Yesterday put us within one month from 2016’s National Signing Day. With 22 commits, Mark Stoops currently has 29th-ranked recruiting class according to the 247 Composite Rankings, but there’s still a lot that’s going to happen before the class becomes complete on the first Wednesday of February.
Here is what you need to know as we head down the homestretch:
1. There are 4-5 spots that still need to be filled.
2. Pass rushers and a quarterback are top priorities. A new quarterback is probably the only position that is guaranteed to be filled. After only 5.5 sacks from the DLine last year, that problem must be addressed. At this point they’re taking the best available players, and by the looks of it many could be coming from Junior College.
3. Two JuCo’s are “UK’s Most Wanted.” QB Stephen Johnson has been on our radar since receiving an offer last week. Not only does the #5 dual-threat quarterback in the country have a quick release and insane athletic ability, he’s originally from Rancho Cucamonga, California, home of the Workaholics. On that random note, his high school is Los Osos, which is directly translated to “The Bears” in Spanish. Their mascot is a Grizzly, but I really wish they would’ve taken redundancy to the next level by simply being the “Los Osos Bears.”
Kentucky has a chance to land the #1 JuCo player in the nation. Jonathan Kongbo (pronounced ka-BONG-o, I think) decommitted from Tennessee on Tuesday, three days after receiving an offer from UK. It won’t be easy to beat out the likes of Oregon and Alabama, but there’s an outside shot. He has two official visits left, one to Washington and one to whoever can do the best job convincing him to come to campus.
4. Important Dates. The most important date is January 15. Stephen Johnson is visiting campus. It’s also the last day for mid-year Junior College athletes to sign and enroll. It’s possible that Gran and Hinshaw could have their guy commit and enroll on the same day.
Most of the activity will likely take place on January 22. A few defensive linemen will be taking their official visits during the Vanderbilt basketball game at Rupp Arena. DT J.J. Holmes is expected to be there, a JuCo name that you may not have heard before. TaDarryl Marshall, another recent Tennessee decommit, is an Alabama athlete visiting on the 22nd. He has an Alabama offer, but Virginia Tech and Tennessee seem to be the Cats’ toughest competition.
5. Could Gunner Kiel become a Cat? Quarterback is the position in most need of immediate depth, and Gran’s UC quarterback could be eligible to play immediately. It’s unlikely to happen for a variety of reasons, but it’s a possibility worth keeping an eye on.