Football Recruiting News
By Nick Roush on ©May 09th, 2018 @ 1:30pm
Curiosities cannot be ignored the first time you see Kiyaunta Goodwin. When you learn more about the 6’7″ 370-pound eighth grader, you’ll discover the football phenom is much more than an athlete with a big body and a bright future.
Goodwin burst onto the scene last summer. In-between his seventh and eighth grade years, he picked up a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky after camping with the Cats. Just a few days later, Georgia and Louisville followed.
Now with five Division I scholarship offers, Goodwin’s lore in the South End of Louisville continues to grow before he’s set a size 18 foot in high school. Bleacher Report’s Adam Kramer came to Louisville to learn more about the big kid who has big expectations at a young age.
“I’ve been blessed to work with a lot of kids who are genetically blessed, but he’s different,” said Chris Vaughn, a former UofL football captain and Goodwin’s trainer. “He’s the 1 percent of the 1 percent. I’ve talked with coaches who have told me he’s going to be the No. 1 player in the country and the No. 1 draft pick.”
His remarkable size and strength is Paul Bunyan-like — a doctor once told his mother he could grow to be 7’10” — but that’s not what makes Goodwin the world’s most interesting eighth grader. He likes football, but he prefers art and plays the bass clarinet. His true passion is robotics, a fascination that has consumed him since he began taking apart televisions, remotes and other electronics as a child.
“Football is something I love doing, but it’s also something I want to use to get more out of life,” Goodwin says. “I could be one of the first people in my family to graduate. I want to go to college and get a degree.”
Goodwin’s wisdom and size are beyond his years. As he continues to grow into an elite college football prospect (he’s only lifted weights for three months and is already benching over 315 pounds), his legend will grow. Who knows if he could eventually end up playing for Kentucky, but I do know Goodwin will provide plenty of entertainment and intrigue to the Louisville high school football scene over the next four years.
By Nick Roush on ©May 08th, 2018 @ 5:30pm
Before one of the state’s top uncommitted football prospects makes a final decision, Kentucky is recruiting their long-time target from a different angle.
Western Hills’ Wandale Robinson has caught the attention of high school football fans around the state for years. In the summer of 2017 he exploded on the camp circuit to earn recognition as one of the top ten all-purpose backs in the nation. Kentucky has been in his ear for a couple of years, but as Robinson enters the final stretch of his recruitment, they’re sending him a little different message.
“They brought in Marrow. You know his reputation,” Robinson told Rivals’ Dave Lackford at last weekend’s Three Stripes Camp in Columbus.
Marrow has hit the Kentucky front hard over the last two to three weeks. He’s bringing a message to Robinson that echoes Freddie Maggard’s new mantra as the Director of Player Development, 4 for 40.
“They’re speaking the message to me that it can be more than four years for me. My marketability when I get done playing that everybody can have some type of communication with me because I played at Kentucky and I’m from Kentucky.”
Robinson admitted he likes what he’s hearing. “You wanna be prepared for after football, so that you can always have connections.”
That message also goes hand in hand with Kentucky’s top competitor, Duke. (That’s right, there’s a huge Kentucky-Duke recruiting battle brewing in Frankfort over a football player and it’s kinda weird.)
“I love Duke. Their education is by far one of the best. You really can’t beat that.” Robinson said Duke wants him to be the next Jamison Crowder, the undersized wide receiver who left Duke as the ACC’s leader in receptions. Kentucky has similar visions for Robinson as a slot receiver.
Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State are also in the mix for Robinson, who took a visit to State’s campus following his MVP performance at the Columbus camp.
The in-state star plans to make an announcement over the summer. He revealed that it will happen in the form of a video that will begin production in about three weeks.
Kentucky has brought out their big guns to close the deal on one of the state’s most electric athletes. We’ll find out in a little over a month if Marrow’s new pitch is enough to keep one of Kentucky’s best from leaving the Bluegrass.
In other in-state recruiting news, last week Marrow and Co. extended an offer to 2019 Louisville Manual athlete Aidan Robbins. Once thought to be a lock at Vanderbilt, a pitch to play either running back or linebacker convinced Robbins to schedule an official visit the weekend of June 22. He plans to take an unofficial visit before the June date.
The Cats also offered a young receiver from Robbins’ rival school, Louisville Male. Izayah Cummings, a 6’3″ sophomore in the 2020 class, picked up offers from UK, Duke and Purdue in a three-day span.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 07th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Kentucky picked up a commitment from Eli Cox, an offensive lineman out of West Jessamine High School in Nicholasville, Ky., on Monday.
Here was the announcement:
— Eli Cox (@elicox59) May 7, 2018
Cox received his scholarship offer from UK last week, and was quick to jump on the opportunity to become a Wildcat.
— Eli Cox (@elicox59) May 1, 2018
An unranked prospect in the Class of 2019, Cox chose to stay home and play for UK over offers from Army, Austin Peay, Ball State, Cincinnati, Cornell, Eastern Kentucky, Georgia State, Liberty, Marshall, Ohio, Toledo and Western Michigan. Louisville and Purdue have also shown interest in the 6-4, 300-pound lineman.
Cox visited during UK’s spring game last month and admits he comes from a family of UK fans.
— Eli Cox (@elicox59) April 14, 2018
Watch our newest Wildcat go to work:
By Nick Roush on ©May 07th, 2018 @ 5:15pm
The top uncommitted football player from the state of Kentucky is down to five schools and the Cats made the cut.
Christian Academy of Louisville’s Milton Wright, considered the No. 14 athlete in the country and No. 146 player overall, told Steve Wiltfong of 247 Sports that the five schools recruiting him the hardest are Alabama, Ohio State, Purdue, Louisville and Kentucky. Wright had this to say about the programs:
“I think Nick Saban is a great, great coach,” he added. “Ohio State, I like the way Coach (Urban) Meyer handles himself and his program. Purdue, I just like their fanbase and how it’s a nice community and they have great academics. Louisville, it’s a hometown school and I think they’re awesome. Kentucky also, they’re a close-knit city I like to be around and my family is around there too.”
The Cats made the first cut but there’s a long way to go. Sources tell KSR it’s currently a three-horse race between Alabama, Ohio State and Purdue.
That could change now that Vince Marrow has increased his presence within the Commonwealth. The Cats could certainly use the state’s most explosive playmaker.
A top candidate for Mr. Football, he led CAL to their first state title as a sophomore. Last year he played quarterback, wide receiver (685 yards, 9 TDs), safety (40 tackles, 4 INTs) and returner (3 career return TDs). I have a feeling you’ll love his highlights, even though I detest them (because most are against my alma mater).
By Drew Franklin on ©May 01st, 2018 @ 8:00pm
Mark Stoops is getting an early jump on recruiting a quarterback in the Class of 2022. Sure, some might say it’s a little early to be recruiting a player who won’t play college football for another four-plus years, but #WhyNot?
After all, Michigan is doing it.
As it stands now, Kentucky and Michigan are the only two schools to have offered Ty Simpson, an eighth-grade quarterback out of Martin Middle School in Martin, TN. Jim Harbaugh presented Simpson with his first official scholarship offer in early March, and UK made itself the second university on Simpson’s offer sheet on Monday.
Blessed to receive an offer from the University of Kentucky#gowildcats pic.twitter.com/f9SG4f4mgm
— Ty Simpson (@tysimpson510151) April 30, 2018
Simpson comes from a football background. His father is Jason Simpson, the head coach at UT-Martin and the longest tenured head football coach in the Ohio Valley Conference. Jason Simpson was also a two-sport athlete at Mississippi State in college, where he signed with the Bulldogs as a quarterback and played two seasons of football and baseball before transferring to Southern Miss to focus solely on baseball.
The eighth-grade Simpson also knows a little about SEC football through his grandfather and his uncle, both of whom played football at Ole Miss.
So how did a 15-year-old from West Tennessee land on the radar of two Power-5 football programs?
According to the Jackson Sun, Simpson caught Harbaugh’s eye through some videos of his workouts that he and his father had tweeted.
— Jason Simpson (@Coach_JSimpson) March 3, 2018
It also helped that Harbaugh knew his dad through their college coaching connections. Harbaugh brought them up for a visit in early March, which ended in Simpson’s first scholarship offer. He visited Indiana the same weekend.
With Kentucky now in the mix, Simpson had some very nice things to say about the direction of the program. He told the Jackson Sun, “It’s pretty sweet… (Kentucky’s) in the process of building one of the top program like Alabama and even Michigan.”
Ya gotta like his confidence in the Wildcats’ future.
By Nick Roush on ©May 01st, 2018 @ 1:00pm
The Kentucky football team has added a talented wide receiver…from the Iowa basketball team? Hawkeyes forward Ahmad Wagner just announced he is transferring to Kentucky to play for Mark Stoops.
First off I would like to thank God for the blessing and opportunity he has put in front of me.. with that being said after much thought and consideration from my family I will be furthering my academic and athletic career at the University of Kentucky! #BBN pic.twitter.com/OUWi5n9IV9
— Ahmad Wagner (@Ahmad_Wagner) May 1, 2018
After playing basketball for three years at Stoops’ alma mater, the Dayton, Ohio native will finish his college career as a receiver on the Kentucky football team.
A three-sport star at Wayne High School, he only played one season for the football powerhouse. In that year he caught an astounding 58 receptions for 1,028 yards and 17 touchdowns for one of the nation’s top football programs. The 6’7″ track star received a scholarship offer from Kentucky, but did not waver on his basketball commitment to Iowa.
It’s unclear if Wagner will be eligible to play right away, but after watching the spring game, there’s no doubt the Cats could use him this fall.
Jen Smith reports Wagner will play right away and has two season of eligibility remaining. Let’s. Go.
The state of Kentucky rarely produces elite football players. The 2019 class is one of the most talented in decades, but on Sunday Tanner Bowles became the latest four-star prospect to announce he will leave the Commonwealth to play college football.
There are five Top 300 football players from the state of Kentucky in the 2019 recruiting class. Four of them have already committed to perennial powerhouses outside of the state. A rare recruiting opportunity, Mark Stoops has missed out on the best of the bunch. History tells us the Cats are in trouble.
Stoops’ recruiting excellence at Kentucky is undeniable. He’s created an unprecedented pipeline in the state of Ohio, cultivated relationships in Florida pulled players from new areas like Michigan and Washington D.C. Kentucky has never had more recruiting success, but it’s hard to be successful at UK without building blocks from Kentucky.
The greatest Kentucky football teams all had deep roots from the state, dating back to Madisonville’s Sonny Collins. Kentucky won nine games, including the Hall of Fame Game, in 1984 with Elizabethtown’s Bill Ransdell under center. Before Ransdell’s three running backs had successful NFL careers, they started in Kentucky; George Adams (Lexington), Mark Higgs (Owensboro) and Marc Logan (Lexington).
The best quarterbacks to ever wear a Kentucky uniform all hailed from the Commonwealth. Andre Woodson receives much of the credit for Rich Brooks’ two-year run, but the Radcliff native was surrounded by homegrown talent. Louisville’s Keenan Burton and Danville’s Jacob Tamme were two of his top targets, and four of his offensive linemen were from the state of Kentucky. On the 2007 defense, Kentucky natives filled up half of the starting secondary and defensive line.
The previous two Kentucky bowl teams proved you don’t need your best players from the state of Kentucky to be successful. Stephen Johnson, Benny Snell, Boom Williams, C.J. Conrad and Juice Johnson never played a down of football in the Bluegrass before arriving at UK.
The stars of the 2018 team all started their football careers elsewhere, but the team’s foundation is made up of three high school All-Americans from Kentucky. Paintsville’s Kash Daniel will lead the defense as the starting middle linebacker, Lexington’s Landon Young will protect the quarterback’s blindside at left tackle and Versailles’ Drake Jackson will call the offensive line’s shifts as the center.
UK cashed in on the state’s top recruits in 2016, but is losing out in 2019.
There’s still time to salvage the loss. The 2019 class is as deep as it is talented. Kentucky is in the hunt for Milton Wright and TaeTae Crumes, two talented wide receivers from Louisville. Two others from Louisville, defensive linemen Shankel Knight-Goff and J.J. Weaver, could end up in blue. Western Hills’ Wandale Robinson is a Mr. Football frontrunner and has frequently visited Kentucky’s campus. Yesterday Kentucky became the fourth SEC school to extend a scholarship offer to Louisville Manual running back Aidan Robbins, a 2019 athlete who already has 19 offers.
For Kentucky to make up lost ground, Stoops has to make changes. According to Justin Rowland, that’s already happened. Vince Marrow is now taking the lead on in-state recruiting.
Mark Stoops has recruited better than his predecessors by being unconventional. So far it’s worked, but if the state’s top talent continues to leave, the Cats will not have history on their side.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 22nd, 2018 @ 7:15pm
After the Kentucky Wildcats failed to sign a local talent in the class of 2018, it looks like they will be striking out on all the top prospects in the state yet again for 2019.
Tanner Bowles, a four-star offensive tackle out of Glasgow, KY, committed to Alabama this afternoon while on a visit to Tuscaloosa.
Bowles is considered the No. 17 offensive tackle and No. 139 overall recruit in the class of 2019. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound lineman is listed as the No. 4 prospect in the state of Kentucky, behind only Milton Wright, Jacob Lacey, and Stephen Herron Jr.
Wright remains uncommitted, though he has offers from Alabama, Ohio State, and Oregon, among others, and it seems as though he will be leaving the state for college. If he does stay in Kentucky, he will likely end up at Louisville. Lacey is committed to Notre Dame and Herron Jr. is committed to Michigan.
On April 10, Kentucky also lost Scott County four-star OL and major Wildcat target Bryan Hudson to Virginia Tech, who is considered the No. 5 overall player in the state.
Moore High School four-star DE JJ Weaver is the next-highest ranked prospect in the state, and he does have interest in the Cats, visiting just a few weeks ago.
Had to change it for 1??5?? pic.twitter.com/diSuqqFzIX
— JJ Weaver (@jjtimeee) April 14, 2018
Louisville has 100% of his Crystal Ball picks on 247 Sports, and though it’s not a flawless prediction system, Kentucky obviously has some ground to make up with him.
Mark Stoops said he was upset Kentucky was unable to sign any local talent in the class of 2018, and was going to hit the ground running on 2019 to ensure it didn’t happen again. With each of the top-five prospects in the state either committed or heavily favoring other schools, this certainly isn’t good news…
By Nick Roush on ©April 18th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
One Kentucky kid has made it known that he’s available, and looking.
Louisville Butler wide receiver Demontae “TaeTae” Crumes announced on Twitter that he has reopened his recruitment. “I just want to make sure I’m making the right decision for me,” Crumes said.
The 6’1″ senior-to-be committed to Louisville on February 19. It just so happens that Mark Stoops’ staff extended a scholarship offer to Crumes five days later. Coincidence? I think not.
A three-star prospect, he was an All-State Honorable Mention after catching 30 passes for 770 yards and 14 touchdowns. I watched him catch a couple of those you’ll see in the highlight below. His spectacular playmaking ability almost single-handedly defeated my alma mater. Crumes has got jaw-dropping juice, and that’s exactly why Kentucky is heavily pursuing him.
By Nick Roush on ©April 18th, 2018 @ 12:30pm
Mark Stoops’ staff just got a little bit bigger. Football Scoop reports University of Florida director of player personnel E.K. Franks has accepted the recruiting coordinator position at UK.
Prior to his time in Gainesville, Franks spent four seasons in Fayetteville as Arkansas’ recruiting coordinator. Like new wide receivers coach Michael Smith, Franks also spent time on Kansas State’s staff.
Dan Berezowitz has served as Kentucky’s recruiting coordinator throughout Mark Stoop’ tenure. His sons Brayden and Bryan are walk-on wide receivers that will be seniors this fall. All of their bios are still featured at UKAthletics.com. Right now it’s unclear if Franks will work together with Brez, as Brez work with Vince Marrow, or completely take control of Stoops’ recruiting operations.