— Joker kicked off the presser by thanking his whole staff. And not just his assistant coaches, he thanked the wives of the coaches, the support staff within the athletics department, and even Coach Cal. Joker said Calipari opened his basketball locker room for UK football recruits during games. Tell me that’s not an eye-opening experience for a high school football player. Cal gets it.
— Joker is very high on what he calls the “specific profile” they’re looking for in players. UK is only after high character guys who are pursuing a degree and love the game of football. More importantly, the staff is looking for guys who love playing the game here at Kentucky.
— One reason why the staff did a great job with this class is because they’re getting on kids early. Not only is Joker proud of getting early commitments, he’s proud of the way his staff had an eye for talent and got on them early. Joker said some of the recruits didn’t get the attention they deserved because Kentucky had already swooped in and locked up a commitment.
— Some of the guys had to fight off bigger schools once they committed to UK. Joker said he was happy to see some kids stay strong with their commitment to Kentucky when other schools called. Dyshawn Mobley is one of those he said “they were glad to hold on to.”
— “This is a great class that got even better in the last 48 hours,” he said. He believed they were in good with Khalid Henderson but they still had to wait until the fax came through before they could celebrate. “There’s excitement in your belly and it erupts with the fax comes through.”
— He said signing the top player in Kentucky was big and even bigger to add three other in-state prospects with him. Ohio is also important and he preached a huge emphasis to move further into Ohio in the future. UK signed two Ohio players in this class.
— “It’s not about Coach Brooks’s guys; it’s about Joker’s guys.” Joker said he was proud to go to bat for Rich Brooks when he was here and he’s looking for guys that’ll go to bat for him now.
— Priorities offensively were to look for a top ranked QB, a couple of SEC caliber running backs, big athletic offensive linemen and sign an athletic quarterback. All four needs were met and exceeded. He said Justin Taylor still hasn’t even seen the place, but he’s coming to Kentucky after committing late in the process.
— Jalen Whitlow, the potential Wildcat quarterback, gives the opportunity to add another package to the offense. Joker called him “a big Randall-Cobb-type athlete.” He said, “That’s what we thought Randall was when we got him.”
— Defensively, the staff is still learning to recruit for the new system. They’re looking for a lot more athletes on the field to combat the spread offense, but still stop power packages. The new system needs physical guys who can still play in space. The back seven was the top priority in recruiting to replace all the guys they lost. There are 11 guys in this class who play in that back seven.
— Joker expects the defensive strength to the be the line and the Cats added even more potential playmakers to the front four.
— Kentucky played 11 freshmen last year, and he expects even more to see the field from this class. Two of those guys are Jonathan Reed and Cody Quinn, who drew a lot of praise from Joker in the secondary. He called them high character guys who could be dynamic in the return game.
— He announced that Patrick Towles will wear #14, the same number his grandfather, Jim Bunning, wore as a Hall of Fame MLB pitcher. He called him a Kentucky boy who really wants to be the face of the program.
— He said Khalid Henderson had a lonnggg session with Rick Minter, going over tapes of Danny Trevathan. Both Henderson and Minter enjoyed the long session together and discussed Henderson’s potential in filling Trevathan’s shoes. Henderson fits the mold of Danny Dreadhead and wants to be that guy.
It’s all about “the profile” they were looking for in guys. Only time will tell if it pans out.
Kentucky has its new class.