We’re not too far away from signing day and UK’s 2019 recruiting efforts are wild. A new(ish) name has emerged, UK coaches are traveling the country for some final in-home visits and it’s crunch time for several recruits.
Here’s the latest:
CatsIllustrated’s David Sisk has been adamant that UK is a major player in Walker’s recruitment and talks have intensified. I suggest everyone read his latest update. It’s great work and more insight from those close to Walker, the five-star, 6-foot-8, 200-pound wing from Orlando. You can read that HERE.
UK did watch Walker in July, but that was mostly when watching Vernon Carey Jr. and Scottie Barnes (2020). UK wanted to go another direction and instead of turning up the heat with Walker, Kentucky offered and landed commitments from Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen. During that time and to the present UK remained in contact with Keion Brooks and Jaden McDaniels. Kentucky never considered Walker one of their top priorities then, but perhaps the Cats are coming back around. I haven’t been shy in saying UK would like to add one more perimeter player. Scottie Lewis was option No. 1, but now Brooks and McDaniels become even more important.
So, after this detailed update from Sisk I reached back out to people close to UK. I was told on Wednesday from one source they were surprised to hear that UK was surging with Walker and the other person said they thought UK had reached out but it was just to see if they could get on his list.
A Thursday update- UK has reached out but I still haven’t heard anything from people close to Kentucky to make me think that Walker will pick UK this week. I can’t confirm if Payne will be down there today, but I would think if UK doesn’t see Walker in the next week and if we don’t hear of an official visit soon then Walker likely won’t end up at UK.
We’re in the wacky stage of the recruiting season. Teams do strange things. New prospects can emerge. A year ago UK hadn’t offered or met with Tyler Herro, but by mid-November he was committed to Kentucky. Things can change and move quickly in a recruitment and I can’t rule out that possibly happening with Walker. But UK has put in a lot of work with Brooks and McDaniels. Brooks may commit this year but not sign in the fall (it’s unclear) but it definitely appears McDaniels will be waiting until the spring. One person I spoke with mentioned the possibility (and this is a wild theory) that this Walker hype could be used against Kentucky in other recruitments. If McDaniels or Brooks heard the Cats were prioritizing another wing it probably wouldn’t help UK’s chances in those recruitments. But, it’s worth mentioning– people close to UK may want to gauge interest with Walker quietly and if there is interest they may go all-in, and if there’s not they wouldn’t want Brooks or McDaniels to know they were poking around. According to Sisk, the interest is there from Walker’s camp, but I can’t help that notice people close to UK are either downplaying that interest or they want things to remain quiet. We’ll know our answer in UK’s interest by the end of this week. Like I said, if UK doesn’t visit then Walker won’t end up at UK.
I have quickly tried to catch up with Walker’s recruitment. He’s down to LSU, Miami and Oregon (three schools mentioned in the FBI scandal, not that there’s any indication of a shady recruitment with Walker) and in his latest blog post to USA Today, which was published today, he didn’t mention Kentucky. You can read his entire blog HERE.
Here’s what he had to say about his recruitment:
“It’s getting down to the point that I have to make a decision and those were the three schools that really stood out to me.
It was hard to cut Florida because my guy Tre Mann is there, but, in the end, we both know that we have to do what’s best for us individually.
Oregon: They play an up-tempo style and I love that offense. I have a great relationship with the coaches and I feel like that’s a school that will let me showcase my skills.
Miami: I love their style and the coaches and, of course, it’s close to home so I’d be close to my family.
LSU: They’ve got a great plan on how to use me and I really like the staff there.
Now that I’ve done all three of my visits I’m gonna sit down and talk with my family and my coaches about everything and figure it all out. I’ve got enough people in my inner circle that will help me think everything through. That really takes pressure off of me.
I want to have my decision done before my season starts in late November.”
So, it certainly doesn’t seem like UK is going to swoop in this week and land a commitment in just a few days. But if Walker is truly willing to wait another month to make a final decision, as we saw with Herro and other recruits over the years, that would be plenty of time for UK to make an impression.
But I’ll stand by what I said yesterday, I wouldn’t be on commitment watch over the next week. If we don’t get an in-home visit or scheduled official visit soon this may be much ado about nothing. UK has reached out but it’s tough to gauge if he has become a priority. Rivals says yes, people close to UK aren’t saying yes just yet.
Vernon Carey Jr.:
Rivals had updates with the five-star center and the biggest piece of news is that Carey’s father said that he’s “sure” Miami is in the top three. You can read the entire update HERE.
“I’m sure Miami is in his top three,” Carey Sr. said. “It’s home. he’d love to play at home in front of his family and friends. I’m with him either way he goes.”
I wouldn’t make too much of that quote. If Miami is truly in his top three that could be slightly concerning since 247 Sports’ Evan Daniels believes Michigan State and Duke are the leaders, but I’m not sure I’m buying Miami is actually in the top three because his dad said they may be to a Miami website. Whether a school finishes second or fifth doesn’t really matter in recruiting, so I wouldn’t get too worked up about that quote.I would be more concerned about Daniels’ opinion and all the buzz I heard after he visited Duke over the weekend. I no longer feel great about UK’s chances, although the Cats will still be a major player when it’s all said and done.
I’m also not 100 percent convinced he commits and signs in November, although that’s currently his plan.
When talking with someone close to UK about Walker, the conversation briefly turned to Hurt. There won’t be a decision anytime soon from Hurt but supposedly Kentucky is really liking their positioning with Hurt. He will likely commit in March or sometime in the spring.