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What would a Jedrick Wills flip mean to UK?



Last week, rumors began to spread about revamped mutual interest between 5-star OL Jedrick Wills and Kentucky.

As we all know, the Lafayette High School-product chose Alabama a few months back, opting for the national powerhouse over the home school Wildcats.

Fans understood and respected his decision to compete year in and year out for National Championships. It’s the equivalent of players committing to play for John Calipari at Kentucky over the home-state school, a la Malik Monk or Devin Booker.

Fans looked elsewhere. The coaching staff, however, did not.

Pictures of Mark Stoops at Lafayette High School surfaced late last week, where Stoops played badminton with Wills.

A KSR reader then sent us a picture of Wills having dinner at Malone’s with the UK coaching staff that night.

I was told the UK staff pushed to get Wills on campus this weekend for the UK-Kansas game, and the trip was deemed “likely” at the time. The extent of the trip, however, (longevity, what Wills would be doing, etc) was in question.

Later that day, Justin Rowland of broke the news that Wills would be taking an official visit to UK this weekend. By all accounts, the trip was extremely successful.

So here we are, just three days from National Signing Day, and the possibility of Kentucky flipping a five-star Alabama commit is very much on the table.

But what would a Wills flip mean for Kentucky?

The Effort

Mark Stoops and the entire Kentucky football staff is fighting tooth and nail for a five-star recruit committed elsewhere right up until he signs on the dotted line. That alone speaks for itself.

The Kentucky staff already got him on campus for an official visit on the final weekend of the recruiting season, where he was able to join former high school teammate Walker Wood (already enrolled at UK) and countless other recruits on campus.

For those saying Wills is pulling a Damien Harris,  just using the team for tickets to a high-profile basketball game, they are sadly mistaken. Wills took the visit out of genuine interest in the Wildcats, and has let it known to those close to him that who he will sign with on Wednesday is certainly not set in stone right now.

As far as Alabama’s side of things, they knew about the visit when it got scheduled, but absolutely were not happy about it. In many instances, Saban will pull a scholarship offer of a recruit taking other visits, but he realizes Wills is far too valuable to do something of the sort. They let him take the visit, but flirted with some other recruits and took in some official visits this weekend as a result.

As far as what I’ve heard about the visit and Wills’ actual interest in a flip, I’ve been told he’s definitely considering it and the staff is extremely confident. Really confident. One thing that sticks out is what Alabama already has on the line and who they have committed. They started a true freshman at tackle this season, the same position he wants to play in college. Alabama also has a commitment from the #1 OT in the class. There are rumors Alabama wants to move him to guard when he gets there, so the idea of playing tackle at UK is definitely a step in the right direction for getting him in blue and white.

I’ve also been told Wills has kept close tabs on UK’s offensive line this season, and sees the progression under John Schlarman. He has seen UK listed as the #1 offensive line in the SEC, even ahead of Alabama, and is impressed. It isn’t a world-beating statistic to him, as he feels he’ll be able to make a massive impact wherever he goes, but he is impressed with UK’s development on the line.

Long story short, the effort of UK fighting after “their guy” when everyone else counted them out has paid off in the long run, and recruits (including Wills) are taking notice.

The Statement

Whether Wills flips or not, the headlines are going to read “Five-star OL Jedrick Wills decides between Alabama, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Michigan, and UK.” It’s like one of those “one of these is not like the others” pictures you see on the internet. An Alabama message board last week said something along the lines of “Of all schools, why are we battling Kentucky for elite recruits.” Other schools have taken notice, and the recruits have as well.

If he does flip… Can you imagine the statement it’d make to the recruiting world?

“Kentucky flips five-star OL Jedrick Wills from Alabama.”

Kentucky has already proven they aren’t afraid to go head-to-head against the big boys, even signing Matt Elam away from Alabama a couple years ago. But taking a guy the Crimson Tide want desperately (they’ve visited him in Lexington multiple times in the last few weeks) would be absolutely massive.

Going into the future, Kentucky is LOADED with high school talent in the next couple years, and a guy of Wills level pulling the trigger would certainly make an impact on those guys. We saw it with Drew Barker, Matt Elam, Landon Young, and Kash Daniel (among others), but a recruit seeing Wills say no to Saban and yes to Stoops would definitely make them think twice before automatically looking elsewhere for college.

The Impact

The recruitment is one thing, but Wills as a player is on a whole new level. He’s a five-star prospect for a reason.

I saw him play several times in person, and every time I walked away saying “This kid is an NFL lineman.” Every camp, event, and game he’s been a part of, those in attendance see the potential of an All-SEC guy. They see high-level draft selection with this kid.

He already has the size, technique is there, and has a mean streak like no other. He’s cutting some of the unnecessary fat, working on building strength, and perfecting his technique, and he hasn’t even set foot on a college campus yet. Can you imagine what’s going to happen when some strength and conditioning coaches get ahold of him?

Kid is going to be a freak of nature on the line, and Kentucky would benefit tremendously with him on it.

The staff is confident right now, so I have no reason not to be right now either.

We’ll keep you updated, but as of now it’s looking like we’ll be letting you know where a fax is received on Wednesday morning.


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

18 Comments for What would a Jedrick Wills flip mean to UK?

  1. keiths
    9:27 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    While i would love to see it, I doubt it will happen. Any kid that has a chance to go to Bama, Ohio state, Clemson etc. and don;t is making a bad mistake.

    • Jack Pilgrim
      9:35 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

      I think UK is in about as good of a position as they can be with Wills right now. You get him, the recruiting world is blown up that Stoops stole a kid from Saban. He sticks with Bama, no harm done. He’s already committed there, so fans don’t have much invested in him. Recruiting class is already best of Stoops era with or without him.

  2. Cats or Die
    9:31 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    I don’t think “sadly mistaken” applies, since they would likely be happy that he wasn’t just in it for the tickets. Nice job, though. I think you are certainly the most talented next gen KSR writer

    • Jack Pilgrim
      9:36 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

      I’ve just read a lot of comparisons between Harris and Willis, and they are polar opposites. Harris led UK on, Wills has been up front and honest the entire time. Great kid.
      But thank you! I appreciate that!

  3. shelby
    9:37 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    He has a chance to be a Kentucky legend and actually make a HUGE difference in a program–hard to top that imo. Alabama might want him, but kentucky wants AND needs him more. Schlarman is as good an OL coach as there is in the country and will make this kid GREAT!

    • Catsby80
      8:16 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      I think this is the key piece here. If he flips, which I’m still doubtful that he will (but hopeful that he will), I think it is because of Schlarman and his ability to coach linemen. I’m sure Alabama has a great OL coach, too, but the mix of Schlarman and being able to be around family a heck of a lot more than if you were at Alabama has to be somewhat enticing to the kid.

  4. Mjones32
    10:48 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    Was working at the Wills house last week. Worked on they’re furnace. This kid is massive. I hooe he flios to UK. I did ask him while there if he was going to Bama and he said “Yea for sure. 100% going to Alabama” ….Things change though.

    • satcheluk
      3:23 pm January 30, 2017 Permalink

      I read this same comment a few weeks ago. You might want to change the wording.

  5. StuckinLville
    11:17 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    At UK he can be a legend and help continue to build his hometown school where his family can easily watch him play. You know what you get with Bama, but hopefully the o line being so talked about will help persuade him. I dont see this happening, but i guess we shall see. We didnt think Hatcher would flip either.

  6. jaws2
    11:22 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    Saban wanted Elam too, we know how that worked out when he chose U.K.

    • StuckinLville
      3:40 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

      I think that has more to do with Elam’s worth ethic. With that said, he should have been moved to o line, he’ s too tall for a DT.

  7. blueballs80
    11:51 pm January 29, 2017 Permalink

    I hope he comes. While I am sure Saban is not thrilled, I don’t think he has much to worry about.

  8. rem392
    2:35 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    What a great story this will be if UK can flip this guy. He will be a great addition and continue Stoops’ momentum as a recruiter. He will be just another lineman at Alabama but could be a legend at UK.

  9. sckysportsink
    6:54 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Kentucky rating above Alabama with linemen on either side of the ball is a tribute to the coaching staff, recruiters, weight facilities, etc.(especially considering all of Bama’s 5-star recruits). Wills would be an awesome get! Put these linemen with the load of talented skilled players, and things could get really exciting for years to come.

  10. GoatHunter71
    10:29 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    It’s not going to happen, this is just some of the KSR propaganda that gets fans’, including my own, hopes up to sign a 5 star recruit. Props to the staff for being hungry and going for it but we need as a fan base not to look into the tea leaves too much and not get disappointed when this kid chooses Alabama over Kentucky.

  11. UKfansNKY
    10:50 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Alabama??………..”NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND” Corso. Watch these WILDCATS of KENTUCKY!!

    Come on Jedrick the BBN needs you my MAN!!!

  12. rartis1986
    10:54 am January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Most people here are missing the point. Even though I would love for us to get Wills, this is positive recruiting publicity and with what I’m reading on these recruiting websites more and more top talent is including Ky in there top schools

  13. satcheluk
    3:25 pm January 30, 2017 Permalink

    Schlarman is the man! Taking 2 stars (on avg) and molding them into the #1 Oline in the SEC is astounding. He should get a raise and a bump in his recruits.