The Early Signing Period starts tomorrow, November 9. Kentucky currently has 2 committed recruits expected to sign, Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley.
A bit surprisingly, a lot of other big names are expected to commit. With the uncertainty regarding the 2012 NBA Draft, it was expected that many of the elite recruits would hold off committing to see how scholarship and playing time situations shook out at some of the major programs. However, there's been a flurry of activity with many top prospects opting to pull the trigger for their preferred school. With the signing period imminent, it appears we'll see a few more come off the board as well. Here is the latest on Kentucky-pertinent recruits.
- Alex Poythress: Both Scout and Rivals are reporting that Poythress will announce his decision on Thursday. His finalists are Kentucky, Memphis, Vanderbilt, and Florida, but per Jerry Meyer at Rivals, he's already made his decision. At one point Kentucky was thought to be the favorite, but Vanderbilt and Memphis are strong contenders with Florida a distant fourth. The Tigers, in particular, have made a late charge. One thing's for sure: the consensus is that no one knows which school Poythress will pick.
Amile Jefferson: John Calipari made a late charge to recruit Jefferson, and it paid off with an official visit to Lexington a few weeks ago. Will it result in a commitment? Jefferson has one official visit left. He's going to Stanford this weekend, and is expected to decide after his visit to Palo Alto. Kentucky, Villanova, Temple, N.C. State, Ohio State and UConn make up the remainder of his list. The Wolfpack are getting the most buzz as Jefferson's preferred destination.
- Gary Harris: Like with Jefferson, Calipari renewed his recruitment of Harris late in the game. The pair actually visited Lexington on the same weekend. Harris has mentioned he would like to sign during the Early Signing Period. Kentucky is a finalist, but the rest of his list reads Big 10: Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue. The sentiment appears to be that Harris will be hard to pull out of Big 10 country, but Calipari is giving it his best shot.
- Jarnell Stokes: If Calipari's interest in Harris and Jefferson was considered late, his interest in Stokes would be classified as "minutes before the party ended." Yet Cal's magic still worked, and Stokes visited Lexington this past weekend. He came away impressed, tweeting, "At Kentucky's practice! I'm in love with this style's offense. The bigs can truly play inside-out!" Stokes is also down to Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee and Memphis. He'd like to sign early, but didn't guarantee it.
- Robert Carter: Kentucky hasn't pursued the one-time target all fall. He's expected to announce on Thursday, and signs are pointing to him staying in-state at Georgia Tech or Georgia.
- Kentucky's other targets: Kentucky is still heavily pursuing three other targets that are expected to make spring decisions: Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett, and Devonta Pollard. Calipari will continue recruiting Muhammad regardless of what happens in the fall. Bennett's and Pollard's recruitment likely depend on the decisions of Poythress, Jefferson, and Stokes.
We'll have a Signing Day open thread up tomorrow to follow the action, but it doesn't sound like any of UK's outstanding prospects will commit until Thursday at the earliest. However, Kentucky should get signed LOI's from Cauley and Goodwin, which will be a nice way for the Cats to start the Early Signing Period.
For the latest Kentucky recruiting news, follow me on Twitter @JC_Hoops.