Currently UK has 23 known verbal commitments. While there are a few recruits who have work to do before gaining eligibility, most appear to be solid at this point in time. Obviously a horrible season and rumors of a coaching change could impact each recruits decision.
Most people will tell you that one player doesn’t make or break a class. I’m starting to disagree with that theory. Why? If Randall Cobb doesn’t sign in the 2008 class, then how would UK’s offense have looked the past three seasons? If Danny Trevathan doesn’t sign, how does the defense look? Get my point?
While I really like how the 2012 class is shaping up, below are a few recruits that I feel are key for the future of UK football. These are the current commitments the staff must sign in February.
#1 Patrick Towles (QB)
Many people consider Patrick Towles to be the top in-state player in the 2012 class. He is an easy candidate for Mr. Football. Towles participated in the Elite 11 QB competition this summer and considered one of the top 25 QB’s in the country. While Towles is committed, other schools are still calling. There are a lot of people in-state who tell me there hasn’t been this much excitement about a recruit since Tim Couch.
#2 Thomas Chapman (DT)
One of UK’s highest rated recruits by most recruiting services comes from Louisville. Chapman is already a stud and has embraced the Big Blue Nation. If the Cats are going to compete in the SEC, they must sign Chapman in February. He is the type of player who can anchor the defensive line in the future. He is already close to 300 lbs. Anyone who thinks Charlie Strong isn’t working on Chapman is mistaken. Had he not suffered an injury last season, he would have even more schools calling.
#3 Shadrach Thornton (RB)
The running back holds several offers from various BCS schools. Thornton is the type of running back the Cats need. He is big, physical and will have the frame to hold up in the SEC. While he is currently committed, the Cats still have work to do as he will take other visits. Physically, he can compete at UK as a true freshman.
#4 Zack Blaylock (S)
Not often do programs get a two for one deal. That’s exactly what UK got when the Blaylock twins committed. Both are very good players and held multiple BCS offers. Zack jumped out early in the recruiting process and picked up a few more offers than Daron, but now schools are calling again about both players. I’m told South Carolina and Auburn want the twins to visit, but they remain solid to UK and will not take anymore visits. Both kids have a great work ethic and do nothing but push each other everyday to become better.
#5 Jordan Watson (OL)
The offensive line is a huge priority for the Cats in the 2012 class. Many times these recruits are often overlooked, but Watson is impressive. He was a teammate of Josh Clemons in Georgia and decided to join him in Lexington. Watson could develop as a tackle at the next level, but I really see him playing inside. Again, the Cats beat out several BCS programs for Watson’s commitment. In my opinion, he will be a key part of UK’s offensive line in the future.
#6 DeMarcus Sweat (WR)
Well, I tried to limit my list to five players, but couldn’t. Why? DeMarcus Sweat is too good not to be mentioned. He attended UK’s camp this summer and simply blew the staff away with his size and speed. Sweat doesn’t get the attention he deserves because he plays on a loaded high school team that runs the ball. He has returned several kick-off’s for touchdowns this season and has shown he has “big-play” written all over him. Honestly, Sweat is probably good enough to play for UK today.
One thing we have seen this season is UK lacks playmakers. UK has several guys who have potential, but they are young. If Joker Phillips is seriously going to compete in the SEC, he must continue to sign big time playmakers. He can start by making sure the guys above remain committed and sign with UK in February.