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How Kentucky’s 2020 Football Recruiting Class Finished in the Final Rankings

Kentucky’s 2020 football recruiting class is complete. It will go down as one of the best, if not THE best in school history.

Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow provided an exclamation point on National Signing Day by adding four-star athlete Michael Drennen. Along with five-star defensive tackle Justin Rogers, the two UK signees were first recruited by the Cats as eighth graders. The coaching staff’s early efforts paid dividends in 2020, signing 14 prospects ranked as four-stars by at least one recruiting service.

Kentucky’s Four-Star Signees

1. R.J. Adams (ESPN)
2. Beau Allen (ESPN, Rivals)
3. Sam Anaele (ESPN, Rivals)
4. Deondre Buford (247)
5. Mike Drennen (247, Rivals, ESPN)
6. Jeremy Flax (Rivals, 247)
7. Josaih Hayes (ESPN, Rivals)
8. JuTahn McClain (247, ESPN)
9. Octavious Oxendine (Rivals)
10. Justin Rogers (247, Rivals, ESPN)
11. Tre’vonn Rybka (Rivals)
12. Vito Tisdale (ESPN)
13. Joel Williams (ESPN)
14. John Young (Rivals)

National Class Rankings (SEC Finish)

  • Rivals: 21 (8)
  • 247 Composite: 23 (9)
  • 247: 27 (10)
  • ESPN: 22 (9)

ESPN’s recruiting analysts gave Kentucky a B+ grade for their top 25 finish.

The Wildcats inked a top-40 class for a fifth consecutive cycle, headlined by the wins on the defensive line in ESPN 300s Justin Rogers and Samuel Anaele. Three-star DT Tre’vonn Rybka was another key defensive line win. ESPN 300 ATH Joel Williams out of Louisiana will be an impact playmaker. On offense, ESPN 300 running back Michael Drennen II and four-star running back JuTahn McClain will bring quickness and playmaking. They will line up next to four-star QB Beau Allen in the future. A third RB in the class is Torrance Davis out of Ohio. ESPN JC50 OT Jeremy Flax could push for playing time early, as could four-star OG Reuben Adams. Three-star OT John Young was a big in-state victory over ACC and SEC competition, as was three-star OT Deondre Buford. Three-star WRs Kalil Branham and Earnest Sanders will head to SEC Country from Ohio and Michigan, respectively.

Kentucky’s class was in similar territory in USA Today’s rankings, coming in at ninth in the SEC.

If the best way to build a team is from the inside out, consider Kentucky on the right track. The Wildcats signed six players who rank as four-star prospects in the 247Sports composite rankings, and five of them are offensive or defensive linemen. This includes defensive tackles Justin Rogers (No. 1 player in Michigan, a five-star on and Josaih Hayes (No. 4 player in Mississippi), both of whom are ranked among the top 250 players nationally according to 247Sports.

Beyond the trenches, Kentucky signed a couple of impressive skill guys: athlete Joel Williams, a four-star prospect, according to ESPN and 247Sports who will play defensive back in Lexington; and three-star all-purpose back Jutahn McClain, after running for 3,701 yards and 46 touchdowns across his last two high school seasons in Fairfield, Ohio.

Kentucky Football Class of 2020

Justin RogersDTOak Park, MI6-43155-star, #16 Overall
Samuel AnaeleDE/OLBMiami, FL6-42504-star, #208 Overall
Michael Drennen IIAPBDublin, OH5-111904-star, #210 Overall
Beau AllenQBLexington, KY6-22004-star, #13 QB
R.J. AdamsOGWoodbridge, VA6-33204-star, #16 OG
John YoungOTLouisville, KY6-62954-star, #36 OT
Tre'vonn RybkaDLDickson, TN6-4`2814-star, #26 DT
Octavious Oxendine DTRadcliff, KY6-33004-star, #30 DT
Josaih HayesDTHorn Lake, MS6-32854-star, #151 Overall
Joey GatewoodQB (Auburn)Jacksonville, FL6-52304-star, #49 Overall
Jeremy FlaxOT (JUCO)Dearborn, MI6-63154-star, No. 12 JUCO
Joel WilliamsDBBaton Rouge, LA6-11903-star, #34 S
Andru PhillipsCBMauldin, SC6-01803-star, #7 CB
JuTahn McClainAPBFairfield, OH5-91763-star, #14 APB
Vito TisdaleDBBowling Green, KY6-21903-star, #10 KY
Kalil BranhamWRColumbus, OH6-12053-star, #93 WR
Deondre BufordOTDetroit, MI6-52703-star, #48 OT
Izayah CummingsWRLouisville, KY6-32103-star, #9 KY
Earnest SandersWRFlint, MI 6-21903-star, #26 MI
D'Eryk Jackson LBDexter, GA6-22353-star, #106 GA
Joshua JonesOTPhenix City, AL6-63003-star, #32 AL
Carrington ValentineCBCincinnati, OH6-02183-star, #23 OH
Rickey Hyatt Jr.SWesterville, OH6-11953-star, #22 OH

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

9 Comments for How Kentucky’s 2020 Football Recruiting Class Finished in the Final Rankings

  1. JASUN74
    4:12 pm February 6, 2020 Permalink

    Really proud of the Staff for their efforts with this year’s class. Some special kids and also some kids that will do everything we need them to to succeed. I feel like I already know most of them with following this for soo long and we hit it out of the park. Now it’s time to get to work and keep Kentucky going to new levels. Great job Coaching Staff!! Go Cats

    • Rob
      4:21 pm February 6, 2020 Permalink

      Agreed! Which brings me to this. Would I be crazy to think this team could contend for the SEC East title either this year or next? How would things change is Gatewood was granted his waiver to play this up coming year? Just curious.

    • ukkatzfan
      4:37 pm February 6, 2020 Permalink

      I got us in Atl this year and next year at latest.

    • Jester
      7:38 pm February 6, 2020 Permalink

      It would be great if we got there in the next two years; but the road to Atlanta literally and figuratively goes through Georgia. They had the best defense in the conference and it will be probably just as good this year.

      We are definitely on the right track and will soon be averaging 9-10 games a year, which would have seemed impossible 4-5 years ago.

      But until we can recruit better than middle of the pack in the SEC we aren’t going to win any conference championships, and it will be difficult to win the East with a strong UGA and a resurgent Florida.

      It’s not that we aren’t recruiting at an all time high, we are just in the toughest conference where 7-8 of the top 25 classes in the nation are ahead of us, and we have to start competing with LSU, A&M, UGA, Bama, etc. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    • Rob
      8:12 pm February 6, 2020 Permalink

      All true Jester. I believe the Georgia game COULD potentially be one of the biggest games in the Mark Stoops era. That is, of course, if we beat Florida and/or Auburn on the road before hand which I think is a possibility. Either way it should be a fun and interesting year. #whynotkentucky

  2. JTT15
    5:17 pm February 6, 2020 Permalink

    Let’s go!!

  3. notFromhere
    5:58 am February 7, 2020 Permalink

    We’ve beaten the entire east and the winner of the national championship with substantially lower ranked classes than this across 4-5 years. No reason to think we can’t beat them with more talent.

    Let’s hope we can put it all together and avoid the injuries and attrition that have hurt us in the past. There’s good attrition and bad, and I hope we’re getting to the point where the bad is decreasing daily. I think last year was the first year of many that we didn’t lose a major contributor on the OL or DL before the season even started. We need more years like that

  4. largoky
    2:51 pm February 7, 2020 Permalink

    14 four stars and we still are not among the best of classes in the SEC, shows how hard it is to recruit in this conference. Congratulations to the staff for getting this many talented athletes to UK. Now let’s just focus on getting past the dirty vols before we talk about getting to Atlanta. GO CATS!

    • notFromhere
      5:16 pm February 8, 2020 Permalink

      Not gonna focus on one game of a season, Joker Philips.

      I don’t care if we beat Tennessee if we win the East, just like I won’t whoop and holler if we beat UT, FL, AND GA, and don’t win any other games. It’s a SEASON for a REASON.