With an expected crowd near 40,000 for Saturday’s Blue/White Game, Coach Stoops is taking off the recruiting gloves by inviting more than 50 recruits to the game. The Spring Game has always been a big weekend to invite recruits, but there has never been so much high school football talent in Lexington at once. Here is a short-list of some of the big names you may see walking around CWS Saturday. [Warning: These guys are REALLY REALLY good.]
Neal Brown tweeted at the beginning of Spring Practice, “I’m working to develop & recruit a QB to break Couch’s records! #BBN.” Kentucky native Drew Barker is that guy. The #6 pocket passer in the country looks like Johnny Football against local High School competition. I could write a whole page about how great this guy is; oh wait, I already did. Barker is also friends with new commit Thaddeus Snodgrass; as Mrs. T said earlier, Couch-Yeast 2.0 could be on the horizon.
Snodgrass made a slight surprise this morning when he committed to play for Mark Stoops. Last night he released an official Top 4 of West Virginia, South Carolina, Louisville, and Kentucky: boy did he have us fooled. Snodgrass is Stoops’ second commit of 2014, joining his 3-star Ohio friend Dorian Hendrix. By now we all know the Cats are need of quality Wide Receivers. With 4.4 speed at 6’1, I don’t mind having mixing some Snodgrass with Bluegrass.
The verbally committed Hendrix brings great speed for an ILB, running a 4.5 40-yard dash. Hendrix complements his speed with powerful run-stopping ability. Like a lion in the savanna, he stalks his prey relentlessly witth great closing speed. Hendrix’s commitment was an easy decision after visiting UK during the first week of Spring practice.
The Texas native was a big fan of Texas Tech when Neal Brown was calling the offense for the Red Raiders. Williams talked with Justin Rowland last month about his relationship with Neal Brown; “I love coach Brown. He’s always been a good guy to me. He’s always been honest and he’s going to tell me the truth. He’s not going to lie to me. I really appreciate that. Also, I love the offense he’s bringing to Kentucky.” Williams has offers from other BCS school, but Kentucky is the first SEC school to seek the wide receiver’s services.
Stoops is looking to land the #22 Running Back in Class of 2014 out of Ohio powerhouse Lakota West High School. The highly rated running back was at Stoops’ first Junior Day, but since has received a lot of attention from big programs like Alabama, Florida State, and Michigan. At 6’1 225 lbs, the Senior to-be is one of the most powerful runners in the Midwest.
Jackson is just 3 spots behind Horton as Rivals’ #25 running back. He doesn’t have the frame like Horton, but he is not hesitant to bang with the big boys up the middle. His great vision and ability to cut on a dime has attracted the attention from the ‘smart schools’; Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and Boston College.
The overall #35 player in the nation, Williams is a superstar in the making. The #2 ILB in the country has offers from every big school out there: Alabama, USC, Florida State, LSU, plus many more. The Cats are a darkhorse in the running for landing the highly-touted recruit, but his attendance alone is a VERY BIG deal. Any rational thinking person would wonder how in the hell a guy like Williams would be visiting a team that went 2-10 last season. Stoops’ work is mind-blowing, period.
Vince Marrow is trying to reel in another Top Ohio recruit with the #13 safety in the nation. This may be a tall task while competing against 16 other top programs from around the nation. The attention is understandable; West’s athleticism allows him to make plays on the ball, no matter where they are thrown. West will not decide until after his Senior football season, but a Packed Commonwealth can do nothing but help land the elite prospect.
Tommy Mainord has been working hard to get the speedy Safety from Maryland to UK, speaking with him daily since the beginning of Spring Practice. The #36 safety in the country covers well with 4.6 40 yard-dash speed. His recruitment has picked up recently, gaining offers from Miami, Wisconsin, NC State, and Boston College.
Not too many 6’5 Wide Receivers possess 4.5 40 yard-dash speed like Ohio WR Derek Kief. Kief averaged 90 yards per game for La Salle High School as a Junior; the same school as 2013 CB commit Jaleel Hytchye. His impressive play and NFL-body make him one of the most attractive receivers in the class, getting him offers from all of the big boys; Ohio St, Notre Dame, and Alabama.
The coaches aren’t only looking for great skill players in the state of Ohio, with plenty of great big guys in the area. The Lakota East star is the 16th ranked OG in the nation. The 6’5 270 lb lineman has great feet for his size, getting him offers from Nebraska, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Vandy.
Vince Marrow is bringing in another big Ohio lineman Saturday, when Rivals250 OT Richardson comes to town. Kentucky is the only SEC school competing for his services, but the rest of the Big
12 10 is aggressively looking to land the 6’4 270 pounder. Richardson not only passes the look test, but he crushes people play-after-play, not stopping until the whistle is blown.
Vince Marrow is going to his favorite state to find one of his own position players. Darryl Long of Westchester, OH has the size (6’4, 235 lbs.) and strength (250 lb bench press) to fulfill all of Marrow’s needs at Tight End. The #22 ranked TE is also receiving a lot of attention from Loserville, Hoosierville, Mizzou, and Pittsburgh.
This 21st ranked OLB is another Ohio recruit coming from Cincinnati Colerain High. Scales has great athletic ability on the football field, but also on the wrestling mat, reaching the state semifinals in the 182 lb weight class. Scales’ recruitment started slow, but has recently received an offer from Louisville and is garnishing a lot of attention from Oregon, Ohio State, and Notre Dame.
If you follow Kentucky High School sports, I’m sure you’ve heard the name Fant come out of Bowling Green often. This Fant is one of the state’s highest prospects in the Class of 2014, earning First Team All-State honors as a Junior. Fant has yet to garnish too much national attention because of his size (only 5’11 175 pounds), but his 4.6 speed has caught the eye of UK’s coaching staff. He has yet to receive an offer from UK, but with the staff’s emphasis on ‘keeping the best players home”, don’t be surprised if Fant picks up an offer soon.
Hope will be a standout at TE for Highlands High next season. The 6’3 230 lb pounder is being recruited as a TE, despite earning himself First Team All-State honors on the DEFENSIVE side of the line last season after picking up 5 sacks in the state title game *jaw-dropped*. He picked up his first offer this week from Harvard, but his recruitment will only grow from area schools once his Senior season begins.