Once upon a time, the first Wednesday of February was the most hallowed day for diehard fans of college football recruiting. The sheen on the spectacle is no longer so bright. Even without a high number of prospects in line to sign, the Kentucky Wildcats could land a couple of high-quality players on National Signing Day (NSD).
The first football Early Signing Period took place in 2017. Most of the Wildcats signed on the dotted line in December and that trend has continued ever since. After only signing one player in 2019, cornerback MJ Devonshire, Mark Stoops is looking to add two offensive weapons on NSD 2020.
The first potential addition is a familiar name, running back Torrance Davis. A three-star recruit from Garfield Heights High School in Cleveland, Oh., 247 Sports ranked Davis as the No. 25 running back in America when he committed to Kentucky in June.
A dynamic weapon that is physical inside but can also spread the field and catch passes, Davis never wavered from his commitment. Pursued by other schools, the bonds he created with Beau Allen, John Young and other future Cats at a summer football camp in Lexington were too great to break. The hold-up on his signature was from the classroom. After working with the clearinghouse to become eligible, Davis is expected to submit his National Letter of Intent (NLI) on NSD.
There’s exponentially more mystery surrounding Michael Drennen II. A superstar that goes by ‘Donut,’ Drennen could be a plug-and-play athlete on Eddie Gran’s offense. Primarily a running back in high school, he seamlessly transitions from the backfield to the slot wide receiver position.
Vince Marrow has been recruiting Drennen since the athlete was in the eighth grade. Kentucky was the first school to extend him a scholarship and for most of Drennen’s recruitment, the Wildcats have been the perceived leader. UK was the only school he officially visited until December, when he took a late trip to Southern California. Other schools have tried to enter the mix, but it’s down to Kentucky and USC as we enter the final hours of his recruitment.
Last week a wrinkle was added to the Drennen saga when Vince Marrow became a primary target in the Youngstown State head coaching search. In one of the rare interviews Drennen has given during the process, he did not downplay the significance Marrow had in his recruitment.
“I’m not saying his decision will make my decision for me but I’m watching that,” Drennen told 247’s Bill Greene.
“He’s the main person I speak to at Kentucky and him leaving kind of makes me nervous a little bit,” he admitted. “He was the first coach to ever offer me a scholarship and we have stayed close. I have been to Kentucky so many times and I’m very comfortable there. I know that school better than any school that has recruited me.”
Marrow eventually quelled those concerns by Tweeting out Friday night that he’ll be returning to Lexington in 2020. For that reason and many others, I ultimately believe Drennen will commit to Kentucky on National Signing Day. Kentucky has been the team to beat since day one. They’ve made him their top priority for weeks. Doubting Vince Marrow on the recruiting trail is never a good idea.
Drennen’s significance cannot be understated. Even though the incoming recruiting class is filled with wide receivers, the roster simply does not have a dynamic athlete that can fill the big shoes left vacant by Lynn Bowden. Wan’Dale Robinson was supposed to be that guy in 2019. Drennen’s decision deserves a comparable amount of hype. Instead of playing it up from afar, the Dublin, Oh. athlete has remained mysteriously quiet throughout the process.
National Signing Day will not bring the same pomp and circumstance this year as it did in the pre-NSD era, but its significance cannot be undersold if Kentucky adds both Davis and Drennen. One thing that has not changed over the last three years — until Kentucky’s coaches receive a signed fax, anything can happen.