As the fall season approaches, athletes from all over the country flock to the Bluegrass for early move-in days and to begin summer training. However, a select few don’t have quite as far to travel. These freshmen will be representing the University of Kentucky next season and come to us from right here in Lexington.
Landon Young – Football, Lafayette High School
The 5 star Offensive Tackle received offers from Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and Louisville, but ultimately decided to stay close to home and play for the Wildcats. During a game of “play, redshirt, or Westry,” hosts Nick Roush, Freddie Maggard and Justin Rowland predicted the fate of each player in the 2016-17 football class. Their guess for Young? A mixture of play and Westry. Listen to the full discussion here.
When asked about the freshman, Coach Mark Stoops mentioned his “unbelievable athleticism and agility,” which is especially rare for a 6’7, 305 pound offensive lineman.
“When you look up ‘left tackle’ in the dictionary, there is a picture of him,” said Coach Stoops. “He is your prototypical left tackle that every program would love to build their offensive line around.”
Young has already started making an impact off the football field when he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity alongside fellow freshmen Luke Fortner and Woodford County native Drake Jackson.
Madison Winstead – Swimming, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
Winstead committed to the Cats during her junior season and has displayed unwavering support for the university since then. She had offers from over a dozen schools, but chose Kentucky for a variety of reasons: the coaching staff, the facilities, the entire athletic department, the team dynamic and, most importantly, it’s proximity to her number one fan.
In January of 2015, Winstead’s mom, Shane Winstead, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. In order to ensure her mom could watch her swim on the collegiate level, Winstead was allowed to compete in the team’s Blue-White spring meet in April, where she placed first in the 200 meter Breaststroke, an event where she is already just .18 seconds away from breaking the University of Kentucky record.
Winstead is a two-time Scholastic All-American, and she medaled at the 2014 summer Junior Nationals. Her other major accomplishments include placing first in the 100 meter Breaststroke at the KHSAA High School State Championship Meet, an event for which she also has the Olympic Trials cut. She competed in the Olympic Trials on Monday, June 27 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Aime Mabika – Soccer, Henry Clay High School
The 6’6 defensive player led his high school to a state championship finals appearance during his senior season, a season where he scored 12 goals and passed 4 assists. In addition to being an All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and the Kentucky Soccer Coaches Association’s Defensive Player of the Year, Mabika was also the Gatorade Fall Boys Soccer Player of the Year for the state of Kentucky, based on his “athletic production while demonstrating “high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership,” according to this post.
Projected to play as a center back, Head Coach Johan Cedergren says Mabika “has the ability to be a good player for us over his career” who will “add depth to [UK’s] CB position or possibly play in midfield.”
Davonte Robinson – Football, Henry Clay High School
Throughout his high school career, Robinson was regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the state, but also competed as a running back. By combining speed with size (6’2, 180 lbs), Robinson carried Henry Clay during the 2015 season as the leading tackler, while also recording 7 touchdowns. According to Coach Stoops, “Davonte may be the most underrated prospect in this entire class. He has the ability to play many positions, but we will play him at corner.”
Robinson was one of Kentucky’s first signees when he committed in October 2014, and has remained fiercely loyal despite offers from Notre Dame and Louisville.
“Oh, I’m all in,” said Robinson. “I bleed blue.”
Leah Edmond – Volleyball, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
The 6’2 outside hitter will join the Wildcats after an impressive senior season, where she averaged 5.0 kills per set and was named the 2015 Region Player of the Year, in addition to serving as an Under-Armour Second-Team All American and AAU All-American. Prep Volleyball named Edmond “The best prospect to ever come out of the Lexington area” based on her “incredible jumping ability and quickness.”
“Leah is one of the most explosive athletes we have recruited here at Kentucky. She has earned a lot of respect around the country over the last year in this sport and will continue to do so at the next level. Leah’s potential in the game combined with how hard she plays and competes for each point will no doubt make an impact here at Kentucky”
-UK Volleyball Head Coach Craig Skinner
Edmond, who is the daughter of Kentucky football head strength and conditioning coach Corey Edmond, said she just “couldn’t picture [herself] anywhere else.”
“I love the coaches, I love Lexington and I love the school,” said Edmond. “I just feel in love with the whole package.”
Collin Rose – Soccer, Henry Clay High School
Rose played alongside Aime Mabika on Henry Clay’s 2015-16 state championship runner-up team, in addition to multiple state and regional teams. In 2015, he was named to the Kentucky Boys’ Soccer Association All-State Team. During Henry Clay’s state championship run, Rose scored the Blue Devil’s only goal against the Bowling Green Purples – a shot from well outside the penalty box during the game’s first half – which sent them to the championship game. He is expected to play any of the five midfield positions at UK next season.
“Collin is a gifted and technical player,” said Coach Cedergren. “There are few players who have the quick feet that Collin possesses.”
Be sure to watch out for these standout athletes in the coming season.