSU Tigers, as well as offers from Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Miami, Oregon, Florida State, Mississippi State, Texas and many others. (That’s a hell of a list, huh?)
Lee will be on Team Flash tonight, coached by Steve Mariucci. He’ll be catching passes from a Texas commit, a Texas A&M commit and an Arizona State commit.
Tune in to see him, if you can. He could be the next great weapon in UK’s passing game.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©December 22nd, 2018 @ 12:30pm
A major defensive back target for the Kentucky Wildcats needs your help.
Jammie Robinson, a four-star prospect out of Cordele, GA, is up for Georgia 6A Player of the Year, and he has asked the Big Blue Nation to put in their votes.
— BIG 6? (@Jammierobinson6) December 22, 2018
As a senior at Lee County, the star safety finished with 105 tackles, six tackles for loss, two interceptions, and one pick-six for one of the top defenses in the state of Georiga. It was a unit that forced six shutouts on the season, including one in the state title game in a 14-0 victory over Northside.
Tonight, he’ll be playing for a national championship at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
— BIG 6? (@Jammierobinson6) December 22, 2018
He has already won the 2018 Albany-Area Defensive Player of the Year and has been named as a Class 6-A All-State selection.
Jammie Robinson makes the specialist position, which goes to the player who made the biggest impact on special teams, but to be honest, he could have made defensive back too. Robinson led the classification averaging 25.5 yards per punt return and 36.7 on kickoffs. The senior had 7 touchdowns that he returned back, showing off moves that looked akin to Devin Hester. Robinson’s impact at Lee County was huge in 2018, stats cannot quantify his impact in all facets of the game.
Now he needs the 6A Player of the Year title.
Robinson is currently in the lead with 1,656 votes (50.77%), but he needs the Big Blue Nation’s help to leave everyone else in the dust.
— Recruit Georgia (@RecruitGeorgia) December 22, 2018
You can click on the direct link to vote here.
He’s going to look pretty solid in Blue and White when the time comes to sign in February.
Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow signed a pair of teammates from Ohio that could contribute on the field in 2019. Before defensive tackle Isaiah Gibson and Moses Douglass put pen to paper on Wednesday, each proved their loyalty to Kentucky in different ways.
“Here’s what people don’t understand about Moses. Moses had about 31 offers. He had everybody,” Vince Marrow said Wednesday. “You had everybody pulling at this kid. This kid never took another unofficial visit. He still had five visits where he could have taken visits anywhere, and the kid was loyal to this University and loyal to us.”
Douglass’ loyalty to the Big Blue Nation runs thicker than blood. The son of former Wildcat defensive back Moe Douglass, now the head football coach at Springfield High School, outsiders believed the Kentucky connection would lead him to UK. That wasn’t necessarily the case.
“That really didn’t play a role at all,” Moses told KSR last week. “I didn’t want to go there at first because of that. I don’t like being in nobody’s shadow.”
His father never thought Moses would end up at Kentucky. “He went down there and had a good time, saw it for the first time and just thought it was the right place for him to be.”
Even though Moses was quickly sold, it was far from a done deal. To create an unbreakable bond, Vince Marrow had to convince Camela Douglass that Kentucky was the perfect place for her son.
“I think she wanted him to have his own way because his dad played here. She wanted him to have his own life, and I had to convince her, ‘Just come up and visit.’” Once Marrow got her to campus, the city of Lexington did the rest of the work.
“The people in Lexington really played a big part in their hospitality and just treating these parents respectfully. Because, you want to know where your kid is going to school. You want to know what kind of people are going to be around. So, I think that was a big part.”
Douglass will move to Lexington with Isaiah Gibson in January. Each player will enroll early for the spring semester and participate in spring practice.
Before Gibson puts on a Kentucky uniform, he is already all-in on the Wildcats. While other schools pushed to flip the defensive tackle from UK, he confirmed his commitment to Kentucky with a Wildcat tattoo.
By KSR on ©December 20th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
You thought we’d only have one KSR Football Podcast for our incredible listeners this week? You thought wrong.
After our Citrus Bowl Special on Tuesday, the KSR crew decided to release yet another special edition of the podcast focused on Kentucky’s successful haul on Wednesday’s Early Signing Day.
Nick Roush, Jack Pilgrim, and Adam Luckett threw on their headsets and discussed:
- How the KSR crew avoided a Signing Day tragedy.
- Why is the coaching staff so confident?
- Freddie had Josh Allen. Luckett has KD McDaniel
- Kentucky’s massive haul in the front seven
- Recruiting pitches
- Versatility in the class
Get the podcast delivered to your phone by subscribing to “KSR Football Podcast” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play , and streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.
Today’s episode is brought to you by: