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How Good Are These Guys?

stoops era begins


On Saturday Mark Stoops received his 3rd verbal commitment from the class of 2014. 4-star Mikel Horton joins 4-star Thaddeus Snodgrass and potential 4-star LB Dorian Hendrix. Kentucky Football isn’t used to seeing this many stars. While we don’t know how well Ryan Timmons’ speed will transfer to the on-field speed of the SEC, we can compare their ratings to current players on the team. You will see a trend depicting that Stoops is just now gaining momentum in the recruiting process. With a little time and some on-field success (I can’t believe I’m saying this), the sky is the limit for Kentucky Football recruiting.

[Disclaimer: Ratings vary by site but these are all from Rivals. These can be deceptive so I tried to further illustrate their skills by listing the best teams that were also interested in them.]



Max Smith- 3-Star without offers from any nearby West Coast Schools (I believe UK was his only offer, but Google isn’t 100% sure).

Jalen Whitlow- 3-star with offers from Arkansas State, Florida International, and Middle Tennessee State.

Drew Barker (possible Fall 14)- 4-star prospect ranked as high as #6 pocket passer in the country and overall Top-150. South Carolina and Tennessee are UK’s toughest competition.



Josh Clemons- 3-star power running back was the 54th best at his position in 2010. Clemons turned down the likes of Miss. State, Vandy, and Wake Forest.

Dyshawn Mobley- 3-stars for the power running back that didn’t see heavy recruiting outside of Miss. State and Vanderbilt.

JoJo Kemp (Fall 13)- 3-stars go to the 10th ranked running back in the nation. The speedy all-purpose back turned down Nebraska, West Virginia, Arizona State, and Mississippi State.

Braylon Heard (eligible Fall 14)- 4-star Braylon Heard was the #5 RB in the nation (#57 overall) when he committed to Nebraska in 2010.

Mikel Horton (Fall 14)- 4-stars for the #22 RB in the nation. You can read plenty more about him here.

Heard will look much better wearing blue in 2014.

Heard will look much better wearing blue in 2014.



Demarcus Sweat- 3-starred Sweat played well as a true freshmen, but has plenty to prove this year. He received offers from Indiana and West Virginia before choosing blue.

Daryl Collins- 3-stars for Collins are deceptive; he was one of Joker’s best commitments after fighting off Alabama, Florida State, and Louisville for his services. Collins hasn’t made a lot of noise for the Cats so far; let’s see how the new coaches work for him.

Demarco Robinson- 3-stars for UK’s most proven returning wideout, Robinson chose UK over Louisville and Marshall.

Ryan Timmons (Fall 13)- Timmons only has 3-stars but it’s hard to judge him based off that, when the local phenom chose the Cats over Florida and Ohio State.

Javess Blue (Fall 13)- The 3-star JUCO transfer is expected to make an immediate impact in the fall after turning down Texas A&M and West Virginia to play for UK.

Thaddeus Snodgrass (Fall 14)- 4-starred Snodgrass is the nation’s #24 WR (#198 overall) in the Class of 2014; it’s worth mentioning that he’s a member of Ohio’s recruiting pipeline.



Mister Cobble- Cobble is a dominant force on UK’s DLine, but only received 2-stars and never received any other offers.

Bud Dupree- Bud was recruited by Auburn to play Linebacker, but the 3-star player is now getting comfortable in a 3-point stance. Beating Auburn is impressive, but Georgia Tech and Jacksonville State, not so much.

Za’Darius Smith (Fall 13)- Za’Darius was one hell of Za’4-star player and rated as the best player DLinemen in all of Jr. College this past year.

Jason Hatcher (Fall 13)- 4-stars for the 8th ranked Defensive End that de-committed from USC and turned down Louisville to play for Mark Stoops. He even mocked UK at one point early in his recruiting. My how times are a changin’.

Big Z making plays in Junior College.

Big Z making plays in Junior College.



Avery Williamson- Avery may have led the SEC in tackles for the majority of last season, but he wasn’t a big prospect in high school with only 3-stars to his credit and offers from New Mexico and Arkansas State.

Dorian Hendrix (Fall 14)- Hendrix is a 3-star commit for the time being but is *this close* to receiving his 4th star. He is the #21 LB in the nation, receiving multiple Big 10 offers before making an early commitment to the Cats.

Tre Williams (possible Fall 14)- The overall #35 player in the nation, Williams is a superstar in the making. The 4-starred #2 ILB in the country has offers from every big school out there: Alabama, USC, Florida State, LSU, plus many more. UK is a darkhorse in his recruitment but who knows what will happen after he attended last week’s Blue/White game.



Ashely Lowery- The most experienced player in the unit is a former 3-star that was ranked as high as #59 amongst all safeties.

The Blaylock Twins- Both players were 3-stars two years ago, receiving little notoriety in the process. The twin thing helped them get offers from Louisville, Cincinnati, and Duke before they decided to head to Lex.

Jaleel Hytchye (Fall 13)- 3-stars for Stoops’ 1st high school commit and the #48 cornerback in the nation. He could very well be your starting CB in the fall after choosing UK over Louisville, Arizona State, and Penn State.

Nate Willis (Fall 13)- One of Mark Stoops’ JUCO transfers, the 3-starred Willis will likely be a starter in the Fall. Willis’ 4.4 speed attracted the likes of Kansas State, Baylor, WVU, Miss. State, and Ole Miss.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

25 Comments for How Good Are These Guys?

  1. CATS
    1:12 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    What about Patrick Towles? Still think the kid is the next great one

  2. Time in a second
    1:21 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    Nice to see all the stars. It’s a huge jump from high school to the SEC, and even more huge coming from a team that played no one and everyone thinking you will be a superstar. Put on your equipment new freshman. Stars mean nothing.

  3. Beatle Bum
    1:22 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    I have heard from football folk in Florida that Montgomery is a future star at WR.

  4. Scooby
    1:22 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    You left out probably the DL that is liable to turn into the best one… Regie Meant… 6’5-290 and was power cleaning over 300lbs as a Senior in High School….the guy ran a 40 in 4.69 laser…He started playing football 2 years ago and has no idea what an inside mover or anything like that is. He is a freak athlete…

  5. Scooby
    1:24 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    6) Montgomery made 2 of the most amazing catches I have ever seen in the state tournament.

  6. Pass or Run
    1:28 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    Another company by the name of Rival makes dog food. Stars are meaningless. Ask Randle Cobb.

  7. Jax Teller
    1:37 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    Za’Darius hit that guy so hard he doesn’t have a neck.

  8. ribin
    1:50 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    Looking forward to seeing what they can do on the field — also to the time that these type kids come to UK knowing that they will probably be a year or more away from seeing the field because of the already developed talent in front of them.

  9. ThankfulCat
    1:52 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    UK has 3 QB’s on campus better than anything in Knoxville. THIS is the year to curbstomp them and start climbing the SEC East Ladder. Also gotta beat Mizzou.

  10. football school
    1:58 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    I’d say good enough to be 7-5 or 8-4 with a trip to the Music City Bowl or Outback Bowl. Go Big Blue

  11. whit Sr
    2:42 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    hi Wildcat Nation!
    Let me give you more info on Jalen. Jalen transfered to Prattville High School from another city (Montgomery–Jeff Davis High). Prattville had a highly ranked QB that had offers from every school in the SEC including Alabama that was already the starting at Prattville–QB Justin Thomas currently at Georgia Tech. It was a lot of tention and competetion for 2 yrs…Jalen consistanly out played every QB he faced in every game and at practice. Jalen had alot more offers that is not listed on Rivals like Old Miss and other big name schools. The reason some of them are not listed is because they didnt fit what we were looking for and we told them thanks but no thanks. Gus Malzahn and Rhett Lashlee recruited Jalen while at Auburn and thats who Jalen wanted to play for. Gus realy liked Jalen and we realy like Gus but I think Gene Chizik was the obsticle.(remember Jalen wasnt a full time QB–I heard he didnt want Cam Newton at first either). Anyway Gus all of a sudden left for Ark St. and believe me he recruited Jalen as hard as i ever seen. Alot of head coaches stated to me back then that the problem he was having is the sharing of playing time (perception that he was a back up-when he was one of the best in state and country. Jalen won some heavy weight battles for Pattville his sr. season including the match again TJ Yeldon (RB at Alabama) where Jalen had 170 yards rushing alone and TJ had 80. I even had a top head coach told me he thought Jalen was better than Jamiez Winston-the top QB in the country. As a father and fan I can say Kentucky got a top notch QB when Jalen chose Kentucky… P.S we chose UK because we thought as a family Lexington is a great town, lots of family feel (Ms Barb) and is a great school with lots of upside.

    W. Whitlow

  12. jbk
    2:51 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    Glenn Faulkner- 4 star safety out of St. Louis. In fact, the only 4-star recruit UK received in 2011. 8th ranked safety in the nation.

  13. noel
    2:51 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    16 – Thanks for the insight. We couldn’t be happier that Jalen chose Kentucky and he has already proven that he can be a very special player in the SEC. It sounds like Jalen may be in the driver’s seat to start this fall. I think it will either be Jalen Whitlow or Max Smith as it seems Towles has fallen behind in the QB competition.

  14. whit Sr
    2:51 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    P.S.. i left out the other problem Jalen was having is Prattville didnt like passing much but came in 2nd in the nation his Sr. season in the national 7 on 7 passing competition agaist the top High Schools in the nation.

    I know football and this staff will take this football program to places it may have never been!

    Go Wildcats

  15. He said Rivals
    2:53 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    #13) he was using Rivals ratings ..and Kemp & Timmons are both 3 star (5.7) on their final list. Agree, leaving Towles off was poor

  16. that guy
    2:55 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    #16: Jalen looked great in the spring game. I personally love watching dual threat QBs and I hope he gets significant PT this fall.

  17. Marcus McWilson
    2:57 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    Where am I??

    3:16 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    While he did leave alot off, please read the post before commenting, he clearly says rivals, which Timmons and Kemp are 3-star players…

  19. Father timex
    3:17 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    For gosh sakes, its an article. Quit whinning if someone got left out of one article. Football is a team sport. There’s 105 players on the team. All contribute. Whitlow’s cadre wouldn’t have bad mouthed Nick for missing him. See good in and compliment others instead of trying to make UK football a one man band. It gets old!

  20. Father timex
    3:23 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    #16, thank you for sharing some great inside information on your son, Jalen. That’s what the BBN wants to hear, the inside story about the players, not people complaining. Others should follow your lead. Your son just gets the job done and goes on to the next day. Thank you!

  21. jaws2
    4:24 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve already seen more progress from this staff and its players in ONE spring, than the Phillips staff gave us in THREE years. Guys like Stoops Poops is either a tardinal troll or knows absolutely nothing about football or coaching.

  22. Georgia Blue
    5:04 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    A 2 star player out HS might be the No.1 overall pick on Thursday. Eric Fisher CMU will probably be first player chosen in this year NFL DRAFT according to some Top NFL Analyst. State, Area and Region Competition and a long with Talent in the area should Coaches focus on Recruiting. Metro- Atlanta is LOADED EVERY YEAR WITH TALENT. LAST YEAR No.1 and No.2 HS Football Player in the NATION was from Metro-Atlanta. South Carolina and Alabama raid Metro-Atlanta every year with at least 4 or more players signing on NSD. Alabama signed 2 running backs from Metro-Atlanta in this year class. DEKALB,GWINNETTI, FULTON,COBB,FAYETTEVILLE, CLAYTON AND HENRY COUNTY are loaded again. Stephenson High School is loaded again. Remember this name KHALIL LADLER SOPHMORE. Who has Offers from Alabama, Tenn. ,UGA, GT, VT , FLORIDA STATE, CINN, VANDY, SOUTH CAROLINA, NORTH CAROLINA ,SOUTH FLORIDA and Etc. He brother is the starting safety for Vandy. He wil probably be the No.1 overall prospect for the class of 2016

  23. buzzard
    5:20 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    I haven’t seen Mr. Cobble dominate nothing…. except maybe the dinner table. Dude looks like he’s pregnant..and fat.

  24. pooter
    10:42 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    man, this post gets me pumped for football season… so great to have this level of excitement for football in Lexington.

  25. Bulldawg
    10:43 pm April 23, 2013 Permalink

    I think Raymond Sanders could be UK’s most productive RB this year and he didn’t make the cut. No TE’s or OL mentioned at all. The story should read: “we can compare “some of” their ratings to “some of the” current players on the team. You should have least made it a complete team comparison… you are kinds half-assn’ it. Anyway, I am sure you gotta a lot to do. Pimpn ain’t easy. 🙂

    To Jalen’s Dad, Thanks for sharing your post. I really enjoy watching Jalen play and I know he will have a outstanding career. Please, post again sometime. GO CATS!!!