Football Recruiting News
By TJ Walker on ©September 25th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
Well, we have some good news and bad news.
I’m a bad news first kinda feller, so here it goes: if Wandale Robinson wants to visit Lexington again it will have to be on his family’s dime. He announced on Tuesday that he will take his last official visit to Ohio State next weekend.
— Wandale Robinson (@robinson__era) September 25, 2018
But the good news: Robinson lives 25 miles from UK’s campus and it makes most financial sense for him to take official visits elsewhere. It still a kinda stinks, but it’s not the end of the world or this recruitment.
Earlier this summer Robinson officially visited Purdue and Michigan. This month he took official visits to Nebraska and just last weekend checked out Alabama (his second visit to Tuscaloosa). Now he will officially visit the school that leads his Crystal Ball- Ohio State.
Robinson has been to Lexington a handful of times and on UK’s campus several times in the last year, but it would have been nice if Robinson and his family allowed UK to pay for an entire weekend in Lexington. That won’t happen.
Let’s hope he can get to a Kentucky game very soon so he can check out the undefeated Cats in a rocking Kroger Field. He’s expecting to make a decision in late October
Robinson has been putting up insane numbers for Western Hills. He has 1,522 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns in five games this season. Bonkers.
Let’s hope the best player in the state stays home.
By Nick Roush on ©September 24th, 2018 @ 5:30pm
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.
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.
— Isaiah Gibson (@IsaiahGibson75) September 22, 2018
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.
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.
— ?Mike Wright? (@mikewright2020) September 23, 2018
By Eli Mitchell on ©September 23rd, 2018 @ 3:00pm
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.
Through a tough process between teams my family and I have decided It would be best for me to continue my career with Kentucky. I very much thank all schools that has given me a chance and wish the best of luck for You all. #bbn #WeAreUK #GetUp ?????? pic.twitter.com/iKli952zJr
— Brandin Echols (@matayo_echols) September 23, 2018
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.
— Amani Gilmore (@iam_maniiii) September 23, 2018
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:
By Nick Roush on ©September 23rd, 2018 @ 12:01am
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.
— Amani Gilmore (@iam_maniiii) September 23, 2018
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:
By Nick Roush on ©September 22nd, 2018 @ 12:45pm
Kentucky’s next quarterback can do so much more than throw a football.
Last night Nik Scalzo threw three touchdown passes in 45-8 victory over Stoneman Douglas High School, but he made his most impressive play with his legs. Scalzo scrambled before going up and over the defender into the end zone.
— Nik Scalzo (@NikScalzo) September 22, 2018
A three-star recruit in the 2019 class, Scalzo was in Gainesville to watch the Cats snap The Streak against Florida. Through five games he’s completed 62 percent of his passes for 916 yards, six touchdowns and only one interception.
By Nick Roush on ©September 20th, 2018 @ 12:00pm
The most explosive football playmaker in the state of Kentucky is nearing a decision. Before Wandale Robinson commits, he’s completing his official visits.
This weekend Robinson will be in Tuscaloosa to see the SEC on CBS matchup between the Crimson Tide Texas A&M. He’s already taken official visits to Purdue, Michigan and Nebraska. Robinson told the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts that as of today Nebraska is the leader in his recruitment, although it’s still completely up in the air. He has one more official visit and will take it to either Ohio State or Kentucky, a place he’s visited quite often.
Robinson was in Lexington last weekend to watch the Cats take on Murray State. Since Vince Marrow took over his recruitment in the spring, he’s developed a close bond with the Big Dog.
“He’s really kind of become like a father to me,” Robinson said he talks to Marrow daily. “He’s really just been that guy that, during the recruiting process, he hasn’t really been harping on me or anything. I mean, obviously, he really wants me to come there. But he hasn’t been like really hard on me.”
Marrow was on the sideline next to Mark Stoops Friday night when Robinson recorded 365 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns for Western Hills. A do-it-all athlete that plays running back and receiver, he’d like to play both at the next level. It’s part of Kentucky’s recruiting pitch to the in-state star. UK’s coaches are telling Robinson he will be the marquee signee of the class if he decides to stay home.
“Obviously me being from Kentucky, I would be a homegrown guy, and obviously after football, I’ll have a life that most people don’t with everybody knowing who you are and stuff like that,” he told Roberts.
“Knowing that everybody will know who I am and know that I played at Kentucky and I’ll be able to go just about anywhere and somebody will know who I am, that obviously is something that’s really, really good to me.”
Robinson does not know exactly when he will commit, but he plans on making a decision in October.
By Nick Roush on ©September 19th, 2018 @ 10:45pm
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.
— Reggie Wilson (@ReggieFOX45Now) September 19, 2018
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.
By Nick Roush on ©September 19th, 2018 @ 6:00pm
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.
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.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 19th, 2018 @ 10:00am
One of Kentucky’s top targets in the 2019 recruiting class will announce his college decision tonight. Three-star defensive tackle Isaiah Gibson will reveal his school of choice at 7:30 p.m. The Springfield, Ohio native is down to Kentucky, Purdue, and Wisconsin.
Wednesday 7:30PM I Will Be Making My Decision ??. #JOEDAY3??
— Isaiah Gibson (@IsaiahGibson75) September 18, 2018
One of the nation’s top fifty interior defensive linemen, Gibson is coached by former Wildcat Moe Douglass and plays alongside four-star UK commit Moses Douglass at Springfield High School in Ohio. Kentucky has one defensive line commit in the 2019 class so far in Cavon Butler, so if they can lock down Gibson, they’ll be in pretty good shape moving forward.
If you believe in the 247 Sports Crystal Ball, the Cats are in pretty good shape with 54 percent of the predictions. Wisconsin, thought to be Kentucky’s main competition, is second with 31 percent of the picks.
Come on down and be a Wildcat, Isaiah.
By Nick Roush on ©September 15th, 2018 @ 9:00am
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.
— Dan Rieffer (@drieffer) September 15, 2018