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Recruiting Outlook: Defense and Special Teams


Currently UK has 12 verbal commitments for the 2012 class. The magic number of signees for the 2012 class appears to be 17-19 range.  However, I expect the staff staff to sign 22-23 players in February.  If the staff over commits themselves, then a player or two will likely have to grayshirt unless there is more roster attrition. Below is a defensive snap shot of the recruiting class and my opinion of the staff’s goals based on feedback. As always, you can visit Bleed Blue Kentucky or follow me on Twitter for more UK football information. Just click on the links.

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), Leonard Washington (LA), Tyrone Pearson (IN), Jordan Hinojosa (FL)

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 last month. 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 plays at Seneca HS in Louisville and holds a copule of BCS offers already, but not one from the Cats. Another interesting recruit is Leonard Washington. He currently doesn’t hold any BCS offers, but I expect his recruitment to pick up this season. Tyrone Pearson’s recruitment has been on again and off again. He has committed to two different teams and stated he wants to play in the SEC. He is currently committed to UCF. Jordan Hinojosa plays at Miami Central and the Cats have been rumored to be involved.

Defensive End (2)

Commitments: None

Names to remember: Eric Lee (AL), JaMichael Winston (AL), Daniel Ross (KY), Adolphus Wasington (OH), Langston Newton (IN), Caleb Azubike (TN), 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 to UK. 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. Caleb Azubike recently committed to Vanderbilt, but he is cousin of Collins Ukwu and plans to take official visits this fall. While he will probably stick with his Vandy commitment, I don’t think he is 100% solid. 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. The Cats really like Adolphus Washington and he was planning to visit. Most feel he Washington won’t head south to play at the next level. However, the Cats remain in the mix. Marcus Gilchrist, Channing Ward and Tyler Knox are all recruits who have picked up more offers since UK initially offered. Again, the key for UK is getting players on campus. Until then, I consider them long shots.

Linebacker (2)

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. However, I consider him a long shot. 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 as UK is his only BCS 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.

Safety (3)

Commitments: Josh Harris (KY), Zack Blaylock (GA)

Names to remember: Cole Champion (FL), Kimlon Dillon (FL)

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.

Cornerback (3)

Commitments: Shawn Blaylock (GA), Jonathan Reed (IN)

Names to remember: Jadarius West (GA), Devontre Parnell (SC), 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. Both Jadarius West and Devontre Parnell appear to be the closest to making decisions. West is very high on UK and told me the Cats are his leader. Devontre Parnell was supposed to camp at UK, but didn’t make the trip due to an injury. Parnell could commit to UK, but could flip if South Carolina or Clemson were to extend an offer. Jonathan Jones has stated he plans to visit Lexington too. He is teammates with 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)

Commitments: None

Name to remember: Landon Foster (TN)

Discussion: Ryan Tydlacka graduates after this season which means the Cats only have one kicker on scholarship for the 2012 season. The Cats have offered Landon Foster from Tennessee. Foster is receiving a ton of interest and holds a couple of offers currently. UK certainly has a shot as Foster plans to major in Pre-Med.

Article written by Aaron Cordero

9 Comments for Recruiting Outlook: Defense and Special Teams

  1. tdogg4033011
    11:24 am July 6, 2011 Permalink


  2. Yesterdays
    11:45 am July 6, 2011 Permalink

    Are we recruiting anyone from Alaska? that place is full of talent.

  3. Emmert still sucks
    11:45 am July 6, 2011 Permalink

    Good insight Aaron….seems like we just need to get some of these guys on campus. Maybe to see us end the streaks!

  4. BigBlueNation
    11:48 am July 6, 2011 Permalink

    It’s great to have some football news. Super excited for this season! Go cats!

  5. BigNick
    11:56 am July 6, 2011 Permalink

    Good info Aaron, keep up the good work.

  6. MD
    12:33 pm July 6, 2011 Permalink

    Aaron–thanks for the update. I would like to have you give a brief summary subjective opinion on where we stand in each area. Who we are going after, who we have and where we stand wih with each prospect is interesting but a bottom line grade/summary on how we have done so far and how we are positioned to finish would be cool. thanks.

  7. test
    12:53 pm July 6, 2011 Permalink

  8. RidgeRunner
    12:57 pm July 6, 2011 Permalink

    Nice write up, Aaron.

  9. Hestkuk
    1:24 pm July 6, 2011 Permalink

    Is Tyrone Pearson a legit option? Or is he too big of a headcase to go after.