Football Recruiting News
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 12th, 2018 @ 4:45pm
J.J. Weaver got a lot of people worried earlier this week when he visited Louisville and reports surfaced he was going to wait until February to sign with Kentucky. Kent Spencer of WHAS11 spoke with the four-star defensive end, who said that he’s still 100 percent committed to Kentucky, but wants to wait to sign so he can do it with his teammates at Moore Traditional School in Louisville.
Just caught up with Moore’s JJ Weaver (@jjtimeee)
1. Says he’s 100% committed to Kentucky
2. Plans on signing in February to do it with his teammates at Moore
3. If other schools approach him he’ll listen because it’s a business decision but he plans on signing with UK.
— Kent Spencer (@WHAS11Kent) December 12, 2018
I’d like to believe J.J.’s explanation for waiting to sign, but I know better with football recruiting.
UPDATE: Weaver has spoken, tweeting that he’s not 100% percent committed to Kentucky, he’s 110% committed to Kentucky!
Check my bio, I’m not going nowhere BBN ???? I’m 110% committed
— JJ Weaver (@jjtimeee) December 12, 2018
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 11th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
On Sunday night, Franklin-Simpson offensive guard Jack Randolph received a call from the Louisville coaching staff saying that new head coach Scott Satterfield was pulling his scholarship offer. Now, Randolph’s high school coach Doug Preston is fighting back, tweeting that Satterfield is no longer welcome to recruit players from his school.
Coach Satterfield shouldn’t bother sending anyone down here to recruit in the future! I can’t look my players in the eyes and tell them to trust anyone @UofLFootball any longer!
— Doug Preston (@coachadp) December 10, 2018
Preston didn’t stop there, calling Satterfield out for making recruiting staffer Pete Nochta deliver the news instead of doing it himself.
@CoachSattUofL pathetic move coach! No excuse! Don’t come our way in the future. I will tell our players they can’t trust you. Then to have Pete call these kids is an even more low class move.
— Doug Preston (@coachadp) December 10, 2018
I’ve known Pete since he was a kid and played high school ball for his dad. Trust me he isn’t to blame. This coach dumped the dirty work in his lap. Another gutless move by Satterfield.
— Doug Preston (@coachadp) December 10, 2018
Football recruiting isn’t always pleasant and transitions between staffs are tough, but this could have been handled better. Preston tweets that Randolph, a three-star player, had the grades to qualify for full academic scholarships to some prestigious schools, but passed because he had an offer from Louisville. Now, with just over a week until Early Signing Day, he and his family are scrambling for options, while Louisville is scrambling to get commitments for the 2019 class, which currently consists of only three players.
Nice move, Scott.
As all of the attention is on Kentucky’s with high school recruiting efforts, one former commit has entered the transfer market.
Wide receiver Meechi Harris recently announced he will transfer from the University of Cincinnati.
Thank you for all those who have helped me. I’m sure God will be answering my prayers. ?????? pic.twitter.com/zpR4AT4esh
— Meech1 (@king_dj_sosa14) December 10, 2018
The three-star high school prospect from Dayton, Ohio was a Top 100 receiver prospect in 2017. He committed to UK on his senior night, but made a last-minute decision to flip to Cincinnati the night before the December signing day.
Could Harris be the transfer Matt has been hinting at for a few weeks? Only time will tell.
By Nick Roush on ©December 11th, 2018 @ 12:15pm
With only eight days left until the college football early signing period begins, the football recruiting world is ablaze with twists and turns. The most recent shockwave through the Big Blue Nation started over there weekend when J.J. Weaver met with Scott Satterfield on Louisville’s campus.
Since the visit, there have been a few developments. The most recent report is that Weaver will wait to sign in February. Kentucky coaches will do their best to make sure that’s not the case.
The recent memory of Wandale Robinson has incited even more Kentucky fan fear for another de-commitment. If Weaver does eventually flip to Louisville it would be even more shocking, because logically speaking, it’s UK all the way.
1. Family Connection
Playing close to home has always been a priority for Weaver. Originally from Miami, almost all of his extended family still resides in South Florida. He wants to play close to his mother in Louisville. While UofL is obviously closer than Lexington, he does have a UK connection.
One of the few members off his extended family that isn’t in South Florida is Jordan Wright, a UK outside linebacker. Weaver said at his announcement that he’s always wanted to play with his cousin. “We’ve been talking about this since we were kids.”
— Jordan Wright (@JayyDubb15) November 30, 2018
Weaver does not share a family connection with Jared Casey, but the two are close friends. Casey attended Weaver’s commitment ceremony at Moore. The potential for each to play either side of UK’s defense is just one more logical draw to UK.
2. Josh Allen
J.J. Weaver witnessed firsthand what Kentucky pass rushers can do to opposing quarterbacks. He saw Mark Stoops coach an All-American, Bednarik, Nagurski and Lott Trophy winner. The National Defensive Player of the Year told Weaver, “You can be better than me. You got this.”
Allen isn’t Stoops’ only award-winning NFL talent either. Freddie Satterfield can pitch early playing time, but he cannot compete with Stoops’ resumé.
3. It’s Been All UK for a Long Time
In the case of Wandale Robinson, Nebraska had been the overwhelming leader for quite some time. When he initially announced his commitment to UK, it felt more like retribution toward the Cornhuskers for breaking a promise, rather than an eagerness to become a home state hero. Kentucky clawed back into the picture and was at the right place at the right time…until Nebraska coaches sent an olive branch and mended the relationship.
In Weaver’s case, many believed he would pick Kentucky as early as September. Up until this week, his recruitment was quiet because it’s been an assumption that he was a UK lock. Vince Marrow played a big role in creating a solid foundation in UK’s relationship with Weaver.
“He’s the realest person I’ve ever met,” Weaver said after his announcement. “He kept it real, he kept 100 with me and told me everything I needed to know.” All the while, Weaver has known Satterfield and his defensive coordinator for only a handful of days.
In spite of the 500 previous words that lay out the logical case for Weaver to remain with Kentucky, if we’ve learned anything about Kentucky football recruiting is that it is illogical. Keeping up with the constant changes can be exhausting.
Weaver could change his mind and remain in his hometown. Until he does that, I’ve given you at least three reasons why you should not waste your time worrying.
One of Kentucky’s most coveted commits recently received a visit from Mark Stoops.
Yesterday Kentucky brought the Big Dogs to Toledo. Stoops, Vince Marrow and defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc paid a visit to Cavon Butler. It’s at least the second time Marrow and LeBlanc have seen Butler since the end of the college football season.
A three-star recruit, Butler is considered a top 50 interior defensive lineman. The recruiting websites aren’t as high on Buitler as other schools are.
Not long after Butler committed to Kentucky in August, Ohio State began to show interest. They officially offered Butler when the prospect unofficially visited for the Indiana game in October. The fight for Butler only intensified when he watched Ohio State rout Michigan on an official visit. While most believed Butler would flip following the official visit, he’s remained committed to Kentucky.
This week’s in-home visit is the first step to ensuring Butler will sign on the dotted line in eight days. The next step is this weekend. Butler’s official visit will be his first trip to Lexington. We’ll soon know if Kentucky can beat Ohio State in the race to the finish line.
There’s a new development in the recruitment of four-star pass rusher J.J. Weaver.
Less than two weeks ago Weaver committed to Kentucky. Following the ceremony at Louisville Moore High School, Weaver revealed he would sign with UK in December, but wait to enroll until June. According to Rivals’ Chris Person, that plan has changed.
Person reports Weaver will wait to sign until February. This news comes days after Weaver met with Scott Satterfield and toured the Louisville football facilities. Weaver told one reporter on Sunday the visit was simply a “favor” to Vince Tyra, but the latest development leads one to believe there’s more to that Louisville visit.
While signing in February may be the plan as of now, UK coaches have eight days to convince Weaver to sign on the dotted line during the early signing period.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 10th, 2018 @ 3:00pm
Got a few seconds of free time this afternoon? Use it to help a future Cat win an award.
Kentucky Football commit Amani Gilmore has been nominated for the FOX 8 Player of the Week award for his performance in the Louisiana State Championship game. As we told you on Friday, the dual-threat quarterback threw for 286 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions to lead the Amite Warriors to the 47-20 victory. He also ran for 80 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. His six touchdowns tied the record for the most in Louisiana Prep Classic history, and he took home Most Outstanding Player honors. His highlights are impressive:
Voting is easy. All you do is click THIS LINK and check the box under Amani’s name:
By Nick Roush on ©December 10th, 2018 @ 12:00pm
You can count the players in Louisville’s 2019 football recruiting class on one hand.
If you’ve checked Twitter over the last 24 hours, you’ve probably seen a Cardinal commit reopen his recruitment. After announcements from three players — LaRue County athlete Anthony Adkins, Franklin-Simpson offensive guard Jack Randolph and New Jersey wide receiver Stanley King — Louisville is down to just
four three players in the class of 2019.
The wound to the Cards’ recruiting class appears to be self-inflicted. Randolph told the Courier-Journal he was informed Freddie Satterfield’s staff that he “didn’t have the length or the weight to play in their system, so they pulled their scholarship.” The about-face by Satterfield completely shocked the three-star recruit.
“We were told from somebody at Louisville that all of the commits that were still there were going to have their scholarship hold up, no matter what happened with the new coach,” Randolph said.
The attrition may not be over. One of the Cards’ four remaining commitments, three-star offensive tackle Zach Williamson, has an offer from Kentucky and officially visited UK over the weekend.
With only ten days left until the beginning of the early signing period, it’s a bold move by Satterfield to start pulling scholarships, especially when the rival is breathing down your neck. But then again, Freddie Satts is a bold guy. Is bold the right word?
Unfortunately, this post was outdated before it was even published.
Miami Carol City senior 3 ?? 6’2 315lbs DT Denzel Daxon is back on the market!! Louisville new staff decided to go in a different direction. Daxon who was scheduled to graduate in December will now sign in February to way his options. pic.twitter.com/IEs8HvJky8
— Michael Tunsil (@coachtunsil) December 10, 2018
Despite committing to Kentucky just nine days ago, four-star defensive end commitment JJ Weaver took a visit to Louisville this afternoon.
The Moore High School product posted the following picture on his Instagram story:
He followed it up by saying “it’s a business decision,” only adding to the suspense:
According to Rivals’ Dave Lackford, however, Weaver is “100% committed to Kentucky” and only visited as a favor to Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra.
JJ Weaver tells https://t.co/0dJ31hTR9b’s Dave Lackford that he is 100% committed to Kentucky and he visited Louisville today as a favorite to Vince Tyra
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) December 10, 2018
Sources tell KSR that Kentucky isn’t concerned with the visit and still feel “very good” about Weaver signing with the Cats.
If he’s making a “business decision,” he might want to look at what Mark Stoops has done with former two-star recruit Josh Allen. As a top-ten draft pick, the senior pass-rusher is going to be a very, very rich man this spring.
Shawnkel Knight-Goff is one of Louisville’s best kept secrets.
A jack of all trades, Knight-Goff has done it all for Doss High School. Labeled as an outside linebacker by scouting services, that’s not a fair description. Over the last two years, the 6’4″ 210-pound athlete has played wide receiver, tight end, running back, defensive end, safety and outside linebacker.
Recruited by Kentucky as an athlete, Knight-Goff committed to UK in October. Shawnkel will have multiple position options when he arrives on campus, but he will likely begin his career as a pass-rushing ‘Sam’ outside linebacker. After watching Kentucky attack opposing quarterbacks throughout the 2018 season, Knight-Goff liked what he saw.
“Seeing how their system works and seeing how Josh Allen was available to adapt to his environment and how they played, I can see where it would attract a lot of players, especially me and J.J. (Weaver),” Shawnkel told KSR earlier this week.
A friend and foe on the basketball court with Weaver, they are two of six 2019 commits that can play outside linebacker. Allen’s successful season and Brad White’s expertise are too attractive to turn down.
Whenever Knight-Goff has talked chalk with White, it’s all about technique and hands. “I see a lot of drills that people might think they’re little, but it’s really the little stuff that counts,” Shawnkel said. “Whenever we’re in the meeting room, he shows me techniques and stuff that I usually don’t work on but I should, especially angle-wise or how you should lean.”
Knight-Goff is excited to learn under White, so excited that he’s taking online classes to graduate in December. Departing Doss early would preemptively end the basketball player’s exceptional career, but a broken right ring finger suffered in his final football game has already forced him to press pause on the hardwood.
If Knight-Goff arrives on UK’s campus in January, he could be in the middle of an incredibly crowded outside linebackers’ meeting room. If White’s room is too crowded, it’s fine with Knight-Goff. It’s not even his favorite position to play. That would be safety.
“I like the atmosphere when you’re playing free,” he said. “You get a mixture of everything. You can get an interception, catch a pick, run downhill, hit a man. You’re all the way in the back and everything’s in front of you.”
Back and Forth
Like most recruits in the 2019 class, Knight-Goff’s first commitment was not his last. He initially committed to UK in May, but publicly reopened his recruitment just two weeks later.
“I decided to take my time,” but at its core, something else was more important.
“How the situation went down really, my friends felt like it should’ve been more of a celebration with them. That’s why I had to de-commit, but I knew Kentucky is where I wanted to go.”
Instead of making the announcement on Twitter, he had to do it big on Senior Day. Rain forced him to change plans at the last minute, but he was still happy to share that moment with his friends and family.
You can watch his commitment at the four-minute mark below.
Shawnkel grew up cheering for the Wildcats with his father and brother. Just because he was a fan, doesn’t mean he was a locked in to playing at UK. That happened after extensive conversations with Kentucky’s coaches.
“It feels like a comfortable atmosphere. I feel like I can talk to them about anything. I feel open to them.”
Knight-Goff also considered Louisville. Playing for his hometown team had plenty of appeal, but that could not compare to what Kentucky offered.
“I was either going to be a hometown hero or play for the home state. The SEC is bigger than the ACC. It’s way bigger. You’re playing for your whole state. I guess you could take it as more power, more responsibility.”
Kentucky’s record-breaking 2018 season only reinforced Knight-Goff’s belief in the big blue. He enjoyed watching some of the 9-3 season from the stands. Now he’s prepared to help the program take the next step from the Kroger Field turf.
“In the next few years, more history will be made for Kentucky.”
By Nick Roush on ©December 08th, 2018 @ 8:00pm
It’s the second straight Saturday without Kentucky football. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have any practice updates, but we can tell you what’s happening on the recruiting front.
A few highly-ranked recruits announced on Twitter yesterday that they’ll be on UK’s campus this spring. Defensive tackle Isaiah Gibson and linebacker Jared Casey, the highest-ranked recruit in the class, will enroll early for the 2019 spring semester. They won’t be the only ones. At the bare minimum, top-ranked JUCO wide receiver JaVonte Richardson will be back on campus in a month.
Richardson is on campus as we speak. This weekend he’s taking his second official visit in Lexington. A four-star recruit in high school, Richardson spent a redshirt season in Lexington before academic issues forced him to attend junior college. After one season, he’s back in the Bluegrass.
— JaVonte Richardson (@JIGGOCHO_) December 8, 2018
He’s not alone. Another JUCO talent could commit after an official visit to Lexington. Three-star prospect Kelvin Clemmons, originally from Tampa, Florida, is one of the ten best cornerbacks from the JUCO ranks.
This weekend there are only a handful of recruits taking official visits. Next weekend that number will triple in the Cats’ final recruiting showcase before signing day.
Amani Gilmore wasn’t the only future UK quarterback to win a state title on Friday. Quarterback Nik Scalzo and tight end Nik Ognenovic helped Cardinal Gibbons win the school’s first ever Florida state championship. Unfortunately, a torn ACL kept Scalzo out of the final two games of the season.
“I didn’t play tonight, but the energy in this place was insane,” Scalzo told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “First time in school history. I can’t complain. … Life has a bunch of ups and downs. This season has been a bunch of ups and downs – to start off 0-2 and win 12 straight.”
The two Niks emotional embrace will put a smile on your face.
And look at how quickly Scalzo hopped over to give big TE Nik Ognenovic @N11KOLAS a hug.
(Think he could’ve played and scrambled well if they allow crutches on the field.) pic.twitter.com/W33NSnNAbu
— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) December 7, 2018
By Jack Pilgrim on ©December 07th, 2018 @ 9:30pm
Kentucky quarterback commit Amani Gilmore has quickly become one of the best quarterbacks in the state of Louisiana.
In fact, he proved to be the leader of the best 2A team in his home state, winning the state championship for his Amite Warriors this afternoon.
In a 47-20 victory, Gilmore tossed for 286 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions on 11 for 17 passing. He also added 80 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries on the ground.
Here are two of Gilmore’s touchdown throws, with the first being a deep ball to Kentucky four-star receiver target Devonta Lee into the endzone:
— Jerit Roser (@JeritRoser) December 7, 2018
And the second being a 40-yard bomb down the left sideline and into the endzone:
— Jerit Roser (@JeritRoser) December 7, 2018
After the game, Amite head coach Zaphaniah Powell told Jerit Roser of TigerDetails.com that his quarterback is never shaken and always poised under pressure.
“Amani is humble,” he said. “He’s never too high. He’s never too low. He’s right there in the middle, and he had a fantastic game for us today.”
It was a performance worthy of the Class 2A title game MVP award:
— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) December 7, 2018
Speaking of Devonta Lee, the talented wide-out prospect finished the day with three catches for 118 yards and a touchdown, to go with two rushes for 27 yards and a touchdown on offense. On defense, Lee finished with five tackles, one forced fumble, one interception, and one 97-yard pick-six (though it was called back for a penalty).
Not too shabby for one future Wildcat and another potential one.
If you heard the following sentence five years ago, you probably would have laughed: Kentucky football has successfully flipped a four-star linebacker from Oregon.
Two months after he initially committed to the Oregon Ducks, Louisville Ballard’s Jared Casey announced he will be a Kentucky Wildcat.
— Jar?d Çasey? (@jared_casey01) December 6, 2018
Ranked as high as the No. 15 outside linebacker in America by Rivals, Casey went from unranked recruit to four-star prospect in one weekend this spring. Sidelined with a shoulder injury throughout his junior season, he used the Rivals Nashville camp as a platform to launch his recruitment into the stratosphere.
Oregon, Wisconsin, Louisville and many others quickly rushed to offer Casey, but none had a greater impact than the Big Dog, Vince Marrow. Casey wavered on his pledge to Oregon last week, just a day after Marrow conducted an in-home visit. Marrow returned to Louisville Tuesday night to seal the deal.
A versatile athlete, Casey began his career as an inside linebacker, but was bounced outside this season to unleash his pass-rushing capabilities. Casey is equipped with a nice dip and has a habit of making pulling guards look silly.
Casey is the 20th commitment in Kentucky’s 2019 class, which now ranks No. 30 overall. A day after UK lost a four-star commitment, the addition of another homegrown four-star recruit is the best remedy for the Big Blue Nation.
By Nick Roush on ©December 06th, 2018 @ 5:45pm
The Big Dog is howling.
Kentucky’s lead recruiter rolled the dice and landed four-star linebacker Jared Casey this afternoon. Vince Marrow has now successfully recruited four players from the city of Louisville for Kentucky’s 2019 class.
The timing of the announcement was impeccable. Yesterday the Big Blue Nation reeled when Kentucky’s Mr. Football de-committed from UK. After a chaotic 72 hours, Marrow shared this message:
Love guys that want to stay home and represent the BBN. BOOM.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) December 6, 2018