As KSR’s player profile series continues, we move to a talented wide receiver who is not your typical football recruit. A priority in the Wildcats’ 2020 recruiting efforts, Kalil Branham is one of three pass catchers currently committed to Kentucky. Here’s what he’s bringing to Lexington.
One of three top targets in the Columbus, Ohio region (joining UK commit Rickey Hyatt Jr. and target Michael Drennen II), Branham grew up in Ohio State’s backyard and was previously a Michigan commit. Shortly after visiting Lexington for Kentucky’s spring game, the Wolverines’ first 2020 commit decided to look elsewhere.
Since committing to Kentucky over the the summer, Branham has graduated high school. He plans on enrolling at UK this spring. In that time he’s also become KSBar and Grille’s No. 1 fan. Drew Franklin is the only person who has eaten more wings than Branham.
The second player in his family to earn a D-I football scholarship, his older brother John just completed his first season at Eastern Michigan after rushing for more than 2,000 yards as a high school senior in 2018. The two will get to face off next fall at Kroger Field. The #BranhamBoys extends even further than that. Malaki Branham is a 6’4″ guard for St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 19 basketball player in the 2021 recruiting class. Junior Nick Richards is also a Branham Boy.
— Kalil Branham (@kbug_dash) September 1, 2019
You can learn more about Branham’s background in four different sports, his piano-playing and more in this profile from May.
The Football Player
A four-star prospect, 247 Sports ranks Branham as the No. 58 wide receiver in America. Once his brother departed, Branham was forced to do it all for Northland High School, playing wildcat quarterback among other duties.
Most likely a slot receiver at the next level, Branham put up big numbers in high school by shifting into an impressive second gear. When you watch his tape you can see exactly where the switch is flipped and he’s gone. Unlike most speedsters, Branham does not shy away from contact. Larger than most slot receivers at 6’1″ 210 pounds, he got that way by putting in extensive work off the field. On top of his regular workouts, he also boxes to change up his routine. Every single day he catches 100 footballs. Branham finds creative ways to make that more entertaining as well.
Catching 100 balls in 30 degree weather HURTS! I had to get it done while you watch peps live out their dreams on sundays from your couch and saying what you would do. #branhamboys pic.twitter.com/kFwSpVkdIX
— Kalil Branham (@kbug_dash) December 8, 2019
no school today or practice. @FightLawyer702 told me i could catch lightening i said no but i can catch 50mph fire balls he replied LOL! i got proof. my sacrifice is real no need for hudl anymore just have to LEARN how to get better. #branhamboys pic.twitter.com/iBQwoYzLIV
— Kalil Branham (@kbug_dash) October 2, 2019
Before Branham arrives on UK’s campus, he’ll compete in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Miami on Jan 5. Once he gets to campus, I’m curious to see where Branham falls in the pecking order at wide receiver.
Wide receiver might be the most difficult position for me to personally project, simply because of the physicality and speed at the next level. You can’t just run by SEC defensive backs. Lynn Bowden’s departure leaves a spot for Clevan Thomas to fill. Allen Dailey will get plenty of reps out of the other slot. There are snaps to be earned by a third guy. I don’t know if that will be Drennen, Branham or somebody currently on the roster. What I do know is that no matter what hand is dealt Branham’s way, he’s going to do everything he can to out-work his competition. Even if he doesn’t have immediate success, I’m confident he’ll transform into a significant contributor.