Kentucky Football Recruiting Has a Big Saturday
Late Saturday afternoon, Kentucky football secured two huge commitments in the class of 2020. First, Joshua Jones, a high three-star offensive lineman in the class of 2020 from Phoenix City, Alabama has committed to Kentucky, choosing the Wildcats over LSU, Florida State, and Tennessee, among others.
The 6-foot-5, 299-pound prospect made his announcement today on his Twitter page:
— Joshua Jones (@almightybugg) June 22, 2019
After the announcement, Chad Simmons of Rivals.com published an interview with the newest Wildcat, who said he is officially shutting down his recruitment.
“I am shutting my recruitment down,” said Jones. “I am not one of those guys who commits, decommits and all that. I am focused on Central football and academics now. Kentucky is the school for me. I felt comfortable there, my parents felt comfortable there, I loved the people and the vibe around Lexington and my decision has been made.”
This has to music to the ears of everyone within Kentucky’s program as de-commitments have been aggravating lately. For Jones, he made up his mind last week during his official visit to Lexington.
“That visit changed everything for me,” said Jones. “It was amazing up there. It was my first time there and I felt at home. I loved it. My family loved it. I knew a day after I got back from the visit that I was going to Kentucky.”
Not too long after Jones’ announcement came the commitment of Jordan Watkins, a three-star wide receiver out of Butler Traditional in Louisville, who is now officially a Wildcat.
The 6-foot-0, 180-pound wideout made his official announcement on Twitter.
“First I would like to thank God for the abilities he has given me!” Watkins said. “I want to give my most appreciation to my parents. Y’all have gave up more than I could ever ask for to make my dream turn into a reality and I will always be grateful for that!
“Next, I would like to give a huge shoutout to any coach who has ever helped me get to where I am now. Whether it’s a baseball, basketball or football coach y’all have helped me become a better athlete and a better man. I would also like to give a shoutout to the Butler High School community for welcoming me with open arms and making me a part of the family.
“Thank you for all the coaches that took the time to build a relationship with me and gave me the opportunity to play for their program during this process. With that being said I am blessed to announce that I am 110% committed to the University of Kentucky. BBN here I come!”
— Jordan Watkins ? (@jordantwatkins) June 22, 2019
Watkins chose Kentucky over Louisville, Rutgers, and Central Michigan, among others, though the decision was widely expected to come down to the Cats and the Cards.
Rated as the No. 7 prospect in Kentucky in the Rivals state rankings, Watkins is known for his elite agility, lateral quickness, and vertical speed. At “The Opening” back in May, Watkins ran a laser-timed 4.38 40-yard dash.
Watkins’ addition gives Kentucky nine commitments for the class of 2020: Five-star prospect Justin Rogers, four-star prospects Beau Allen, John Young, Torrance Davis, JuTahn McClain, and Andru Phillips, and three-star prospects Joshua Jones, D’Eryk Jackson, and Jordan Watkins.
These two commitments keep the good news coming for Kentucky football which has been on an absolute roll in recruiting. While this class is far from being completed, there is no doubt that it’s already shaping up to be one of the best in UK’s history.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. Leaning Towards Tennessee
Football recruiting was the good news, but now its time for the bad news. According to multiple reports, it seems that Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr.’s recruiting may actually be ending sooner rather than later.
Sources: Kerry Blackshear, the best available transfer, isn’t expected to take any more official visits. The growing thought is he’s extremely close to announcing his decision, which could come as early as Sunday.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) June 22, 2019
With a decision possibly coming today, it doesn’t seem too positive for the Wildcats.
Not long after Daniels posted his update, Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader reported that Kentucky was looking “less likely” for the top graduate transfer in the nation.
“The Herald-Leader was told Saturday morning that Kentucky is now looking less likely to be the destination for Blackshear, who visited UK earlier in the week but has also taken recruiting trips to Tennessee, Florida and Arkansas this month,” he said.
This new update also comes with added information from KSR’s own Matt Jones who also indicates that Tennessee seems to be in the lead:
I have ZERO personal knowledge of where Kerry Blackshear will go to school
However I have spoken to a number of national folks this morning who claim to have sources on him….they believe Tennessee leads
I guess we shall see….
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) June 22, 2019
Considering that Coach John Calipari seems to not be very confident in securing Blackshear Jr., it would not be surprising to see him commit to the Volunteers today. If he does, it would certainly be a puzzling decision as Tennessee will mostly be in a rebuilding next season due to their top three scorers all being selected in the NBA Draft.
Keep following KSR for updates on Blackshear Jr. throughout the end of his recruitment.
Aaron Harrison Signs With the Boston Celtics
After spending last season playing professionally in Turkey, Harrison is expected to return to the states to play for the Boston Celtics during NBA Summer League, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
Aaron Harrison will play summer league with the Boston Celtics, a source told ESPN. Harrison is coming off an outstanding season in Turkey with Galatasaray which has drawn him both Euroleague and renewed NBA interest. Harrison played college basketball at Kentucky.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 22, 2019
Last year with Galatasaray, the former Wildcat averaged 13.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per contest. He also shot 44.2% from three and 80.5% from the free-throw line.
In three years in the NBA, Harrison has played for both Charlotte and Dallas, but the 6-foot-6 guard never found his groove at either location. Playing just 35 games in three seasons, the former Wildcat has averaged 2.3 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.5 assists to go with an abysmal 26% shooting overall and 22% from three.
Playing for five different G-League teams in three years, Harrison has averaged 18.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists on 41.4% shooting overall and 36.6% from three.
Let’s all hope that Harrison plays well enough in the summer league for a Boston Celtic team that may be hit very hard in free agency at the start of July. They may need someone like Harrison to hit crucial shots for them down the stretch of games.