With national signing day coming up on February 1, here is a quick look on the Kentucky Wildcats Football Class of 2012 and how it is shaping up.
Kentucky is sitting on 23 commits, the vast majority of which are rated three star by Rivals and Scout. The Cats plucked six and three prospects from the hotbeds of Georgia and Florida, respectively. Five commits are homegrown. The class is heavy on DBs, with seven total signees,including speedy CB Cody Quinn, a Illinois decommit who chose UK last week. Unfortunately, Kentucky has signed only one LB, Kadeem Thomas from Tallahassee, FL. Other holes are at WR (2) and TE (0). There are no 300lb. run stoppers in the group, but UK did manage to grab 6'4" 290lb. DT Thomas Chapman from Manual High School in Louisville. He is one of the state's top players.
From a PR and competitive standpoint, the Cats' most important signee is Parade All-American QB, Patrick Towles. Patrick has the size (6'5", 230), speed (4.7) and arm strength to be top flight SEC signal caller. A true dual threat, Towles is listed in the ESPN Recruiting Rankings as and "Athlete", though he will undoubtedly be behind center at UK. Towles will not participate in spring practice (something Kentucky never seems to be able to get Quarterbacks to do) but is on record that he expects to compete for a starting job in the fall. A Ft. Thomas Highlands pedigree means he's been well coached and is somewhat used to the spotlight.
STILL OUT THERE
Kentucky's chances at landing a big time class have increased substantially over the last several days with Tennessee began encouraging of its 4 star commits to reopen their recruiting (how the Volunteers are still in a position to cast off 4 star recruits is anyone's guess). Imani Cross is a 6'0" 222lb. power running back who has narrowed his choices down to UK and Nebraska. He is the top uncommitted rusher in the country at this moment. Obviously Nebraska is pretty attractive from a football standpoint, but perhaps Kentucky can win Cross with the promise of playing time and remaining in the SEC (Cross and his family are in Gainesville, GA).
Likewise, LB Khalid Henderson finds himself a man without a country after receiving a "things have changed" call from Derek Dooley earlier this month. Henderson (6'1" 210) is another Georgia guy and is said to be coming for an official visit this weekend.His recruitment is much more open than Crosses, with UCF, Duke, Ole MIss and maybe Georgia and Maryland still in the mix. Sounds like landing him will be like filling in an inside straight. Nonetheless, it looks like the Cats will get the last crack at the young man, which can't hurt.
As is always the case, Kentucky will need to fight hard in the next 10 days to keep the kids they have committed and go out and try to reel in a surprise or two. This year's class is competitive with recent classes talent-wise but the Cats have not gotten help where they needed it most (LB,WR,TE). I don't have a good feel for where the Cats might be with JC players at this point, but landing an SEC ready player at one of these positions .
If Henderson and Cross both decide to come at the last minute, and the Cats hold on to most everyone else (count on a defection or two, as always), there will be reason to celebrate in Lexington. As it stands, Kentucky will sign some nice players, but this isn't the class that will get them over the hump in the SEC.