It’s the biggest weekend of the summer for the Kentucky football program.
Over the next week, prospects will converge at Kroger Field to participate in a variety of camps, starting with three days of evening showcases. For some, it will be the first time they’ve performed in front of SEC coaches. For others, it’s their chance to prove they’re worth a scholarship offer.
There will be a few that will not be doing much at all. Kentucky commits John Young and Andru Phillips already revealed they will be on campus (likely joined by Beau Allen). The commitments typically spend their time away from the drills, saving themselves to make pitches to uncommitted prospects, like a few of the official visitors who just arrived on campus.
Prior to today’s camp, a couple of talented junior college targets made it to campus. Outside linebacker Jesse Smith and wide receiver Dominick Watt tried on Kentucky blue for the first time yesterday. Watt brings plenty of star power from Garden City CC. A former four-star recruit and Nebraska signee, the South Florida native could be an immediate impact player in the SEC.
— Dominick Watt (@1Way_Dom) June 6, 2019
There are a few talented Kentucky kids trying to catch the eyes of coaches this weekend.
Ballard defensive back Josh Minkins asserted his skills at the Nashville Opening camp, earning MVP honors in his position group. Last week the Louisville legacy recruit picked up an offer from the Cards after his camp performance. From the south side of the city, Butler defensive end Hosea Knifely will try to earn an offer.
One player from Pikeville probably has the most potential for a big weekend. After clocking incredible 40-yard dash times (4.48) in previous camps, if wide receiver Jackson Hensley makes the most of this opportunity, he’ll leave with a scholarship offer.
Hensley will have competition at the wide receiver position. Fresh off a trip to Louisville’s camp, Alabama slot receiver Jayson Jones will be in Lexington. Jon Sumrall has made plenty of headway for the Rivals’ four-star prospect. He’ll be running alongside Karaun St. Louis, a three-star prospect from Ft. Lauderdale who also holds offers from Baylor and Syracuse.
Arguably the most talented player competing this weekend is Devon Betty. A four-star recruit and top 15 defensive end according to Rivals, Betty comes from Ft. Lauderdale perennial powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. He holds offers from Miami, Florida State and Michigan, but most recruiting analysts believes the Cats are the prohibitive favorites.
While most of your attention is likely on the previous 2020 prospects, the underclassmen have the most to gain this weekend. After evaluating film, coaches will use their firsthand experience this weekend to determine if the prospect is good enough to play in the SEC.
A couple of rising sophomore quarterbacks will get to throw in front of Darin Hinshaw. Gunnar Smith is a pocket-passer from Orlando and Te’Sean Smoot is a dual-threat quarterback from Springfield, Ohio. One of Smoot’s best targets at Fairfield high School, JuTahn McClain, is officially visiting this weekend.
West Orange High School gave Kentucky Juice Johnson. Last year it provided the Cats a place to practice before winning the Citrus Bowl. This weekend one of the school’s star running backs, Shakhi Carson, will be on UK’s campus.
One of the biggest prospects at camp is just getting his football career started. After playing one season of football, defensive tackle Jaydon Wannstedt has made significant early impressions on the recruiting front. Hailing from the St. Louis suburb of St. Peters, if he shows enough explosiveness, I expect UK will be his first scholarship offer.
The previous prospects are only a small sample size of what’s to come this weekend. Jack Pilgrim and I will be on the ground to let you know who stands out and how the events unfold.