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UK Fans of the Day want to know which recruits attended UK-Miss. State

UK Fans of the Day want to know which recruits attended UK-Miss. State

Kentucky received two commitments in less than 12 hours after the victory over Mississippi State.  Junior college cornerback Brandin Echols and quarterback Amani Gilmore weren’t the only high profile players at Kroger Field Saturday night.

There were multiple members of Kentucky’s 2019 class in town for the game.  Two linebackers were on their official visits, KD McDaniel and Taures Payne.  McDaniel, a Georgia native, was the first 2019 commitment and is currently the second-highest ranked player in the 2019 class.  Payne is a junior college transfer that currently plays with Echols at Northwest Community College in Mississippi.

@4PFPayne

The highest-ranked member of UK’s class, Moses Douglass, brought a teammate to the game. Isaiah Gibson was in the Kroger Field stands just three days after committing to Kentucky.

There were also plenty of talented in-state recruits in Lexington.  J.J. Weaver is not just one of the best remaining 2019 recruits on the board, the four-star defensive end is one of the nation’s top pass rushers.  I’m sure Josh Allen’s performance was an eye-opener for the Louisville Moore star.  Weaver will return for an official visit later this fall.

Most of the recruits were underclassmen.  Junior quarterback and legacy recruit Beau Allen was in the building.  John Young, a four-star junior offensive tackle from Louisville Christian Academy, saw Kentucky beat up a physical Miss. State team in the trenches.  Another young talent from Louisville, Male wide receiver Izayah Cummings, tried on a Kentucky uniform during his visit.

@IzayahCummings

Another junior quarterback was blown away by Kentucky’s performance.  Michael Wright, a three-star pocket passer from Atlanta, left Lexington typing in all caps.


JUCO Cornerback Brandin Echols Commits to Kentucky

The weekend keeps getting better and better for the Kentucky football program.

Brandin Echols, the 44th-rated JUCO prospect in the country, just announced on his Twitter page that he has committed to Kentucky.

He decided to join Kentucky’s 2019 recruiting class following an official visit to Lexington this weekend.

This is Kentucky’s second commitment since their huge victory over Mississippi State last night, with three-star quarterback Amani Gilmore choosing the Cats almost immediately after the game went final.

Echols has a chance to make an immediate impact in 2019 as Derrick Baity, Chris Westry, and Lonnie Johnson are all seniors.

Watch him work below:

Welcome home!


@iam_maniiii

Three-Star Quarterback Celebrates Win by Committing to Kentucky

@iam_maniiii

After winning a game against the No. 14 team in the country, Mark Stoops’ staff is celebrating with a game of Yahtzee!

Shortly after he saw Kentucky defeat Mississippi State from the Kroger Field stands, Amani Gilmore committed to Kentucky.

A three-star prospect from Amite, Louisiana, the pro-style quarterback was recruited by Michael Smith.  Gilmore is the 17th member of UK’s 2019 recruiting class and the second quarterback.  Some of his best work:

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@IsaiahGibson75

Defensive Tackle Isaiah Gibson Commits to KENTUCKY

@IsaiahGibson75

Kentucky’s 2019 football recruiting class just got a lot better in the trenches.

Three-star defensive tackle Isaiah Gibson committed to Kentucky over Purdue and Wisconsin.  The 6’4″ 300 pound prospect from Springfield, Ohio is considered a top 30 player at his position according to 247 Sports.

Recruited by Vince Marrow, Gibson will join his fellow Springfield teammate, Moses Douglass, in Lexington.  Douglass is the highest-ranked recruit in the class.  They’re coached by Moe Douglass, a former Wildcat that spent more than a decade playing in the NFL, primarily with the Chicago Bears.

Gibson is the second defensive tackle in the Cats’ 2019 recruiting class, joining Toledo’s Cavon Butler.  Defensive tackle is the most difficult position to recruit, and UK got their top two guys to commit three months before signing day.  The addition of Gibson gives UK 16 total commitments in 2019 and improves the class to No. 40 overall.


"Grandpa" Eddie Gran has made Kentucky Football a Staple in South Florida

Mark Stoops’ unprecedented Kentucky football recruiting success started in Ohio with the help of Vince Marrow.  The Cats quickly achieved similar success in South Florida when Eddie Gran joined the coaching staff in 2016.

Over the last two years Kentucky’s offensive coordinator has signed 14 players from South Florida.  This year UK has already received four commitments from the area, including the Cats’ future quarterback, Nik Scalzo.  Gran’s incredible run at Kentucky did not happen overnight.


Almost two million people live in Broward County, Florida.  Miami-Dade’s northern border is the 17th-most populous county in America and arguably the most-talented area for high school football in country.

Broward County has been a second home for Gran since he began his coaching career in the early 90s.  In that time Gran has developed a reputation that is second to none among high school coaches.

“In South Florida, 100 percent his name carries weight around here. He’s been recruiting down here for 30 some-odd years,” said Matt DuBuc, the head coach of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Ft. Lauderdale.

“Across the board, I’ve been doing this 17 years and I haven’t seen anybody as good as Eddie. He knows the kids, he knows the coaches, he follows up. He just does a great job recruiting. Everybody’s got a niche and I think his niche is talent evaluation and getting the kids he targets.”

Gran’s name is well-known throughout the tight-knit, talented high school football community.  He developed that reputation by being a genuine recruiter.  It’s difficult to describe, but when Nik Scalzo first met UK’s offensive coordinator, something clicked.

“The first time I met him I knew that’s someone I wanted to play for,” Scalzo said.

Gran on a high school sideline, via 247.

Nik’s father Jerry has seen Gran operate from a father’s perspective and a coach’s perspective.  A former Clemson wide receiver and current assistant at Cardinal Gibbons, Gran has always treated Jerry Scalzo the same.  His steady presence and demeanor inspired a nickname, “Grandpa Eddie.”

You can just count on him and it’s not fake,” Jerry Scalzo said. “He’s not the guy that’s gonna come on campus just to schmooze the kids. He really invests in the kids.”

That investment does not end once a player commits.

“Heck, I walked into Nik’s room last night and they were on the phone together, just talking about what the week’s going to be like. That’s important to me. I wanted to make sure when he did go up there that he’s with people who are going to be like family. It’s an extension of me.”

Scalzo’s sentiment is shared by the parents of most players.  While their sons are being recruited, they must be able to trust the coach is going to do whatever it takes to make sure their son is surrounded by those who want him to succeed.

Joining the “family” has been a big part of UK’s recruiting pitch across the country.  Gran’s recruiting success has created a South Florida family within the team.  When the Scalzos visited campus last spring, they were surprised to see Nik’s old youth basketball coach, Steve Fitzgerald, the father of UK defensive lineman Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald.  Fitzgerald’s testimony sold the Scalzos on UK.

“He said they visited like 20 schools. Going there (UK) and seeing how it was like a family and our how our faith lined up and how it’s just an extension of their family — it just put confirmation in my heart that we knew that we knew.”

UK recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow doesn’t think Gran is the grandpa of the family, more like the wise father.

“I can see it, but Eddie ain’t that old,” he laughed.   “Kind of like how I am up north, I think Eddie has a good knack.  People respect him.  He’s been doing it for awhile and I think he comes off as a father-figure to a lot of them guys.  I think he’s trustworthy.  They look at that and a lot of guys want to send their players to him.”

If the parents ever want to send their son home, despite the distance, they’re never that far away.  Allegiant Airlines offers a $100 round trip flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Lexington that leaves Florida early Saturday morning and returns Sunday afternoon.


The reputation Gran has developed over the years in South Florida has given UK logo recognition.  Once restricted only for the Florida football powerhouses, now Kentucky is one of the big dogs.

“It’s really well-known down here, probably more than a lot of the other colleges that aren’t so close like Miami, FSU and Florida,” Nik Scalzo said.  “It’s definitely bigger down here than it probably is anywhere else, other than Lexington.”

After beating Florida at The Swamp, Kentucky’s logo has left an even more lasting impression in South Florida.

“It’s huge,” Gran said last week.  “This just puts a feather in the cap, and you’ve got a chance to go down there and do more.”


Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops Watched Top In-State Recruits Friday Night

Marrow with Frankfort’s Wandale Robinson (@Robinson_era)

The Kentucky football coaches were busy working Friday night.  Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops hit the road to see some of the state’s most-talented football players.

Marrow’s night began in Louisville with a match-up between a pair of UK recruits.  Wide receiver commit Demontae “TaeTae” Crumes scored a pair of touchdowns, including a 41-yarder, to lead Butler to a 62-13 over Doss and three-star athlete Shawnkel Knight-Goff.

On Marrow’s way back to Lexington, he stopped in Frankfort to hangout with Mark Stoops at the Western Hills-Frankfort game.  Wandale Robinson treated UK’s coaches to a spectacular performance.  The nation’s No. 4 all-purpose back rushed for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns, he caught a 21-yard touchdown pass and returned a punt 96 yards for a touchdown in a 41-23 win.