We are just 12 weeks away from Labor Day weekend and that means that college football is quickly approaching. Last week, the rest of Kentucky’s class of 2021 arrived on campus to begin summer workouts. Football is coming.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) June 9, 2021
The most recent recruiting haul wasn’t as highly touted as the ballyhooed 2020 class, but there were still many quality football players brought into the program by Mark Stoops and his coaching staff. Led by a handful of in-state prospects, some guys could contribute early.
Here are the five players that could see some major playing time this fall.
The top-150 recruit out of Lexington (Ky.) Frederick Douglass, the Wildcats pulled off a major recruiting win in their backyard. Vince Marrow beat out Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama, and a few others for the blue-chip prospect. The early enrollee went through spring practice and is currently working at guard.
Super senior Luke Fortner and redshirt junior Kenneth Horsey have starting guard spots locked down with redshirt senior Austin Dotson available off the bench. However, there could be an avenue after that for reps and that is where Burton will look to make an impact.
Another top-150 recruit, the former Boston College commit picked Kentucky over Auburn in the late signing period for a huge recruiting win for the program. Playing nearly every position for Jesup (Ga.) Wayne County, Wallace became one of the fastest rising recruits in the class of 2021.
We still are not sure what position the blue-chipper will play, but there is no doubt Wallace will get plenty of reps on the field this fall.
The wide receiver from Metro Birmingham finished his senior season at Pleasant Grove (Ala.) High with 50 catches for 917 yards and 12 touchdowns. After the season, the 6-foot-3 receiver would be bumped up to a four-star as Kentucky was able to hold on to his commitment and earn a signature in December.
Lewis just arrived on campus, but it is no secret that Kentucky needs an answer at X receiver. The coaching staff should give the rookie plenty of chances to impress over the summer. Lewis could become a starter by the end of the season if he is ready for the challenge.
Another early enrollee, Magwood was one of three signees in the class of 2021 from South Georgia. Recruited by Jon Sumrall, Magwood started every game for Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County during his high school career and then moved to quarterback as a senior. This is a versatile player that has a chance to impact the team as a slot receiver.
“He’s doing a really nice job of learning the book and getting in it,” said offensive coordinator Liam Coen. “He’s just a great kid. You can see some of the former quarterback traits come out in his game in terms of just understanding some zones and voids. A little bit out of control at times just because he’s not used to running a ton of routes, but he’s got big strong hands and he’s a natural leader.”
A mid three-star recruit out of Radcliff (Ky.) North Hardin, Wright committed to Kentucky last May picking the Wildcats over Maryland, Northwestern, and West Virginia. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound tailback finished his high school career with 4,396 rushing yards, 1,260 receiving yards, and 62 total touchdowns. The young tailback impressed his new offensive coordinator in the spring.
“La’Vell Wright is a kid, midyear enrollee freshman who’s supposed to be taking geometry class right now,” said Coen. “That kid has done an unbelievable job learning the offense, knowing what he’s supposed to do, alignment, assignment just as well as some of those older kids.”
After Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Kavosiey Smoke, Kentucky is looking for another reliable tailback. JuTahn McClain is certainly an option, but Wright appears to have a tailor-make skillset to exceed in Kentucky’s new wide zone concepts. Keep an eye out for the rookie tailback.