The kickoff of the 2015 football recruiting cycle begins this Saturday as The University of Kentucky is hosting its Junior Day festivities. The recruits and their families will get an opportunity to formally meet all of the coaches and support staff, tour the facilities, and see the plans for the future facility upgrades. Later they will take in what should be a great environment as ESPN Gameday will be present for the Kentucky vs Florida men's basketball game.
Junior Day will be the first time most of these players have ever stepped foot on UK's campus, and it's important for Kentucky to make a strong first impression. Last season's Junior Day events paved in-roads for several Kentucky targets who went on to sign with UK. Present for the Junior Day events were Darius West, Thaddeus Snodgrass, and Drew Barker to name a few. Junior Days count as unofficial visits so prospects' travel costs are paid by their family (official visits aren't allowed until the student's senior year has started), so the list of attendees will largely be UK targets within a reasonable distance to Lexington. The trip will be too long for most - if not all - of UK's targets in Florida, for example.
According to various media reports and Twitter accounts, along with some of Patrick Loney's reporting, here is a non-comprehensive attendee list:
- Current UK commit Montrell Custis of Hampton, GA.
- Five star running back Damien Harris of Berea, KY.
- Four star linebacker Nick Conner of Dublin, OH.
- Four star offensive tackle George Brown who attended Junior Day last year as a sophomore.
- Four star cornerback Marcus Lewis of Washington DC.
- Four star linebacker Eli Brown of Bowling Green, KY.
- Four star defensive end Darius Fullwood of Olney, MD and HS teammate to 2014 signee Kobie Walker.
- Three star receiver Jabari Greenwood of Washington DC
- Three star offensive tackle Noah Listermann of Cincinnati, OH.
- Three star offensive tackle Rob Dowdy of Westerville, OH.
- Three star offensive guard George Asafo-Adjei of West Chester, OH.
- Three star linebacker C.J. Stalker also of West Chester, OH.
- Three star linebacker David Long of Cincinnati, OH.
- Three star defensive tackle Elijah Taylor of Cincinnati, OH.
- Three star receiver Tavin Richardson of Duncan, SC.
- Three star linebacker Anthony McKee Jr. of Columbus, OH.
- Three star cornerback Kei Beckham of Dayton, OH.
- Kicker Austin Seibert from Illinois
- Three star receiver (and South Carolina commit) Dexter Neal of Stone Mountain, GA
- Three star quarterback Reese Ryan of Lexington, KY.
- Unrated offensive tackle Mason Wolfe of Henderson, KY
- Unrated linebacker Ramone Kelly of Louisville, KY.
- Unrated receiver Marcus Floyd of Lexington, KY
- Unrated running back Michael Nero of Louisville, KY
- Unrated offensive tackle Nathan Gilliam of Knoxville, TN.
- Unrated offensive tackle Zach Giella of Augusta, GA.
- 2016 offensive tackle Tyler Pritchett of Calera, AL.
- 2016 quarterback Messiah deWeaver of Dayton, OH.
From the list it seems Ohio will be a primary target yet again for UK's next recruiting class. UK likely stands a stronger chance of signing blue chip prospects in Ohio given the majority of Ohio State's top targets may be elsewhere. If OSU's focus is mainly out of state that likely helps UK's efforts in Ohio in 2015. Also, it will continue to solidify and expand the UK brand in The Buckeye State which won't hurt in future head-to-head recruiting battles against OSU.
We should learn after the weekend which recruits did in fact attend. In the meantime, I wouldn't get too concerned about the specifics of this list. What's important is getting quality recruits to Lexington this early in their recruitment. An electric atmosphere could spark an enthusiasm that last for their recruitment.
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