Currently UK has 13 verbal commitments for the 2012 class. It’s hard to predict the magic number of signees for the class, but the number is close to 20. While the SEC doesn’t allow over signing anymore, I still expect the Cats to sign a couple of extra knowing there is always attrition. As always you can check out my site, Bleed Blue Kentucky or follow me on Twitter for more info regarding the UK football program. Just click the links.
Below is a snap shot of the class and my opinion of the staff’s goals based on feedback.
Commitments: Patrick Towles (KY)
Names to remember: Faton Bauta (FL), Will Gross (TN)
Discussion: The staff is done recruiting QB’s. It’s possible the staff may sign an athlete, but there are too many other needs in the class with Towles becoming the fourth quarterback on scholarship in 2012. Faton Bauta is being recruited by a ton of BCS schools and recently stated UK was among his favorites. Will Gross named UK his leader recently, but then gave a verbal pledge to Memphis. Less than 24 hours later, Gross claims he is leaving his options open.
Running Back (2)
Names to remember: Anthony Wales (KY), Mike Hilton (GA), Shadrach Thornton (GA), Marcus Allen (FL), D’yshawn Mobley (TN), Darmontre Warr (KY), DeMichael Jackson (KY)
Discussion: The staff has stated they plan to sign two running backs in the next recruiting class. Mike Hilton appeared to be the closest to making a decision, but then decided he is going to wait. Anthony Wales has been a priority for UK, but stated he wanted to wait until signing day before making his decision. I have been told UK has told Wales they can’t wait until February for his decision. The Cats remain in the mix with Shadrach Thornton and Marcus Allen. Many feel Georgia Tech will be hard to beat for Thornton and Allen just picked up an offer from FSU and could give the Seminole’s his pledge very soon. Dy’shawn Mobley camped at UK and appears to be taking a visit back to Lexington this fall. He is a bigger body running back that impressed the staff with his camp performance this fall. Darmontre Warr claims he picked up an offer from Arkansas recently, but the Cats have yet to offer. Warr is teammates with Thomas Chapman who is committed to UK. Another name to watch is DeMichael Jackson. The Louisville running back claims an offer from UCF.
Wide Receivers (3)
Commitments: DeMarcus Sweat (GA)
Names to remember: JD Harmon (KY), MeKale McKay (KY), Monty Madaris (OH), Dwayne Stanford (OH), Chris Brown (SC), Quintez Sutton, Blake Tibbs (GA), Kolby Gray (FL)
Discussion: The Cats will enroll five true freshmen this summer including Josh Forrest who appears to be on the verge of a position change. Most felt UK would be very picky in this recruiting class when it comes to receivers, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The Cats will add Austin Sheehan next year. He has accepted a preferred walk-on opportunity. Most still believe JD Harmon and MeKale McKay are the most likely receivers to become Cats. Harmon could make a decision in the next month or so. McKay is a different story. He has to decide if he wants to play football or basketball at the next level. He currently holds offers for both. However, he has a great relationship with Joker Phillips. Monty Madaris and Dwayne Stanford are players UK would love to sign to extend their pipeline into Cincinnati. At this point, Stanford appears to be a long shot. He is visiting Miami and LSU. Chris Brown is not only a star on the football field, he is a track star too. He holds a ton of offers and the Cats will have their work cut out to land a visit. Quintez Sutton is another in-state player who performed well at UK’s camp this summer. Sutton could pick up an offer, but it likely will happen late in the process. The Cats have shown interest in Blake Tibbs, but they have not extended an offer yet. Tibbs played with Demarco Robinson, who signed with UK in February. Kolby Gray is a name that surfaced recently. Gray currently plays QB in high-school, but most feel he would move to receiver at the next level. He appears to be high on UK.
Tight Ends (1)
Names to remember: Zach Gordon (GA), Hunter Bowles (KY)
Discussion: This is another area the staff can afford to be picky. The Cats currently have five tight ends on scholarship with no juniors or seniors in the group. There has been a lot of talk about using more double tight end sets, using tight ends in the backfield and even flexing them out at receiver. Joker Phillips likes tight end body types as they provide a lot of versitility. The one guy UK would love to sign is Zach Gordon who holds about 18 offers. Gordon will take a visit to UK this fall and hopes to make his decision in October. Hunter Bowles is a very interesting in-state prospect that attended camp at UK. He is one to keep an eye on and could pick up an offer late in the process.
Offensive Line (4)
Commitments: Zach Myers (OH), Darone Bailey (MS), Jordan Watson (GA), Jon Toth (IN)
Names to remember: Jordan Swindle (FL), Will Adams (GA), Donald Hawkins (MS), Blake Fromang (FL), Oliver Jones (SC), Hunter Holloway (KY)
Discussion: Just a couple of short weeks ago, UK didn’t any offensive line commitments. Now, they have four. It appears the staff wants to sign one more offensive tackle recruit. Jordan Swindle visited UK this past week and the Cats are high on his list. Will Adams is expected to announce any day, but all signs are point to a Georgia Tech commitment. Donald Hawkins remains a Juco priority who appears to be a top recruiting target. Mike Summer is handling his recruitment. The Cats have also offered Blake Fromang who visited recently. Oliver Jones is another recruit the Cats have offered, but most feel he will not leave the state of South Carolina. Hunter Holloway is an interesting prospect that blew up at camp this summer. Some feel he could play on either side of the football. He does not hold an offer yet from UK, but he has the size and quickness to receive to turn heads.
Defensive Tackle (3)
Commitments: Thomas Chapman (KY), Patrick Graffree (KY)
Names to remember: Jordan Washington (GA), Christian Brown (FL), Trae Clark (OH), Oliver Hinkle (KY), Tyrone Pearson (IN)
Discussion: The Cats have picked up two very good in-state recruits early in the process. Thomas Chapman has flown under-the-radar because he was injured last season. I expect other schools to pursue him over the next few months. Patrick Graffree picked up a UK offer and committed following his camp performance. Graffree is physically ready to compete now. He is another player who will have more schools calling before signing day. I believe the Cats would like to sign at least one more defensive tackle for the 2012 class. Jordan Washington camped at UK and picked up an offer following his camp performance. Christian Brown was supposed to attend camp in Lexington, but was unable to make it for personal reasons. If the staff can get him on campus, they have a shot. Trae Clark continues to receive a lot of interest from multiple schools. It appears he is a long shot for UK at this point. Oliver Hinkle is another in-state player to keep an eye on. He holds a few offers now. Tyrone Pearson’s recruitment has been on again and off again. He has committed to two different teams already and stated he wants to play in the SEC.
Defensive End (2)
Names to remember: Eric Lee (AL), JaMichael Winston (AL), Daniel Ross (KY), Adolphus Wasington (OH), Langston Newton (IN), Marcus Gilchrist (FL), Channing Ward (MS), Tyler Knox (DE)
Discussion: The Cats currently have no commitments, but right now I feel Daniel Ross and Langston Newton are the most likely to commit. Ross has been a UK lean for quite sometime. Based on feedback, he still has work to do academically. Newton is going to take his time, but he has taken a ton of visits to Lexington and it doesn’t hurt his brother is the quarterback. Tee Martin continues to recruit Eric Lee and JaMichael Winston. These two don’t appear to be close to a decision, but don’t count out Tee Martin either. The Cats really like Adolphus Washington, but could be a long shot. He has set official visits to Miami and Bama. The Cats remain in the mix for Marcus Gilchrist, Channing Ward and Tyler Knox. UK got in all each of these recruits very early, but a lot of schools have came into the picture since the Cats offered.
Commitments: Daron Blaylock (GA),
Names to remember: Kwon Alexander (AL), Josh Harvey-Clemons (GA), Tyler Drake (FL), Tre’ Banks (AL), Jay-Jay McCullough (SC), Julian Leslie (FL)
Discussion: Kwon Alexander is one of the top recruits in the southeast. He doesn’t appear close to a decision and would be a huge pick-up for UK. He has stated he plans to visit Oregon. Josh Harvey-Clemons is another highly touted prospect the Cats jumped on early. Julian Leslie recently visited UK, but has not committed. I’m starting to think he may hold a conditional offer. Tyler Drake visited UK recently too and the Cats could turn up the heat on his recruitment since Devin Vandyke committed to Virginia Tech. Tre’ Banks is a middle linebacker prospect that Tee Martin is recruiting. He doesn’t appear close to a decision at the moment, but likes UK. Jay-Jay McCullough is a very interesting prospect that could play on either side of the football. Most project him as a linebacker. I’ll be surprised if he leaves the state of South Carolina.
Commitments: Josh Harris (KY), Zack Blaylock (GA)
Names to remember: Cole Champion (FL), Kimlon Dillon (FL), Derrick Moncrief (AL)
Discussion: Josh Harris was the first commitment for UK in the 2012 class. Harris could potentially play outside linebacker, but the staff likes him as a safety. Zack Blaylock is the brother of Daron (mentioned above) and held multiple BCS offers. Both Harris and Blaylock are great athletes. Tee Martin is recruiting Cole Champion, who is teammates with Tyler Drake (mentioned above). The Cats were the first SEC team to offer Kimlon Dillon. Greg Nord is handling his recruitment. Dillon holds several offers including multiple BCS offers. I like UK’s chances if they are able to get him on campus. Derrick Moncrief is committed to Southern Miss, but stated he is considering UK and Mississippi State. Could the Cats be on the verge of flipping his commitment?
Commitments: Shawn Blaylock (GA), Jonathan Reed (IN)
Names to remember: Jadarius West (GA), Jonathan Jones (GA), Jhavon Williams (FL), Tyreece Jiles (FL), Percy Minor (KY)
Discussion: The Cats have two commitments from two solid prospects that will receive a lot more attention this fall. Jadarius West informed me he is 90% sure he will commit to UK once he visits. Jonathan Jones has stated he plans to visit Lexington too. He is a teammate of Zach Gordon (TE). Jones holds multiple BCS offers, but remains a long shot until the staff is able to get him on campus. Jhavon Williams and Tyreece Jiles are also possibilities. Percy Minor is a name to remember. Minor is a very good athlete that could pick up an offer late in the process.
Punter / Kicker (1)
Name to remember: Landon Foster (TN)
Discussion: The Cats have offered Landon Foster from Tennessee. Foster is receiving a ton of interest and holds a couple of offers currently. Foster just visited Tennessee and the Vols could be the team to beat if they offer. Foster’s strength is his punting ability and the Cats will lose Ryan Tydlacka after this season.