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UK Sets Sights on 2020 In-State Targets

A week ago Kentucky shut the door on the 2019 football recruiting class.  Before the door was completely closed, Mark Stoops’ staff already had their sights set on the 2020 class.

As the basketball team hosted Kansas for a Top 25 matchup at Rupp Arena, Stoops hosted dozens of highly-ranked 2020 recruits for UK’s Junior Day.  He can start to see the Citrus Bowl paying dividends.

I feel very good about where we’re at,” Stoops said on National Signing Day.  “As our expectations increase, so does the level of talent of the guys we go after.  That doesn’t always mean that it’s by how many stars they have. It’s by the quality of work that we think they can do and how they can help us.  Obviously we want to continue to elevate the talent and get the right guys here.  We feel like we can be more selective to young to get guys that fit what we’re trying to do.”

As always, Kentucky’s first priority is on in-state recruits.  Even though two of the top-ranked guys have already committed to Notre Dame and Clemson, Vince Marrow believes UK has a leg up on the competition.

“In the 20 class there’s about seven to eight guys in the state of Kentucky we are zeroing in on heavily,” Marrow said on NSD.

“I think we needed to send a message in Louisville that we were going to recruit the inner city pretty hard.  We’re on some guys now pretty hard in the 2020 class.  You can’t not notice now that you got Neal Brown at West Virginia and Jeff Brohm at Purdue.  You gotta be on your game.  Right now with this wrapping up, fortunately we already had 90 percent of our class in December, we got a head start on 2020 guys in the state of Kentucky.”

The addition of Scott Satterfield, along with Brown and Brohm, will make recruiting the state more competitive than ever.  UK signed five from the state of Kentucky in the 2019 class.  Replicating that quantity will be difficult in a class of only 15-19, but there are still plenty of high quality prospects within the state that already have created a connection with UK.

The consensus top recruit in the state of Kentucky, ranked as high as the No. 60 player overall by Rivals, has been recruited by almost every college football powerhouse in America.  A two-way athlete at Bowling Green High School, Oklahoma is the biggest name to go all-in early in Tisdale’s recruitment.

Offered by Vince Marrow after Tisdale’s freshman season in 2016, the superstar safety has been to Lexington multiple times.  He unofficially visited for the Georgia game last season and was on campus a few weeks ago for UK’s Junior Day.  Tisdale told the Courier-Journal he’s already developed a significant connection with Mark Stoops.

“It’s not like they’ve got a lead on nobody or nothing, but we just kind of clicked,” Tisdale said. “He coaches my position, he’s a defensive head coach and he gets guys to the NFL. He’s a great coach.”

The talented, lengthy Louisville wide receiver was on campus for Junior Day in January.  Marrow pulled one talented public school wide receiver out of Louisville last year, Tae Tae Crumes.  To replicate that success with Cummings will not be easy while Brohm and Brown pitch a high-powered passing offense.

It’s important for Kentucky lock up Young.  The talented offensive tackle visited Louisville last night for the Duke game. Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan are Young’s other top candidates.  He told Rivals’ Dave Lackford he will make his official visits in April and May before deciding July 6.

I do have a good connection with the Kentucky staff and I will be on campus to watch them play Tennessee on Saturday. That being said, I’m not a lock anywhere. My recruitment is still 100% open to all schools. Distance from home plays zero factor in my decision. I’m going to pick a program where I fit best in the scheme they run.”

The son of former UK quarterback Bill Allen, after two years in Beau’s ear, it will be interesting to see how the quarterback’s recruitment develops down the stretch.  UK signed a pair of quarterbacks in 2019, while Neal Brown just brought a pocket-passer friendly system to West Virginia.  Will UK push all their chips in on a pocket-passer, or divert their attention to a dual-threat quarterback from the mold of Stephen Johnson or Terry Wilson?

Finding talented defensive tackles is not easy.  Kentucky could pick up one from just a few hours down the Bluegrass Parkway. The monster in the middle of North Hardin’s defense attended UK’s Junior Day last month.  Tennessee, Louisville and Purdue are the Cats’ top competition.

His teammate, Lavell Wright, is a name to keep an eye on in the 2021 class.  The running back is a stud who already has an offer from Tennessee.  North Hardin is going to be really good this fall.

Neal Brown’s first act as West Virginia head coach was to offer Boyle County’s talented twosome.  Dean Hood has laid the groundwork, but I have a feeling he’ll have to call in the Big Dog to convince them not to take the Country Roads to Brown’s new home.

Other Names to Watch

— Miles Thomas: The ninth-ranked player in the state would be a shoe-in if his dad was still UK’s wide receivers’ coach.  Lamar Thomas’ son catches passes at Tates Creek High School and has yet to pick up an offer from Kentucky.

— Jordan Watkins: Ranked lower than most after transfer rules forced him to miss half the 2018 football season, Watkins will replace Crumes as Butler’s explosive playmaker.  One of the state’s top athletes, Vince Marrow offered him a scholarship over the weekend after Watkins ran a casual 4.47 at the Best of the Midwest Combine.

— Markeice Warner: Kentucky offered the Ballard speedster after he ran at their camp last summer.  Unfortunately, Warner’s 2018 season ended before it began.  The running back suffered a knee injury during a preseason scrimmage that sidelined him for the year.

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Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR