The Kentucky Football coaching staff continues to defy the odds when it comes to tempting top-tier talent into making Lexington their new home. What was once a program that settled for two- and three-star prospects is now loading up on four-stars from within the state and across the country. The class of 2022 has been no different so far, with three impressive players already committing to the Wildcats: Jeremiah Caldwell (4-star), Andre Stewart (3-star), and most recently, Corbin’s very own, Treyveon Longmire (3-star).
Caldwell and Stewart are both projected as cornerbacks while Longmire could play either defensive back or wide receiver by the time he gets to Kentucky. It’s a solid start for a class that has the opportunity to be one the best that head coach Mark Stoops has hauled in since he arrived head of the 2013 season. But what can make the group of 2022 kids so special? In this new series, I’ll be breaking down the biggest Kentucky targets and where they stand in terms of joining the ‘Cats.
To get the ball rolling, we’re going to start with a deep group of potential options: wide receivers and tight ends. Let’s go through all the recruits that Kentucky has offered thus far who have a realistic shot at landing in Lexington. Since Longmire is already committed, we’ll omit him from the list, but you can refresh yourself on exactly who is at the link here.
Keep in mind that this is by no means a complete list of players that Kentucky has offered. Especially when it comes to wide receivers, Kentucky has extended dozens of offers spread across the class of 2022. This Big Board will hopefully present a better understanding of which players the coaching staff are prioritizing right now. Let’s get to it.
*All numerical and star rankings are courtesy of 247 Sports’ Composite Score*
Dane Key (4-star, No. 241): 6-3, 195 pounds – Frederick Douglass (Lexington, KY)
The obvious prize of the 2022 class, Dane Key is a top overall priority for the coaching staff and has been since they offered him in the summer of 2019, long before any other Power 5 programs entered the picture. He recently spoke with KSR’s own Freddie Maggard after releasing his top 10, which included the ‘Cats, and how staying in his hometown and playing for the same school his father attended could play a role in his choice.
Key is the No. 2 ranked player in the entire state behind Owensboro QB Gavin Wimsatt. He told KSR that the next announcement he would make regarding his recruitment will be his final decision, which will likely come sometime during his senior football season this fall. After landing former four-star Frederick Douglass stars, Jager Burton and Dekel Crowdus in the class of 2021, Kentucky has to feel good about its odds at landing another local stud in Key.
Chris Rapley (4-star, No. 330): 6-1, 200 pounds – Belleville (Belleville, MI)
Also a four-star talent, Chris Rapley is high school teammates with one of Kentucky’s 2022 commits, Jeremiah Caldwell. However, a third member of Belleville, safety Myles Rowser, recently pledged his allegiance to Arkansas, although the Razorbacks are not one of the schools that Rapley is considering. The trio has had conversations about all playing at Kentucky, but that dream does not appear possible anymore. Rapley’s recruitment has quieted down recently, but he holds offers from the likes of Penn State, Tennessee, and Ole Miss, among others. Kentucky was one of the first big schools that offered a scholarship to Rapley.
Dakota Twitty (4-star, No. 280): 6-5, 215 pounds – Thomas Jefferson Class Academy (Mooresboro, NC)
Another high-level wide receiver that Kentucky got in on early is Dakota Twitty out of North Carolina. The staff has been in contact with him since he was a freshman in high school and extended him an offer back in Jan. 2020. The ‘Cats were included among his top 8 schools that he dropped in December and continue to stay in contact with him.
Twitty told KSR earlier this month that he talks with wide receiver’s coach Jovon Bouknight multiple times per week and is open to the idea of leaving his home state for a place he can call his new “home”. He mentioned the Black Lives Matter protest that the entire Kentucky staff and team took part in last summer, discussing how he wants to choose a college that believes in those types of values. Twitty’s high school delayed its football season from the fall until the spring, so he’s actually in the middle of his season right now. He plans to make a decision sometime this May and the ‘Cats are surely near the top.
It should also be noted that, since Coach Stoops took over, Kentucky has only successfully recruited one player from the state of North Carolina.
Ja’Kobi Albert (3-star, No. 383): 6-1, 180 – Fairfield Preparatory School (Fairfield, AL)
Doubling as both a defensive back and wide receiver, Ja’Kobi Albert has an offer sheet stacked with big-time SEC offers from Auburn and Georgia along with other impressive Power 5 offers from the likes of Florida State, Michigan, and Penn State.
Marquarius White (3-star, No. 601): 6-0, 175 pounds – Clay-Chalkville (Pinson, AL)
Kentucky only extended an offer on March 22, but Marquarius White’s recruitment is still in the early stages. He’s pulled in offers from the likes of Mississippi State, Tennessee, Louisville, Ole Miss, West Virginia, and Michigan over just the last couple of months.
Jayden Gibson (3-star, No. 606): 6-6, 185 pounds – West Orange (Winter Garden, FL)
Kentucky offered Gibson in late-February, but they are not one of the four schools that he plans on taking official visits to this summer, at least not at this moment, according to 247 Sports. He plans on seeing Florida, Tennessee, Baylor, and Miami (FL) once the NCAA recruiting dead period is lifted.
Lynn Wyche-El (3-star, No. 655): 5-10, 170 pounds – Martin Luther King (Detroit, MI)
The Washington Huskies have recently come into the picture for Lynn Wyche-El and have already secured an official visit from him for this summer. Syracuse was the first school to offer Wyche-El, doing so in May of 2020 and a few days before the Wildcats did the same. However, Washington has clearly made a solid push since offering him at the beginning of February.
Mehki Wall (3-star, No. 739): 5-10, 165 pounds – Dudley (Greensboro, NC)
Another player from the state of North Carolina, Mehki Wall has been garnering Kentucky interest for over a year now. He holds offers from schools such as Wisconsin, North Carolina, West Virginia, and N.C. State (Joker Phillips is actually leading Wall’s recruitment for the Wolfpack). Wall is definitely a target that Kentucky could get, it might just come down to where the players ahead of him land first.
Jason Essex (3-star, No. 745): 6-3, 190 pounds – Winnetonka (Kansas City, MO)
Kentucky extended an offer on Feb. 12 to Jason Essex, the most recent school to do so. That being said, he had previously snagged scholarships from the likes of Iowa, Nebraska, and Arkansas, along with a few other Power 5 schools surrounding the Missouri area. Justin Rowland of Rivals recently reported that Essex and UK safeties coach Frank Buffano were talking well before the offer came in.
Aidan Gousby (3-star, No. 898): 6-2, 185 pounds – Lehigh Senior (Lehigh Acres, FL)
Prior to February, Aidan Gousby did not hold any high-profile offers. Since then, he’s heard from a plethora of Power 5 schools such as Kentucky, Penn State, Miami (FL), Louisville, Nebraska, and several others. He’s a fast-rising prospect who could see his stock take some leaps over the coming months.
Other WR names of note with Kentucky offers: Shaleak Knotts (4-star, No. 66), Antonio Gates Jr. (4-star, No. 294), Peter Kikwata (4-star, No. 315), Jullian Lewis (3-star, No. 563), Kaydin Pope (3-star, No. 572), Quan Lee (3-star, No. 643), Camden Brown (3-star, No. 892), and Claishon Ivory (NR).
Quinton Conley (4-star, No. 337): 6-5, 190 pounds – The Pembroke Hill School (Kansas City, MO)
He’s penciled in as a wide-receiver by 247 Sports, but many believe his future is as a tight end and that is how most schools are recruiting him. That being said, we’ll classify Quinton Conley as the latter. Kentucky is relatively new to his recruitment, extending him an offer in the middle of February, but they’ve quickly made up some ground. Conley told KSR earlier this month that the Wildcats and Nebraska were the two schools he’s been hearing from the most. He also plans on taking official visits this summer to Kentucky, Arizona State, and Iowa State once the in-person dead period is lifted. The trip to Lexington is currently planned for June 11.
Kentucky was Conley’s first SEC offer and the two sides had been in contact long before the offer was officially extended.
Brody Foley (3-star, No. 537): 6-6, 230 pounds – Anderson (Cincinnati, OH)
A popular prospect located up in Vince Marrow’s territory, Brody Foley is a target the rest of the staff would love to have on campus. He received his offer from Kentucky back in February and is now up to 25 total programs that have given him a scholarship opportunity. Michigan State, Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Arkansas are also in the mix as Foley plans to take several visits this summer. He took a visit to Lexington in the past and does not currently have one set up for this summer, although that could change.
Ryan Miller (3-star, No. 560): 6-6, 215 pounds – Kenston (Chagrin Falls, OH)
Tennessee offered Ryan Miller earlier in the month but Kentucky is in a good position when taking a look at the rest of his offer sheet. His list also includes the likes of Georgia Tech, Louisville, West Virginia, and a few other smaller programs. Miller announced his offer from the ‘Cats all the way back in September and, like Foley, is another Ohio product that the coaching staff has had consistent success with.
Marcus Peterson (3-star, No. 685): 6-4, 200 pounds – Columbia (Lake City, FL)
Pittsburgh offered Marcus Peterson a scholarship in late February and he wasted no time scheduling a future visit to go see the Panthers’ campus on June 3-5. He’s also high on the Miami Hurricanes. Kentucky got involved early in the year and has remained in steady contact, but he’s long-held offers from the likes of Miami (FL), LSU, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida State, and Penn State.
Josh Kattus (3-star, No. 837): 6-4, 235 pounds – Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, OH)
The third tight end prospect from Ohio and the second on this list from Cincinnati, Josh Kattus is now up to 20 offers. He received one from Kentucky back in November and also features offers from the likes of Arkansas, Louisville, Michigan (where his dad played as a tight end and All-Big Ten performer), and Maryland. Coach Marrow has been in regular contact with Kattus since the fall.
Current Wildcat tight end Brenden Bates also hails from Moeller, as does cornerback Carrington Valentine.
Chris Petrucci (Not ranked): 6-5, 210 pounds – Maine South (Park Ridge, IL)
The only unranked recruit on our list, Chris Petrucci shouldn’t remain under-the-radar for long. Kentucky got in on the action less than two weeks ago, bringing Petrucci up to 14 total offers, including Iowa and Minnesota as the other notable programs to reach out. Kentucky was his first SEC offer and Coach Buffano has been in contact with him since the fall. Petrucci is another player who missed out on a fall season and is instead playing during the spring with his season currently in progress. Iowa appears to be the favorite at the moment with a visit planned for late June.
Other TE names of note with Kentucky offers: Trent McGaughey (3-star, No. 439), Darren Agu (3-star, No. 578), and James Kyle (3-star, No. 612).