As the BBN turns its attention to basketball, Mark Stoops has turned his attention to recruiting, specifically, recruiting underclassmen.
Before the Wildcats complete their 2020 signing class in ten days, the Kentucky football program is creating early relationships with underclassmen. Over the weekend they hosted dozens of rising sophomores, juniors and seniors for Junior Day. As you’ll see, the best and brightest from the Bluegrass were in the building to tour facilities, take pictures and meet coaches.
Top 100 Targets
Remember Isaiah Crowell? The Georgia running back spent time taking lumps for the Cleveland Browns. There’s a new Isaiah Crowell (I don’t think there’s any relation). This one is a 2022 defensive back from North Carolina. His older brother is one of the best wide receivers in America. Micah Crowell is a consensus top 20 wide receiver, ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 91 overall recruit in the 2021 class. Claiming more than 30 offers from all of college football’s Blue Bloods, he joined his brother for an excursion to see Kentucky’s campus.
Brad White brought one of the best young players from the northeast in for an unofficial visit. Enai White, a 2022 recruit from Philadelphia, already has 23 offers, most notably from LSU, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Florida. A 6’5″ pass rusher, 247 ranks White as the No. 31 player in his class. If sharing the same last name did not give them common ground, I’m sure Brad White was happy to share more about his time grooming Josh Allen the day before he played in the Pro Bowl.
Kentucky was happy to greet a group of Redhounds in Lexington — Treyveon Longmire, Dakota Patterson, Cameron Combs and Duane Sparks. Longmire (2022) and Patterson (2023) already hold scholarship offers from UK. Those Redhounds sure do look good in blue.
— Corbin Redhounds Football (@RedhoundsFB) January 25, 2020
Once they left campus, the four recruits returned to Corbin for their season-ending football banquet. Lynn Bowden just so happened to be in the area signing autographs earlier that day. Before returning to Lexington, Bowden spoke to the team (and the prospective recruits) about his time at UK. Impeccable timing.
Names You Need to Learn from KY
Ty Bryant — The defensive back from Frederick Douglass High School just completed his sophomore season for the Broncos. He has an offer from the Kentucky Wildcats and Marshall Thundering Herd.
— Ty Bryant¹³??? (@Ty_Bryant32) January 26, 2020
Jawaun Northington — A breakout star in 2019, the Manual running back almost single-handedly carried the Crimson to their first victory over Male since 2012. Scoring touchdowns of 74 and 36 yards, Manual sprinted out to a 14-0 lead before they ultimately fell 22-21. A three-sport star, you’ll hear much more about Northington in the near future.
Eli Blakey — One of Northington’s teammates at Manual, the 2021 ATH spent some time in Lexington hanging out with Gavin Wimsatt, a rising junior quarterback at Owensboro High School.
— Melvin (@MelmanMrb3273) January 26, 2020
Harris Adams — You take one look at this guy and you can tell he’s a dude. The 6’3″ 295 pound defensive tackle made the trip to Lexington from Nashville.
Zion Rucker — Adams wasn’t the only big defensive tackle from Tennessee on UK’s campus. Rucker made a return trip to UK this weekend. He currently holds scholarship offers from Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
Jaden Payne — A lengthy defensive back from Antioch, Tn., Kentucky was his first scholarship offer. He also has an offer from Missouri.
Kicker with a Kentucky Connection
You rarely see snapshots from a recruiting visit that look like this:
The only knock on Jackson Smith is he isn’t Australian. A 2022 recruit from Boyle County, he punts and kicks. He learned it from his father, Andy Smith, an All-SEC punter for the Wildcats in 1999. The right-footed kicker may be young, but he’s had a big leg for years. He buried a 51-yard field goal as an 8th grader. The kid standing in the end zone has the only acceptable response for the athletic feat.
It wouldn’t be a Stoops/Marrow recruiting even without a couple of talented kids from the Buckeye State.
Alex Affari, a 2022 defensive back from Lakota West High School, left UK with a scholarship offer. Another player from Cincinnati’s GMC conference, Leroy Bowers, just completed his junior year at Princeton High School. Bowers’ Vikings bested Lakota West 41-35 in October. Ranked by 247 as the No. 40 safety in America, Bowers has offers from Cincinnati and Pitt, among others.
— *Leroy Bowers*????? (@LeroyBowers5) January 26, 2020
These guys weren’t on campus, but their involvement with UK remains noteworthy. A.J. Jenkins III is a wide receiver from Cardinal Gibbons High School, the alma mater of 2019 signees Nik Scalzo and Nik Ognenovic. Following his freshman season, the 6’3″ athlete picked up a scholarship offer from UK, his first.
Khurtiss Perry already has more than a dozen offers, like Auburn and Alabama, shortly after the conclusion of his sophomore season. Recruited by Jon Sumrall, 247 ranks the defensive end from Montgomery, Al. as the No. 17 overall recruit in the 2022 class.