Since Mark Stoops became head coach, football recruiting has become a complicated mixed bag. The ratings services keep changing who has an offer and who doesn’t. Let me give you an example. 247 Sports had Kentucky offering 222 recruits a few days ago. On Friday morning, 247 Sports showed Kentucky with 197 offers.
Here's just a couple of examples of players who were offered that 247 Sports now says were not offered. Emmitt Smith (LB, Warren East) and Austin Seibert (K, Belleville, IL) both had offers, according to 247 Sports, Rivals, Scout and KSR (now affiliated with 247 Sports). Smith and Siebert were discussed on Twitter by all four of the above sites and Siebert and Smith both made it known on Twitter that they were offered.
Emmitt Smith: Scout, Rivals and 247 Sports showed him with a Kentucky offer a couple of weeks ago. Rivals no longer shows an offer as you can see here. 247 Sports also no longer shows a UK offer for Smith as you can see here. Scout, however, continues to show an offer.
Austin Siebert: Scout, Rivals and 247 Sports showed him with a Kentucky offer a couple of weeks ago. Scout and Rivals still show an offer. 247 Sports is inconsistent on Seibert to put it kindly. If you search 247 Sports for Kentucky's offer list, you won't see Seibert having an offer. In fact, if you visit their Target List, you won't find him there either. Oddly enough, you WILL find him having a UK offer if you click on his profile.
This kind of inconsistency makes it difficult to prepare the Big Board which will be published sometime next week. There are several things I like about 247 Sports, particularly their player profiles. I also think that their player recruiting timelines are very helpful. I can't stand how they rate players and pay no attention to their player rankings. Their crystal ball predictions are just as often wrong as they are correct. I am also finding that the player interest shown is worthless, so I will be dropping that.
I will be relying on Paul Nelson's Rank By Offers (RBO) by ranking players with top 25 offers. Rank By Offers has fewer biases than the four recruiting services, in my opinion. If you've ever thought that players' ratings and rankings suffered because they signed with Kentucky, you'll gain an appreciation for RBO. The biases within RBO have to do with early commitments maybe not receiving as many offers as they might have if they waited until late in the recruiting season. Ranking players by number of offers and particularly by offers from top 25 schools seems, to me, a better way of determining who the elite players are because of the offers they receive. RBO's top 25 ranking can be debated, but you can only argue the methodology and not the content. You might also consider the concept that coaches are better evaluators than the recruiting services' experts.
I will also use Nike's player rankings for The Opening. Nike isn't a ratings service per se, they rank players for their The Opening which has become THE camp for recruits. If a player is invited to The Opening, you know he is an elite player. The Opening includes the Elite 11 camp for quarterbacks. To be invited to The Opening, players must attend the Nike Football Training Camps (NFTC) where they are evaluated by former NFL and college players and coaches and not evaluated by "experts" (who may or not be experts). You can check out the Nike information for The Opening and the NFTCs at Studentsports.com.
I also read tweets put out by Patrick Loney at Kentucky Scout and Justin Rowland at Cats Illustrated. I search for players and other sites who claim that a recruit has received an offer. Prep Force and Varsity Preps are site I visit often.
Several of these tips are posted by the players themselves via Twitter. If a player says he has an offer from Kentucky, our ASoB Big Board will show him with an offer. As always, I am not concerned with the "committable" argument. You will see why below in the Orlando Sentinel's article concerning a UK recruit who committed to Miami.
You can get an idea how serious an offer might be by looking at who the Kentucky recruiter is. If our recruiter isn't listed and, instead, has a question mark, you can assume that the offer isn't as serious as one who has our recruiter's name. Or, the recruit was offered when he visited our campus. Sometimes offers are made just to see if there is any interest from the player. Stoops and Company seemingly has a policy that a player and his family should visit our campus before they are "allowed" to commit, or they must make a commitment for a visit with their family.
A few players to look and watch for:
Kissimmee, FL LB Riley Nicholson was visiting the UK campus yesterday (the 10th) and tweeted, "Had a great visit today," and "Kentucky's Gorgeous, man." He has an offer. (Source: Patrick Loney Twitter)
USF Scout writer, Corey Bender tweeted that Kentucky has offered Miami Killian DB Sheldrick Redwine. He's a West Virginia commit. (Source: Patrick Loney Twitter)
Betsy Lane's Blake Spencer has signed with Kentucky, according to his tweet to Patrick Loney.
Spencer is a 2014 LB recruit which is why he could sign with the Cats. (Source: Patrick Loney Twitter)
SleeperAthletes reported yesterday that Alpharetta, GA DE Andrew Butcher was offered yesterday (Friday) by Kentucky. He's a Tennessee Commit. (Source: Patrick Loney Twitter)
Luke Hiers visited both Kentucky and Louisville this week and UL fans were not pleased that he kept Kentucky as his favorite. Read about it at KSR. They seem to be P.I.S.T. that he likes UK's academics much better than Louisville. (Source: Patrick Loney Twitter & KSR)
Murfreesboro, TN DB Tyler Black visited UK (Saturday) as did Apopka FB/ATH Chandler Cox. Cox tweeted that he loved his conversation with Stoops. He also tweeted that:" I love this place! I will be back! Go Cats!" (Source: Patrick Loney Twitter) Cox is one of my favorites because he plays so many positions. If you'll recall, he stepped in as Apopka's QB after Zack Darlington (Nebraska commit) went down in Apopka's first game this past season. Cox has the heart of a lion.
Nashville, TN QB Isiah Upton was in town (Saturday) and received an offer. (Source: Patrick Loney Twitter)
UK JUCO recruit Darrion Landry featured at Varsity Preps.
North Carolina commit TE (Connecticut) Chris Clark tweeted this Saturday night:
My recruitment is wide open
Apparently, his verbal to UNC was very soft and he's reopened his recruiting. That's if he actually committed. 247 Sports showed a commitment, but no longer has him listed. Anyway, he's planning on visiting Penn St., Notre Dame and Ohio St. I'm not sure he is interested in Kentucky, but it would be huge if Stoops can work some magic. (Source: Patrick Loney Twitter)
One final thought...Don't ever, EVER, move during the Final Four. I had to drive 18 miles round trip to watch the semi-final game against Michigan because Brighthouse Cable failed to hook up my cable at the new house on the day they were supposed to do so. I finally got cable service late Monday afternoon and was able to watch the final at my box-strewn new home. Anyway, I am very proud of our basketball team after all they went through this season.