Once Steve Clinkscale left for Michigan, the biggest worry that arose would be how Kentucky football would replace the assistant coach’s recruiting production.
Clinkscale built a pipeline in Detroit and landed some prominent recruits for the program — DeAndre Square, Marquan McCall, and Justin Rogers. Most recently, the cornerbacks coach had built up relationships in Metro Nashville culminating in the four-star recruiting wins of twins Destin and Keaten Wade.
With Vince Marrow leading the efforts from his recruiting coordinator position, the states of Kentucky and Ohio will be the backbone of the recruiting operation in Lexington. In the class of 2022, 6 of the 10 commitments hail from Kentucky’s extended backyard. In the three classes before that, the Wildcats signed 27 combined players from those regions.
However, other areas must be used to pull talent from. Kentucky must find places where the staff can succeed in getting talent.
“Clink did a great job in Michigan and had some ties, but we have some other areas that we think we can focus in on,” Stoops told the media last week. “That doesn’t mean we’ll give up on it [Michigan], but we can kind of take our focus maybe from there and spend some more time somewhere else.”
The Peach State may just be the spot.
As Jamin Davis went from mid three-star recruit to a first-round draft pick, the development story of the South Georgia native is going to do wonders for the Kentucky football program. The Wildcats now have a major selling point to use in an area where the coaching staff has had a lot of recent success in.
Jon Sumrall has proven to have some impressive recruiting chops in the deep south. The former Tulane, Troy, and Ole Miss assistant signed four-star players from Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi since arriving in Lexington. He’s in charge of Kentucky’s recruiting operation in South Georgia. The results have been promising.
Kentucky landed D’Eryk Jackson out of Dublin (Ga.) West Laurens and the low three-star recruit was set to be the team’s starter at Mike before suffering an Achilles injury in spring practice. In 2021, Kentucky signed three players from the region. Trevin Wallace was one of the biggest recruiting wins in program history, slot receiver Chauncey Magwood was a spring practice surprise who should play as a true freshman, and expectations are high for linebacker Martez Thrower.
This area has been good to Kentucky football, and expect the Wildcats to continue to target South Georgia high school players. Albany (Ga.) Dougherty defensive lineman Stantavious Smith visited Lexington in June proving that Kentucky is thoroughly mining the area for talent.
Located less than six hours from Lexington, the Metro Atlanta area is a fertile recruiting region that Kentucky can dig into. The 2022 class has 10 of the top-200 prospects with many quality football players to be found after that. Kentucky has occasionally dipped into this area throughout the Stoops era.
Boom Williams and Yusuf Corker were each four-star recruiting wins. Low three-stars Chris Rodriguez Jr. and T.J. Carter developed into quality SEC starters. With defensive line coach Anwar Stewart building relationships, this could become a more influential area for Kentucky.
Stewart pulled off a signing day surprise when the assistant coach landed a signature from Cartersville (Ga.) High’s Devonte Ross in the class of 2021. The wide receiver had some very impressive tape. In the 2022 class, Stewart earned a pledge from Auburn decommit Andre Stewart out of Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb. This is an area that Kentucky could start to dig into.
New secondary coach Chris Collins comes to Kentucky from Georgia State which is located smack dab in the middle of Downtown Atlanta. Due to the size of this city, he would be a likely candidate to split the recruiting efforts with Stewart to mine the area for talent and build relationships with prominent high school programs. Kentucky is already making waves.
Class of 2023 defensive lineman Seven Cloud plays for Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern and committed to Georgia back in January. However, Kentucky had him on campus for a camp and gave the potential nose tackle a ton of attention. Immediately afterward, the staff issued an offer.
After a great camp, I’m blessed to receive an offer from University Of Kentucky ?? @Bigstew9 @clangfels @EdwardsCBS @KentuckyRivals @TheCatsPause247 @UofPassRush @qb1coachmar #BBN #BIGBLUE #THELABEL pic.twitter.com/LhwxSpnKxC
— Seven Cloud (@_Sevencloud) June 13, 2021
The Wildcats could be getting out of Michigan, but that could mean a bigger focus on the state of Georgia. If able to build successful relationships, there are plenty of talented players the program can pluck from the region.