While many obsessed over the lack of recruiting stars and the one that got away, a collective grumble could be heard on National Signing Day as misguided expectations weren’t met. There were a few that evaluated this class as Stoops’ best to date. I happened to be in that camp. 2015 will see a large percentage of first year players that will see game action. There are also at least three rookies that are projected to start. Does this validate 2015 as Stoops’ best class? That question will only be answered during game action. However, many campus newcomers have undeniably made quite the first impression. Here are the first year Cats that will play:
–George Asafo–Adjei-6’5 325 pound right tackle has impressed both coaches and players alike. I feel he’s the best signee throughout the entirety of the Stoop’s regime.
–CJ Conrad-UK may have finally found the tight end it’s been searching for since Jacob Tamme. All the tools are there for Conrad to exceed expectation.
–Chris Westry-6’4 cornerback with excellent hip flexibility, ball skills, and speed. Rare combination. Special player.
Will play in 2015
–Derrick Baity-Tampa Plant High School product is yet another tall cornerback with shut-down cover skills.
–Eli Brown-Originally intended to redshirt, that plan is now scrapped. Brown will play. Athletic and instinctive football player.
–Kengera Daniel-Physical appearance of a fifth year senior. Making adjustment to outside linebacker from defensive end. Incredibly intelligent football player.
–Jordon Jones-Unfortunately, the linebacker got sick and will miss two weeks of fall camp. Some say he was pushing himself toward the starting lineup. Depending upon weight loss and durability issues due to illness, Jones could still factor.
–Sihiem King-Speed, speed, and more speed. Can see King as a punt returner and situational running back on passing situations.
–Tavin Richardson-Physically developed to effectively catch passes over the middle of the football field.
Could play if necessary
–Josh Allen-The New Jersey sack leader is bigger and better than I evaluated on film. Optimal size and athletic ability to become a special edge rusher.
–Jabari Greenwood-Could play today if necessary. And, he may just do that. Depending upon how many WR’s that Tommy Mainord prepares for game situations, Greenwood is physically ready.
Kei Beckham/Will Jackson-Athletic and size upgrades from predecessors. Both could play if forced into action due to injury. Tremendous upside.
–Marcus Walker-Would have by far been best safety on Stoops’ first team in 2013. Physically developed athlete that would offer very little drop-off from AJ Stamps.
2015 Junior college signees
–Alvonte Bell-Pass rushing outside linebacker slash defensive end. Adds depth to both positions.
–Courtney Miggins-Bigger version of CJ Johnson. Excels in pass rush but also has athletic ability to chase down running backs from the back side.
–Courtney Love-IF and only IF Love is ruled eligible, he would effectively change the defensive complexion. At a minimum, he would provide experienced depth for Josh Forrest and Ryan Flannigan. How important is his eligibility? I’ve stated that if UK QB’s complete close to 70% of their passes and Courtney Love is eligible, I’d be confident in predicting a 7 win season.
There you have it. May be more youngsters playing by season’s end. I described the 15 class as a group that filled need and were better football players than combine warriors. Stars may have not been there, but by watching film, I expected this class to excel early. So far so good.