Currently UK has nine verbal commitments for the 2012 class. It appears the staff will sign 20-22 players in the next recruiting class. Below is a snap shot by position of the players committed and their projected position at UK. We will also take our best guess of the remaining needs and players most likely to become Cats. As always, check out Bleed Blue Kentucky or follow me on Twitter for more football updates.
Commitments: Patrick Towles (KY)
Names to remember: Adam Wing (KY), Faton Bauta (FL), LaMontiez Ivy (IL)
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. Adam Wing committed to Marshall for football and then committed to Oklahoma State to play basketball. I wouldn’t rule out Wing staying in-state if the stars align. Faton Bauta is being recruited by a ton of BCS schools and recently stated UK was among his favorites. The Cats showed an early interest in LaMontiez Ivy, but have appeared to back off since the commitment of Towles.
Running Back (2)
Names to remember: Anthony Wales (KY), Mike Hilton (GA), Shadrach Thornton (GA), Marcus Allen (FL), D’yshawn Mobley (TN), Miles Jones (GA)
Discussion: The staff has stated they plan to sign two running backs in the next recruiting class. Each of the names above holds offers from UK except for D’shawn Mobley. Mike Hilton is the closest to making a decision and could pick the Cats. If so, Wales may have lost his offer. Based on feedback, the Cats would like to sign a smaller back and a bigger back. Some feel Thornton will not leave the state of Georgia. Allen holds a ton of offers and like Thornton, could play on either side of the ball. If Hilton gives UK his pledge, then look for the Cats key in on a “bigger body” back.
Wide Receivers (3)
Commitments: DeMarcus Sweat (GA)
Names to remember: JD Harmon (KY), MeKale McKay (KY), Monty Madaris (OH), Dwayne Stanford (OH), Corey Batey (TN), Chris Brown (TN), Drae Bowles (TN), Quintez Sutton, Blake Tibbs (GA)
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. UK has offered a ton of receivers and already have one verbal pledge. It appears Drae Bowles and Cory Batey are leaning towards Vanderbilt. Monty Madaris camped at UK this summer. Dwayne Stanford was supposed to visit Lexington at some point this summer. I think UK would like to land either Madaris or Stanford simply to build the pipeline to Cincinnati. However, it looks like the Cats will sign JD Harmon and MeKale McKay. McKay is supposed to visit Lexington soon and meet with both Joker Phillips and John Calipari. McKay holds several basketball offers too. Will Calipari take one for the team? Quintez Sutton could receive an offer, but it will likely come late in the process. Chris Brown is one of the best athletes in the entire class. He is a big time track star and holds offers from several BCS schools. Until Brown visits, he’s a long shot. UK has shown interest in Blake Tibbs who was teammates with Demarco Robinson.
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. One thing is certain, Joker Phillips likes the tight end body type. These guys can typically play multiple positions if necessary. 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 (3)
Names to remember: Joe Manley (KY), Jon Toth (IN), Darone Bailey (MS), Will Adams (GA), Donald Hawkins (MS), Jordan Watson (GA), Duaron Williams (FL), Blake Fromang (FL), Oliver Jones (SC), Hunter Holloway (KY), Joey Warburg (KY)
Discussion: Oh my, where to begin. First, there are a lot of great prospects mentioned above who hold multiple BCS offers. The real questions are how many offensive linemen will UK sign and will they sign any Juco players? I believe the Cats will sign three or four linemen and could sign as many as two Juco players. The offensive line is the biggest recruiting need for the program currently. The recruits mostly likely to make a decision in the next month are Joe Manley, Jordan Watson and Darone Bailey. Manley has been a UK lean by most accounts, but Louisville has done a great job recruiting him. Darone Bailey recently visited and is high on the Cats, but he is also hearing quite a bit from Mississippi State. Jordan Watson visited Lexington in the past week and is a former teammate of Josh Clemons. The staff extended an offer to Jon Toth following his camp performance. Will Adams and Mike Hilton (RB) are teammates and mentioned they want to play together in college. Blake Fromang visited Lexington last week and Joey Warburg camped a UK recently and picked up his second BCS offer from the Cards. Hunter Holloway caught the staff by surprise when he showed up at camp and impressed. The staff wants to evaluate him more. Most years, Holloway and Warburg would already hold offers. Both Oliver Jones and Duaron Williams continue to receive a lot of interest and would be great additions too. I’m just blow away by the number of high level recruits UK is in the mix to sign.