Reloading the Big Blue Wall–arguably the best combination of offensive linemen the Kentucky Football program has ever seen–was never going to be an easy task, but the coaching staff already has the recruits in mind to help fill in the future gaps.
The Big Blue Wall didn’t stake its claim to fame off of one successful season or just a couple of special players, though. Rather, it’s become a staple term in the Wildcat fandom lexicon that applies to years worth of development and progress. The Big Blue Wall isn’t so much a collection of offensive linemen, so much as it is an identity for the program. When you think about the Big Blue Wall, you think about the last five seasons of dominating, SEC-caliber offensive linemen clearing the way for a run-heavy Eddie Gran offense.
There are pieces of the Big Blue Wall that were more important to its foundation than others: Landon Young, Drake Jackson, and Darrian Kinnard quickly come to mind as the most recent players who controlled the Kentucky front line at an incredibly high level. Young and Jackson are now on their way to the next level while Kinnard, among other important components, will come back to help lead the next generation of the Big Blue Wall. Success is only as relevant as how sustainable it can be, and for Kentucky, maintaining a forceful offensive line has become the crux of what makes them a viable Southeastern Conference foe.
In order to continue doing that, bringing in the proper young talent is the most important step. Looking down the road at the future of the offensive line, Kentucky could proceed to trot the Big Blue Wall persona for years to come.
Last week, we took a closer look at a deep group of wide receivers and tight ends that the Kentucky coaching staff had offered or were considering for the recruiting class of 2022. This week, we’re doing the same, but focusing on potential future members of the Big Blue Wall. This could be a class where the coaching staff tries to bring in three, four, or maybe even five offensive linemen.
To quickly refresh, the ‘Cats landed its first offensive line commit last week when four-star offensive tackle Grant Bingham out of Paintsville, KY made the decision to join Kentucky live on KSR.
Bingham is the first offensive line piece added to the class of 2022, the fourth commit overall and second from the Bluegrass State, and the third future ‘Cat ranked as a four-star prospect. Clocking in at 6-foot-6 and 300-plus pounds, Bingham is an excellent piece to get the dice rolling for the rest of the coaching staff. But who could be next? Could Mark Stoops add his highest-rated recruit yet as the Kentucky head coach? Let’s dive into another deep group of talented high school juniors who are interested in the ‘Cats.
*Keep in mind this is not a complete list of all the players that Kentucky has offered, although it will cover as many as possible. Some recruits clearly have more interest in Kentucky than others, and those individuals will be covered more extensively.*
Kiyaunta Goodwin (4-star, No. 47): 6-7, 300 pounds – Charlestown (Charlestown, IN)
The prize of the entire 2022 class, regardless of position, landing Kayaunta Goodwin would be one of the biggest accomplishments that this coaching staff has pulled off. Last month, he dropped a top 5 list of schools that included the Wildcats who were joined by the likes of Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama, and Michigan State. The Buckeyes are rumored to be Kentucky’s top competition for the borderline five-star prospect.
There is hope that Goodwin could commit in the coming weeks, and if that were to happen, the Wildcats are expected to be his decision of choice. Once we start getting deep into May without a decision is when that momentum could shift back in favor of Ohio State. But as it stands right now, Kentucky likely feels good about its odds in landing the top 50 player.
A native of Louisville, the UK staff has been enamored with Goodwin long before the rest of the elite schools came into play. Kentucky first reached out all the way back in 2017, becoming his first Division I offer.
Aamil Wagner (4-star, No. 134): 6-6, 250 pounds – Wayne (Dayton, OH)
The fight against Ohio State doesn’t stop with Goodwin, either. Aamil Wagner, another four-star lineman, holds a top 6 that features Kentucky, OSU, Notre Dame, Stanford, Penn State, and Auburn, although it appears that UK, OSU, and ND are the teams to beat. That being said, Wagner has already scheduled visits to go see Ohio State and Notre Dame this summer while a trip to Kentucky has not been planned at this time.
He’s the bother of former Kentucky wide receiver, Ahmad Wagner, and the Wildcat coaching staff has been on him for a while, but once Ohio State came into the picture, everything changed. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that UK finds a way to land Wagner, but stealing him from the in-state Buckeyes will be a tall task.
Grant Bingham [COMMITTED](4-star, No. 296): 6-6, 300 pounds – Johnson Central (Paintsville, KY)
If you aren’t familiar with Grant Bingham by now, familiarize yourself as soon as possible. A consensus top 5 player in the Bluegrass State, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound behemoth chose the ‘Cats live on KSR last week. The homegrown product from Paintsville was previously expected to hold off on a decision until this summer, but Bingham knew all along that he wanted to stay home.
“The coaching staff feels like family almost,” Bingham said on KSR. “Playing in your home state and representing the great people of Kentucky, you can’t beat it,” Bingham added. “I wanted to stay home and we got something special coming.”
Bingham is the first offensive line commit for the 2022 class and the second four-star prospect to pick the ‘Cats. Keeping the state’s best offensive lineman was a huge priority for the staff and just as big of a win.
Deone Walker (3-star, No. 380): 6-6, 305 pounds – Cass Technical (Detroit, MI)
If the school name Cass Techincal rings a bell, that would be because one-time Wildcat DeAndre Square once played his high school ball for the Detroit, Michigan-based academy. The coaching staff hasn’t forgotten about that area since, going after two impressive targets from the class of 2022, 3-star OG Jackson Pruitt and 3-star DT Deone Walker, the latter of which is listed as a defensive tackle by recruiting sites but is being enticed by Kentucky as an offensive lineman.
Walker told KSR last month that he only has one visit to Michigan planned right now and the Missouri staff is trying to do the same. Nothing with Kentucky has been confirmed at the moment, but Walker is fully interested in the ‘Cats.
“They’re great guys, they’re real genuine. I can tell they really want me,” Walker told KSR about the UK coaching staff. “They want me as an offensive tackle. They have a pro-style type of offense now, so they’re going to really try and work me up to starting at left tackle.”
Jacob Hood (3-star, No. 419): 6-8, 340 pounds – Hillsboro (Nashville, TN)
While Jacob Hood landing in Lexington seems far-fetched at the moment, I’m still including him on this list. He dropped a top 6 list of schools on Feb. 8 that did not include UK, but the staff continues to stay in contact with him. Hood’s top 6 included the likes of Baylor, Georgia, LSU, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, and Mississippi State, but he has since pulled an offer from Auburn and plans to visit them this June. He feels like a long shot, but one to still keep an eye on.
Daughtry Richardson (3-star, No. 458): 6-5, 285 pounds – Miami Central (Miami, FL)
Kentucky landed in the top 10 for Daughtry Richardson at the beginning of March and he told KSR shortly after that the Wildcats were “definitely” near the summit. UK is up against the likes of Oregon, Florida State, and South Carolina, but Richardson nearly chose the ‘Cats back in January before backing off his commitment. He decided to take a step back once more offers began to roll in, but Kentucky is firmly in the mix and could still feasibly get him to commit in the end.
Leyton Nelson (3-star, No. 530): 6-6, 270 pounds – Boone (Orlando, FL)
After receiving his Kentucky offer in the first week of March, Leyton Nelson has since confirmed three official visits this summer, but none of them are to Lexington. Nelson, who also picked up an offer from Southern California on March 10, will travel to Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Miami (FL) in June.
Drew Bobo (3-star, No. 574) – 6-5, 280 pounds – Hammond School (Columbia, SC)
The son of Auburn’s new offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo, Drew Bobo will have plenty of options to choose from once he decides to pick a college destination. While the Tigers have not offered Drew at the moment, he does have one from South Carolina from when Mike Bobo was the offensive coordinator for the Gamecocks last season. Staying with that train of thought, Kentucky’s current offensive line coach, Eric Wolford, was one of the main recruiters of Drew Bobo back when Wolford was the coach there.
Drew Bobo currently has just one official visit to Georgia Tech scheduled right now, but he recently told KSR that he will take a trip to Lexington sometime this summer. He also added that Wolford communicates with him nearly every day and has done so since before the latter joined the Wildcat coaching staff over the winter.
Ryan Baer (3-star, No. 597): 6-7, 320 pounds – North (Eastlake, OH)
Ryan Baer recently scheduled a visit in late June with Tennessee, but Kentucky is still high on the list for the Ohio product. The Vols offered him in early March while Kentucky did so in January of 2020. The in-person recruiting dead period is still technically active through May 31 and there don’t appear to be any prospects with Kentucky offers who have officially announced visit dates, so there might not be too much to read into on that end. I would fully expect Baer to find his way on the Wildcat campus sometime this summer once the in-person ban is lifted.
Desaun Williams (3-star OG, No. 613): 6-4, 290 pounds – Life Christian Academy (Colonial Heights, VA)
Roughly one month after Kentucky offered Desaun Williams in December of 2020, the Wildcats made the cut for his top 5 list, as did Maryland, Michigan State, West Virginia, and Pittsburgh. Compared to the rest of those programs, Kentucky has to feel good about its chances of landing Williams, especially since he’s known Coach Wolford since his time at South Carolina. Coach Wolford was the one who offered on the Gamecocks’ behalf in July 2020. Williams has a trip to Pitt planned for this summer, as well, but he’s another prospect that Kentucky likely feels confident about acquiring if they decide to go all-in on him.
Grayson Morgan (3-star, No. 712): 6-6, 255 pounds – Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, TN)
Grayson Morgan is a still-rising prospect who has seen his stock boom since the start of March. Not only has Kentucky extended an offer, but so have Mississippi State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, UCF, and several others over the last four to five weeks. Before then, his most impressive offers had been from the likes of Appalachian State and Western Kentucky.
Tristan Wilson (3-star OG, No. 713): 6-5, 295 pounds – Lebanon (Lebanon, MO)
An underrated 3-star prospect, Tristan Wilson likely won’t stay in the 700s of the national rankings for long after pulling in an offer from Alabama on March 24. His head coach, Will Christian, told KSR not long before the ‘Bama offer that Kentucky, Baylor, and Missouri were in contact the most, with the ‘Cats being the first of those schools to extend a scholarship. Tennessee and Nebraska are also in contact with Wilson. Now that the Crimson Tide has discovered him, the cat is out of the bag and Kentucky could have to go the extra mile if they want to bring him to Lexington.
Antavious “Tae” Woody (3-star, No. 722): 6-5, 270 pounds – Lafayette (Lafayette, AL)
Since February, Antavious Woody has drawn offers from Georgia, Auburn, Texas A&M, and Southern California, just a couple of months after the Wildcats did the same. Like Wilson, Woody is still experiencing a rise in his popularity which could drag out the process a bit longer than previously expected. That being said, he’s someone to keep a close eye on as his recruitment moves along.
Derrell Johnson (3-star, No. 724): 6-3, 270 pounds – Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville, FL)
The offer sheet for Derrell Johnson isn’t all that impressive, but he’s clearly someone that Coach Wolford is keeping his eye on. Wolford offered Johnson while coaching at South Carolina and wasted no time sending out another one once he arrived at Kentucky, doing so in December on the Wildcats’ behalf.
Ka’Marii Landers (3-star, No. 768): 6-5, 200 pounds – Fordson (Dearborn, MI)
With a decision date set for May 9, the choice for Ka’Marii Landers is going to come down to one of Cincinnati, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Oregon, and West Virginia. The Spartans are currently viewed as the favorite to land him, per 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball, but with low confidence. However, the most recent projection predicts Landers to Kentucky, which came from a Michigan State insider on March 23.
Below is a list of offensive line targets who hold Kentucky offers, but ones who aren’t currently classified as legitimate options for various reasons, although that could clearly change as time moves along. Some of these players are eighter out of Kentucky’s league or just below the talent level the coaching staff is searching for.
Kam Dewberry (4-star, No. 119): 6-4, 315 pounds – Atascocita (Humble, TX)
Kentucky offered on Jan. 24, but Dewberry has since hauled in offers from Texas and Oregon while previously holding offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida, Southern California, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, and whatever other premier programs you can think of. He’s a long shot right now, but a highly-rated player that Coach Wolford seems intent on pursuing ever since arriving at UK.
Elijah Pritchett (4-star, No. 165): 6-6, 280 pounds – Carver (Columbus, GA)
Scheduled to commit on June 2, Pritchett has picked up offers from Alabama, Georgia, Penn State, Southern California, and many, many others. He’ll take official visits to Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida State, and Southern California this summer, with the Crimson Tide expected to gain his services in the end.
Fisher Anderson (4-star, No. 239): 6-7, 270 pounds – Franklin (Franklin, TN)
Kentucky was initially included in Anderson’s top 15, but he hasn’t updated that list since he dropped it back in August. Since then, he’s taken visits to North Carolina, Virginia, Duke, and Virginia Tech while picking up offers from TCU and Stanford. But the ‘Cats have been on him since early 2019, long before schools such as Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Oregon, and Baylor reached out. Anderson was even able to visit Lexington in September of 2019.
Bryson Hurst (4-star, No. 310): 6-6, 320 pounds – Gautier (Gautier, MS)
Even though Kentucky offered after schools such as Auburn, Tennessee, and Florida State, the coaching staff decided to throw its hat into the ring. The ‘Cats offered at the beginning of 2021.
Austin Firestone (3-star, No. 424): 6-5, 260 pounds – Niceville (Niceville, FL)
It’s hard to judge the recruitment of Firestone, as he was offered by the late John Schlarman in July 2020 and has not spoken about the ‘Cats much. However, a couple of weeks ago, he did tell 247 Sports that Penn State, Northwestern, and Virginia are after him the hardest.
Eston Harris Jr. (3-star, No. 429): 6-6, 275 pounds – Beauregard (Opelika, AL)
Kentucky jumped into the picture for Harris Jr. at the end of 2020 and he’s hauled in some quality offers since then, including Miami (FL), Oregon, and Michigan State, among others. Auburn and Oregon will bring him on campus this summer for official visits.
Danny McGuire (3-star, No. 517): 6-5, 270 pounds – Marist (Chicago, IL)
Illinois and Northwestern will host official visits for McGuire this summer, with the former being the very first Division I school to offer him. Kentucky came in several months later with an offer but doesn’t appear to have made up much ground in trying to influence him away from staying close to home.
Steve Nahmias (3-star OG, No. 534): 6-3, 270 pounds – Marist School (Atlanta, GA)
Nahmias was one of a handful of offensive line products who received an offer from Coach Wolford once he arrived at Kentucky. The Atlanta-based recruit has gathered offers from the likes of Auburn, Nebraska, and Florida State, and reportedly wants to visit the Cornhuskers this summer.
Jackson Pruitt (3-star OG, No. 762): 6-5, 285 pounds – Cass Technical (Detroit, MI)
Hailing from the same high school as three-star prospect Deone Walker, Pruitt picked up his UK offer on the same day as Walker. Pruitt’s cousin is former Wildcat T.J. Carter and Pruitt has already been able to visit the campus in the past. Kentucky is likely still interested in Pruitt, but he finds himself in this section of the article because of the talent ahead of him that the coaching staff would prefer. If other dominoes begin to fall, Pruitt could become a more viable option.