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Football Recruiting News


FB Recruiting Update: UK Hosts Elite Running Back


As spring football heats up, more and more recruits are visiting Kentucky’s campus.

Tuesday morning the Cats had company from Ohio.  Three-star Cincinnati running back Miyan Williams made the trip down I-75 to watch spring practice and see UK’s facilities.

A powerful 2020 running back that also holds an offer from Michigan, Williams attends Winton Woods High School, Mike Edwards and Chris Oats’ alma mater.  In one playoff game last fall, Williams rushed for 430 yards and six touchdowns to lead his team to a come-from-behind victory.

Williams was not the only recruit on campus this week.  Jonesborough, Tennessee athlete Prince Kollie was one of a few underclassmen that saw the facility.

About a dozen or so underclassmen have announced offers since UK hosted a slew of recruits for the first spring scrimmage last Saturday.  All of them received an added bonus on their visits last week with the departing senior class still in town for UK Pro Day.  At each spring practice you’ll find at least a handful of recruits on the sidelines.  The spring tour season also applies to UK targets visiting elsewhere.

Michael Drennen is Heating Up

One of UK’s other top running back targets is Michael Drennen.  While Williams brings the power, this Ohio running back excels in space.  The rising senior from Dublin Coffman can run out of the backfield or catch passes out of the slot.  This week the four-star recruit picked up offers from Ole Miss, Florida and Alabama, making life difficult for the Cats.

Florida Slides in on UK Commit

One of Kentucky’s early commits in the 2020 class is catching the eye of all the big dogs.  Between March 16-26, offensive tackle Gerald Mincey received offers from Florida’s big three: Florida State, Miami and Florida.  A teammate of Nik Scalzo at Cardinal Gibbons in Ft. Lauderdale, things change for Florida kids when the big dogs get involved.

And then, there’s this:

It’s never good to see the top-ranked player in the Commonwealth hanging out with Nick Saban.

Kind of a Big Deal

I wouldn’t leave you with bad news. One of the best players in America, Justin Rogers, is rocking UK swag to school.  That’s good for something, right?

Three-star athlete Jim Davis commits to Kentucky (or maybe not?)

Three-star athlete Jim Davis commits to Kentucky (or maybe not?)

How about a Yahtzee to get the morning rolling? 2020 three-star athlete Jim Davis just committed to Kentucky. The Belle Glade, Florida native also had an offer from Syracuse.

247 Sports ranks Davis the 172nd best wide receiver in the country. Nick Roush will be by with more on him in just a bit.

UPDATE (11:35 am)

Davis deleted his commitment Tweet and posted this a few minutes later:

Football recruiting is weird.

Former UK Recruit L’Christian "Blue" Smith is Back on the Market

One of UK’s top recruits in the 2018 recruiting class is looking for a new home.

L’Christian “Blue” Smith initially picked to attend Ohio State over Kentucky.  After one redshirt season in Columbus, the former four-star prospect is reportedly set to transfer at the end of the spring semester.

A 6’6″ outside receiver, Rivals ranked him as America’s No. 39 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class.  Hailing from Wayne High School in Dayton, Ohio, the Cats currently have another 6’6″ wide receiver from Wayne on the roster, Ahmad Wagner.  The two helped lead Wayne to the Ohio Division I state championship game in 2015, the state’s largest class for high school football.

Kentucky lost a few players off the roster and did not sign a complete recruiting class in February, leaving a few scholarships available for additions at the end of the spring semester.  Most believed UK would hit the grad transfer market to find a wide receiver or two. Now the Cats have another incredibly talented option, Blue Smith.

KSR’s Monday Night Football Notebook: One Week till Spring Football, Recruiting Recap, Combine Prep

Can you believe it?  We’re only one week from the start of Spring Practice in Lexington.  The break between the fall and spring seasons does not feel so long following a New Year’s Day bowl victory.

Next Monday morning Mark Stoops’ team will strap on their helmets to prepare for the 2019 season for the first time.  Unlike previous spring practices, there’s no quarterback competition, however, there aren’t a lot of returning stars either.

After seeing Josh Allen, Mike Edwards, Benny, Baity and C.J. Conrad featured in promo videos over the last three years, there will be an adjustment period this spring.  Kash Daniel, Lynn Bowden, A.J. Rose and Terry Wilson have captured the BBN’s attention, but who will be the next to emerge?  There are plenty of prospective candidates — Boogie Watson, Josh Paschal, Davonte Robinson, Josh Ali, Ahmad Wagner, Justin Rigg — that can use this spring to assert themselves at the top of the Kentucky football food chain.

Over the next two months you’ll typically receive practice updates Tuesday and Thursday afternoons around lunchtime.  All of the action will coalesce with the Blue/White Game, Friday, April 12, at Kroger Field.  Beginning tomorrow season ticket holders can secure a spot at the game.

Before the players on campus begin preparation for the 2019 football season, Stoops’ coaching staff has been hosting the nation’s most talented prep prospects for unofficial visits.  Last weekend they focused their attention on in-state prospects.  This weekend their attention turned to the Buckeye State.

Unprecedented Talent in Lexington

Three of the four best football players in the state of Ohio were in Lexington this weekend.  That’s great,  but it’s even more crazy when you consider where each player is ranked.

  • Paris Johnson Jr. — No. 1 OH, No. 5 overall, No. 1 OT
  • Darrion Henry — No. 2 OH, No. 42 overall, No. 4 SDE
  • Jaheim Thomas — No. 4 OH, No. 253 overall, No. 17 OLB

If you’re wondering where the third-ranked player in the class was, running back Michael Drennen visited campus last weekend.

Paris Johnson Jr.’s presence is quite shocking.  When has UK ever had a Top 5 recruit on campus?  I cannot personally recall, however, the 2020 class is making it a new norm.  Justin Rogers, the nation’s top-ranked offensive guard and the No. 17 player overall, has been to UK more than once.  Even though landing each player may appear to be a long shot on paper, the trips aren’t just for kicks and giggles.

Johnson is committed to Ohio State, but he committed when Urban Meyer was the head coach.  Vince Marrow has made UK a viable option, and at this point in the recruiting season, that’s all you can ask for.

They were not the only recruits in town.  Cincinnati Colerain safety Deshawn Pace picked up a scholarship offer, his first from the SEC, after the visit.  Sean Hill, a 2020 offensive tackle, made the trip from Georgia after visiting the University of Louisville.  UK also hosted Miquan Grace, a three-star safety from Mike Edwards’ alma mater, Winton Woods.

KSBar is kind of a Big Deal

When the KSR braintrust decided to open a bar, the intention was to create a place for UK fans to gather in Lexington and celebrate the Cats.  We never meant for it to become the place to take visiting recruits, but that’s what has happened.

When Stoops and Marrow host elite recruits on visits, they want each player to experience something that cannot be found anywhere else.  The standing ovation they receive from UK fans on a game day at KSBar is not easily replicated.  Some may come to campus believing UK is “just a basketball school.”  The applause quickly debunks that myth.  So far, it’s left a lasting first impression.  I doubt our sports bar will convince anybody to commit to UK, but like the Big Dog, I’ll never second guess the power of smoked brisket.

How Good was Mike Edwards in 2018?

Not many would say Edwards was the best safety in the SEC, but the numbers do not lie.  There was not another safety in the conference better at stopping the run than Kentucky’s Badger.


Willie McGinest: Josh Allen Fan

The former Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots is now employed by the NFL Network.  Ahead of the draft and free agency season, the former Pro Bowl linebacker listed his top ten pass rushers on the market.  UK’s Josh Allen was the first draft prospect to appear on the list, making his mark at No. 9.

“At 6-5 and 260 pounds, Allen is reminiscent of players like Whitney Mercilus, T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree, who all entered the NFL as big, versatile prospects. The Kentucky product, who is projected to be a top-three draft pick, sits this low on my list because he has yet to play a down in the league. It’s hard to slot prospects (even the most talented guys) above the players who have already proven themselves. But Allen is a guy who should come in and be a game-changer with multiple moves in his pass rush. He gets around the edge and tracks the quarterback well, but the one thing that really makes him special is how well he can cover and move in space.”


Weekly Alliance Update

I’m not sure if you care about this update, because according to their own production team, nobody cares. Nobody is watching.

After three weeks of spring football, that clip perfectly sums up the fledgling league.  The only noteworthy event from the weekend was the announcement of the inaugural Steve Spurrier Cruise happening this summer, but even the Old Ball Coach isn’t as entertaining as this dog.

I take it back — there was one cool Kentucky thing in the Alliance this week.  Former Franklin County quarterback Logan Woodside threw a 42-yard touchdown to former Louisville Moore wide receiver Mekale McKay.

Josh Allen is Jacked

It’s safe to say the elite edge rusher is ready for the Combine.

I will be in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend.  Interviews begin Thursday afternoon, but C.J. Conrad is kind enough to join me on the radio tomorrow morning at 9:00 am on Kentucky Roll Call.  There are a few different ways you can listen to it live on Big X Sports Radio.  Workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium begin for the Wildcats Friday morning, with Benny Snell up first.

My first trip to the NFL Combine, it will be an exciting people-watching venture.  However, there is one enormous downside: Josh Allen and Jordan Jones’ interview window is right in the middle of the UK-Tennessee game.  The one downside will ultimately be worth it.  Eight Wildcats will prove they belong in the NFL and I’ll be there to witness it all firsthand for Kentucky Sports Radio.

247 Sports

Kentucky is Hosting a Top Five Football Recruit this Weekend

247 Sports

Last weekend UK rolled out the Blue Carpet for the top in-state football recruits.  This weekend UK will host the best of the best from the Buckeye State.

Earlier today on KSR, Matt Jones teased there would be a “huge” recruit in town this weekend.  To describe that recruit as “huge” might be an understatement.

Paris Johnson Jr. is the No. 5 high school football player in America.  The 6’7″ 300-pound offensive tackle from Cincinnati St. X  is the top-ranked offensive lineman in the country.  Johnson committed to Ohio State last June, but he’s spending this weekend in Lexington.

The other player in Johnson’s Tweet, Jaheim Thomas, is another Blue Chip recruit from Cincinnati.  Rivals ranks the Princeton High School athlete is the No. 10 outside linebacker in the 2020 class.

Thomas brought an elite teammate with him to Lexington.  Four-star defensive end Darrion Henry is ranked No. 42 overall by the 247 Composite Rankings.

Most recruiting analysts believe all three will eventually end up at Ohio State.  This weekend Vince Marrow is putting his foot in the door to prevent the Buckeyes’ new head coach, Ryan Day, from landing all three.

This trio is just a small sample of this weekend’s visitors.  Monday night I’ll provide more details on  how they visits went and who else made it campus.  Until then, enjoy highlights from the best the state of Ohio has to offer in the 2020 class.