Football Recruiting News
By Nick Roush on ©November 09th, 2018 @ 8:30am
One of the quietest football recruitments in the state has unceremoniously ended. Christian Academy of Louisville wide receiver Milton Wright will be a Purdue Boilermaker.
“I chose Purdue because it’s a family atmosphere up there and I really like what Coach Brohm is doing up there and I know it’s the right place for me and my family,” Wright told Rivals. “They’ve been the one school that’s always been there and recruiting me hard no matter what.”
Wright chose Purdue over Kentucky, Alabama, Ohio State and Louisville. In the end, it was between Kentucky and Purdue, but Jeff Brohm’s heavy passing attack and extensive relationship with Wright won out.
Up until this morning, Wright was the highest-ranked uncommitted in-state prospect. The four-star wide receiver is a consensus Top 250 player and is ranked as high as No. 153 by 247 Sports.
Without Wright in the picture, UK has only one more chance to land a big fish from the state of Kentucky. The good news: the Cats are in great shape with J.J. Weaver. The four-star Louisville Moore pass rusher will announce his decision November 30.
— JJ Weaver (@jjtimeee) October 20, 2018
A defensive back out of Georgia has reopened his recruitment after decommitting from the University of Kentucky.
Three-star cornerback Jay Ward tweeted his decommitment Tuesday afternoon, saying he will explore more options.
Recruitment Open !! pic.twitter.com/jXM1D2Qdhm
— JAY WARD (@JWARD_4) November 6, 2018
The decision to pull his commitment from UK came days after taking a visit to LSU, so, presumably, LSU is high on his list. He received his LSU offer just last month.
Ward committed to Kentucky back in June.
By Nick Roush on ©November 06th, 2018 @ 3:00pm
The University of Kentucky didn’t get a win against Georgia, but you still might consider it a recruiting win. Countless recruits witnessed a packed Kroger Field for the SEC East showdown. Many shared their experience on social media after the game.
The biggest name on the guest list might have also been the biggest person in the stands. Justin Rogers, a five-star Michigan offensive lineman in the 2020 class, shared this snapshot from his trip.
Big ?…..?? pic.twitter.com/Y4hcz7zq9B
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) November 5, 2018
Dylan Rathcke is a pretty big guy too. One of Kentucky’s top remaining offensive tackle targets in the 2019 class, the Baton Rouge native made his first trip to Lexington. Arkansas is believed to be UK’s top competition for the three-star prospect.
— Dylan Rathcke (@DylanRathcke) November 5, 2018
The name we’ll probably be talking about most in the upcoming 2020 class is Vito Tisdale. The Bowling Green High School safety is considered the No. 5 safety in the 2020 class and a Top 150 player in America. Already a four-star prospect, Tisdale holds offers from Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee and of course, Kentucky.
What y’all think ?? ??? pic.twitter.com/tJZRr40ut4
— V7?? (@vitotisdale7) November 3, 2018
William Griffin, a 6’5″ sophomore offensive tackle from Nashville, Tennessee, picked up an offer on the visit.
— Cedrick Wilson (@CedrickWilson6) November 4, 2018
Kentucky also extended an offer to someone who has family ties to Kentucky. Randall Cobb’s nephew, Tee Hodge, is a three-star 2020 running back form Maryville, Tennessee who now holds a UK offer.
For the biggest game in the history of Kroger Field, Mark Stoops is hosting one of the biggest recruiting weekends in Kentucky football history.
Arguably the most important player visiting campus is a Kentucky commit. Defensive tackle Cavon Butler will take his official visit this weekend. Butler isn’t the highest-ranked recruit, but he’s an incredibly talented interior defensive lineman (a tough position to recruit) that has drawn the interest from Ohio State and Michigan State since he committed to UK. Before he officially visits Columbus for the Michigan game, the Cats have a chance to make a big impression this weekend.
Butler is one of many from the Buckeye State who will be making the trip to Lexington down I-75. Springfield High School has quite the caravan. Three-star 2019 outside linebacker Ra’Heim Moss will unofficially visit with a pair of UK commits, Moses Douglass and Isaiah Gibson.
Most of Kentucky’s 2019 class will be in the Kroger Field stands. Wandale Robinson, Shawnkel Knight-Goff, Eli Cox, Nik Scalzo and Nik Ognenovic are expected to be in Lexington. Louisville Butler wide receiver Demontae “Tae Tae” Crumes will use this weekend as his official visit.
There will also be a number of prospects from the state of Georgia in town. Three-star offensive guard Kamaar Bell will officially visit. From Moultrie, Georgia, Bell plays for Sihiem King’s alma mater, Colquitt County. Two other three-star Georgians in the 2020 class, quarterback Mike Wright and offensive lineman Trey Zimmerman, are expected to be in Lexington.
There are a couple of headline-grabbing underclassmen that could make the trip from Michigan. Marquan McCall’s friends and former Oak Park teammates are two of the most talented juniors in America. Offensive lineman Justin Rogers is a five-star prospect and the No. 15 player in the 2020 class. Quarterback Enzo Jennings is considered the No. 83 player in the 2020 class. Each visited UK often throughout McCall’s recruitment. A win on Saturday could keep the Cats involved until the very end of their recruitments.
There are plenty of underclassmen who don’t have to travel so far to see the Cats. Most of the top Kentuckians in the 2020 class are expected to unofficially visit UK this weekend. That includes Lexington Catholic quarterback Beau Allen, Boyle County wide receiver Reese Smith, CAL offensive lineman John Young and Male wide receiver Izayah Cummings.
This list is by no means a finalized guest list. Plans change. Regardless of who can actually get to Lexington, it’s going to be a phenomenal day to showcase Kentucky football to promising recruits.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 02nd, 2018 @ 10:30am
Nebraska fans are not coping well with Wandale Robinson’s commitment to Kentucky yesterday; in fact, Jim Rose, the former play-by-play announcer for the Cornhuskers, went as far to suggest that Vince Marrow, Kentucky’s recruiting coordinator, played dirty for the four-star athlete.
“Things were looking good for us, until last night. Kentucky assistant Vince Marrow, perhaps accompanied by a few special friends of Kentucky athletics, hung with the Robinsons. When the meeting adjourned, one of them placed a call to Frost. He was presented with the minutes of the last meeting and was asked, ‘Is Nebraska still interested?’ Scott had no idea who the guy was, how he knows Wandale Robinson or even how he go Frost’s number. The call didn’t last long. There’s a good chance Wandale Robinson will never again speak to a Nebraska coach.”
“Who knows what, if anything, beyond room and board, tuition fees, and a living stipend was promised to Wandale or his family. Maybe scary things were implied,” Rose said, listing various recruiting horror stories over the years. “But you can’t coach what you don’t have, so at some point even the most sincere of coaches dance with the ugly stepsister of his business knowing they can’t help all the good kids if they don’t win enough to keep their jobs.”
Well, then. Marrow, who used to coach tight ends at Nebraska, responded on Twitter:
I can’t believe what I’m hearing. When I was there, I was a great recruiter. #JustSayin
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) November 2, 2018
I know Nebraska’s 2-6 this season and fans are bitter about losing Wandale, but what a bad look for the Cornhuskers.
By Nick Roush on ©November 01st, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Wandale Robinson will be a Kentucky Wildcat.
The state’s most electric playmaker turned down Ohio State, Alabama, Nebraska, Michigan and Purdue to stay home. Arguably the biggest Kentucky commitment in five years, Robinson brings a lot to the table.
1. Never Doubt the Big Dog
Up until yesterday Ryan Lemond was the only one who still believed Wandale could end up at Kentucky. While many recruiting experts hedged their bets to say it was a toss up, Kentucky had almost been completely been written off as a contender.
Never doubt Vince Marrow.
Kentucky recruited Robinson for quite some time. Mark Stoops turned it up a notch this spring when Marrow took over in-state recruiting. The move came at the perfect time. A few months after Marrow entered the picture, so did Ohio State and Alabama. Kentucky’s relationship with Robinson outlasted the pursuit of others, largely thanks to Marrow’s efforts.
2. An In-State Superstar
“Building a wall around the state” is a priority for every college football head coach. It’s even more important when a state that usually isn’t rich with talent produces eight four-star players. While some decided to take their talents elsewhere, Kentucky was able to keep the future Mr. Football.
Robinson brings something to the table only a few can. He is a highlight-maker with an effusive personality. Landon Young and Drake Jackson’s contributions to the UK football program have paved the way for an excellent rushing attack, but Kash Daniel speaks to fans in a way few can. His connection with the BBN is immeasurable. It’s difficult to replicate how Kash reaches fans, but Wandale is the type of person that can do just that.
3. Dynamic Offense
There will be an offensive production vacuum after Benny Snell’s departure. After three years of power football, Kentucky’s offense will change in 2019. With a year of experience, the ball will be put in Terry Wilson’s hands. Now he’ll have a couple of different playmakers at his side.
Lynn Bowden has quickly become Wilson’s go-to receiver. Bowden caught 13 of Wilson’s 22 completions against Missouri, six more than the rest of the receivers combined.
There’s room for Wandale to emerge as a playmaker, one that can do incredible things from a variety of positions. Many compare his style to Bowden, but considering their similar frame, Rondale Moore might be the better comparison. If you’ve watched one Purdue game this year, that should be enough to convince you this kid’s got what it takes to make plays right away.
4. More Dominos to Follow?
There are still a few highly-ranked uncommitted prospects from Kentucky. The addition of a star like Wandale could convince Milton Wright and J.J. Weaver to join him in Lexington. Weaver will make his decision one month from tomorrow. The momentum from Wandale’s decision could last long enough to give Mark Stoops another in-state Yahtzee!
Shortly after Wandale Robinson committed to Kentucky, he told reporters why decided to stay home. There were a lot of factors that went into his decision before he picked UK.
Wandale could a big role in Kentucky’s offense next season. Unprompted, he told reporters he’s excited to play with Lynn Bowden and Terry Wilson.
“They’re obviously using Lynn in a very good way,” Said Robinson. “I feel like being on the other side of that will cause problems for defenses. It will be a really good combo with us two and having Terry throwing the ball, and he can run the ball too.”
When did he know?
Recruiting analysts flipped their picks frequently in the final days of Robinson’s recruitment. He admitted that it came down to the wire.
“It actually was really not that long (ago). I was kind of up in the air the last couple of days. Really I just sat to myself and thought about everything and where I wanted to be. Obviously, it was Kentucky.”
He didn’t tell Kentucky’s coaches ahead of time. You can tell by their reaction.
Big Day for Kentucky!!
— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) November 1, 2018
More to Come?
As the biggest star in Kentucky’s recruiting class, he plans on reaching out to a few talented uncommitted players that could become Wildcats.
“I’ll try to reach out to a couple of them. I know a lot of them and we already talk on a regular basis.”
His first opportunity is Saturday. He will be at Kroger Field when Kentucky hosts a slow of high-profile recruits for the Georgia game.
When Mark Stoops first arrived in Lexington, his initial recruiting pitch was a simple question: Why not Kentucky? Which seemed like an understandable reach for optimism, considering the Cats were in the cellar of the SEC East and on the heels of a two-win season when Stoops came to Lexington. Now, with the success of the season, it seems like the question being asked is why anywhere else but Kentucky?
“They’re ranked No. 9 in the country. That kind of speaks for itself. They’re a program that’s trending upward and that’s something I want to be a part of.”
4 for 40
Kentucky’s program is heading in the right direction. While what’s happening on the field is important, he also focused on what Kentucky can do for him once football is over.
“Seeing the progress they’ve made and knowing there’s a really big impact outside of football that you can make just from going and playing at Kentucky. It’s kind of like the 4 for 40 thing. If you go in and do what your’e supposed to, after football you’re not going to have to want for anything if you were to stay in Kentucky and live your life here.”
That part of the pitch came from someone he’s known for a long time, Freddie Maggard. Even though Freddie is not a recruiter, Robinson liked what he heard every time he visited Kentucky’s campus.
“Freddie was actually the first person that ever told me I would play SEC football. We always had that relationship ever since the beginning of my sophomore year when he came to speak to our team,” Robinson said. “After talking with him whenever he got hired at UK, that was really a big thing with him helping us in any way possible outside of football.”
It won’t be long before Wandale Robinson is on Kentucky’s campus.
Shortly after the four-star prospect committed to Kentucky in front of a packed house at Western Hills High School, he revealed to reporters that he plans on signing with UK in December and enrolling in January. The move will give the Mr. Football frontrunner a head start in the weight room and on the field in spring practice.
Before he gets to Kentucky, Robinson will conclude his prep career at the Adidas All-American Bowl (formerly sponsored by the U.S. Army) in San Antonio January 5 on NBC. His KHSAA season is still alive. The 3A playoffs begin tomorrow night when Western Hills travels to Lawrence County.
By Nick Roush on ©November 01st, 2018 @ 2:59pm
You just saw Wandale Robinson commit to Kentucky. Now join Nick Roush on Facebook LIVE to talk about what it means for the Wildcats.
In a shocking turn of events, Wandale Robinson will be a Kentucky Wildcat.
Vince Marrow pulled off some last-minute magic to keep the four-star prospect in the state of Kentucky for the next four years. For the last month, Nebraska was the favorite in Robinson’s recruitment. All of the buzz was trending toward the Cornhuskers until yesterday. Today he is a Wildcat.
The Mr. Football frontrunner made his announcement in front of a packed house at Western Hills High School in Frankfort. He also released a commitment video via the Herald-Leader:
This year Robinson has rushed for 1,844 yards (9.6 yards per carry) and caught 22 passes for 493 yards. A kickoff and punt returner, Robinson has 2,707 all-purpose yards and 41 total touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.
A consensus four-star recruit, 247 Sports ranks Robinson as the No. 248 prospect in the nation and the third-best all-purpose back. The highest-ranked player in Kentucky’s recruiting class, Robinson’s addition moves Kentucky up to No. 25 in Rivals’ national recruiting rankings (No. 31 in the 247 Composite).
Most importantly, Kentucky has a homegrown superstar in the 2019 class. In a year when the Kentucky produced eight four-star prospects, Mark Stoops could not let them all leave the state. There are now four 2019 commitments from the Commonwealth in Kentucky’s 20-person class. Another four-star in-state talent, J.J. Weaver, could join Robinson and Co. in Lexington by the end of the month.
On the field, Kentucky will get an explosive athlete that can make plays from multiple positions. Primarily a slot receiver at the next level, Kentucky’s offense will be incredibly dynamic with Robinson and Lynn Bowden catching passes from Terry Wilson. Many people have compared Robinson to Bowden, but there’s one significant difference that will benefit Robinson: he has played receiver in high school. It took time for Bowden to learn the slot receiver position. Once Robinson adjusts to SEC speed, he should be able to fill in seamlessly.
Robinson will be a star for the University of Kentucky. It doesn’t take long to see why.
Click here for more highlights.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 01st, 2018 @ 2:25pm
KSR’s Brent Wainscott is in the gymnasium at Western Hills High School in Frankfort for Wandale Robinson’s announcement. The four-star athlete is down to Nebraska, Alabama, Ohio State, Kentucky, and Purdue. Who will he choose? Watch below:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 01st, 2018 @ 10:23am
Today at 2:30 p.m., four-star athlete Wandale Robinson will announce his college decision at Western Hills High School in Frankfort. The in-state star is down to Nebraska, Alabama, Ohio State, Kentucky, and Purdue. Robinson also filmed his commitment video with the Herald-Leader a few months ago (with multiple endings) and shared this teaser trailer this morning:
today’s the day…
— Wandale Robinson (@robinson__era) November 1, 2018
Nebraska is still the favorite for Robinson, but as Nick Roush told you in this morning’s wakeup post, there’s been some considerable buzz for Kentucky in the last 24 hours. Thankfully, we’ll know for certain this afternoon. Check KSR around 2:30 p.m. for a live stream.
One of the Commonwealth’s brightest young stars will announce where he will attend college this afternoon. Will he stay home and be a hero, or take his talents elsewhere?
Wandale Robinson is a consensus four-star prospect, an Adidas All-American and the frontrunner for Mr. Football. A versatile athlete that can do whatever you ask out of the backfield, Robinson has gained over 2,000 yards and scored 41 total touchdowns in his senior season at Western Hills High School.
Last Spring, Vince Marrow and Kentucky were in the driver’s seat. That all changed over the last month as Nebraska emerged as the leader over the Cats, Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan and Alabama.
On the eve of Robinson’s commitment, recruiting analysts started the day believing Robinson would be a Cornhusker. Something changed yesterday afternoon. A few recruiting writers shared the “don’t be surprised if he picks Kentucky” sentiment, while one particularly plugged in prognosticator, 247’s Steve Wiltfong, flipped his prediction to Kentucky.
The developments over the last 24 hours should give Kentucky fans some optimism. If he does in fact choose Kentucky, it will be a recruiting coup for the Cats. Despite the last-minute buzz, Nebraska might have put themselves in a can’t lose situation. My gut is telling me to ignore the late-breaking developments, simply to save myself from potential disappointment.
We’ll ultimately learn Robinson’s fate this afternoon around 2:30. KSR will have coverage from the announcement at Western Hills High School with a (fingers crossed) live stream from the KSR Facebook page.
UK Volleyball DOMINATES
In a battle between the SEC’s two top teams, Kentucky left the Memorial Coliseum court victorious. To be frank, the Cats kicked Florida’s ass. Craig Skinner’s 12th-ranked team swept the No. 11 Gators without breaking a sweat (25-15, 25-18, 25-20). UK has now won 14 in a row to take a two-match lead in the SEC standings with just seven games left in the regular season.
The volleyball win was the first of four high-stakes matchups for Kentucky athletic programs over the next week. Tomorrow night Kentucky will host Old Dominion in men’s soccer. The winner will claim the C-USA regular season title. The football team will play for an SEC East title on Saturday before the basketball team is showcased in the Champions’ Classic against Duke.
Grip It and Rip It with Rome
Kentucky’s national media blitz continued yesterday when Terry Wilson hopped on the CBS Sports Network with Jim Rome. Rome couldn’t help but crack a smile when Terry told him, “I felt like when I was out there, I was just letting it rip.” Wilson also revealed the name of CJ’s game-winning play, “grip.”
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) October 31, 2018
Mark Stoops Speaks
It’s been a crazy week of media for the Kentucky football program. That will all die down after Stoops meets with the media this afternoon for a brief talking session. We’ll get a few injury updates before the Cats take on Georgia. If you missed anything from practice this week, check out what the offense and defense said.
Win Kentucky-Georgia Tickets at KSBar
Our weekly Thursday Night Football special at KSBar has extra juice this week. If you pick the winner of the Raiders-49ers game, you can win ten free wings AND lower-level tickets to Kroger Field. Choose wisely.
Halloween was Fun
Actually, it was quite rainy across the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, I didn’t even get an opportunity to dress up this year, so the closest thing I got to celebrating Halloween was watching a raccoon get after an LEX18 reporter and hearing Mike Leach’s thoughts on the holiday.
***MIKE LEACH HALLOWEEN THOUGHTS SUPER CUT***
(And yes, the stripper costume quote is on here) pic.twitter.com/fLnx5KoCPB
— Brenna Greene (@BrennaGreene_) October 29, 2018
There is good news. Now that Halloween is over, it is officially Christmas music season. I know there are plenty of Scrooges out there who are saying, “wait till Thanksgiving!” I enjoy Thanksgiving more than most, but that doesn’t mean I have to wait another month to listen to music’s best genre. You don’t need to update your presets to the Christmas music station, just listen to A Very Merry Roushmas on Spotify and I promise you will not be disappointed.
We now know the details of Wandale Robinson’s November 1 announcement.
The four-star prospect and Mr. Football favorite will announce his college decision in the gymnasium at Western Hills High School this Thursday at 2:30. “All family and friends are welcome,” he said.
Robinson has six finalists — Purdue, Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, Nebraska and Kentucky. If I were to handicap the race, it’d be a toss up between Kentucky and Nebraska.
Many Kentucky fans will be pleased to hear Robinson will make his announcement at the gym of his high school. “Surely he won’t disappoint a bunch of Kentucky fans,” is sound logic, until you consider that Damien Harris announced in front of a packed Madison Southern gym that he would attend Alabama.
Thursday afternoon could be the start of an excellent five-day stretch for Kentucky fans. J.J. Weaver will decide shortly after, the Breeders’ Cup begins Friday, UK basketball has a Friday night exhibition, the football team hosts Georgia Saturday and the Champions Classic is Tuesday.