Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats picked up their 16th commitment today when Raleigh, NC defensive end Kengera Daniel reportedly chose the BBN over NC State, Virginia, and Louisville. Online reports suggests Alabama had shown him some interest as well. Daniel is rated as a composite three star and the 23rd best weak-side defensive end in the country, according to 247. The 6'4'' 245 pounder had officially visited Lexington on October 4th to take in UK's upset win over South Carolina. Daniel got "Internet famous" a few months ago when modern recruiting tactics combined his likeness with celebrity culture, poor Photoshop, and questionable taste.
Daniel is a very important commitment to this class. The 2015 Class only has one committed defensive lineman in Jason Strowbridge (after the decommitment of Darius Fullwood), and UK is probably prioritizing this unit to close out the class. A glance at the roster reinforces the current necessity of signing defensive linemen in 2015. Bud Dupree, Za'Darius Smith are seniors. Farrington Huguenin will return for his senior season in 2015, Tymere Dubose will be a redshirt freshman, and no one knows how Lloyd Tubman's legal situation will turn out at this point. That's not a lot of depth assuming UK still runs a base 3-4 front next season (the validity of which I intend on exploring after the season).
Daniel's frame gives every indication that he'll easily fill out after some time with Erik Korem and "Mama Fowler". I don't see any reason he couldn't put on twenty to twenty-five pounds in his redshirt year, and be a comparable weight to Dupree and Smith by the time he sees the field. If he does that, he'll definitely see early playing time given the current roster make-up.
Highlight Tape Impressions
Let's watch him work:
Daniel looks to have good speed and quickness out on the edge. He shows discipline in maintaining his assigned gap, and displays a physicality to take on pulling lineman and still make the tackle. He's got a good first step and usually has his blocker beat immediately after the ball is snapped. He shows off some raw technique using his hands against blockers in the pass rush, and bends the corner well when in pursuit of the quarterback. He displays a good motor and continues to pursue the ball carrier outside his area.
Daniel seems like he's gotten quicker in his senior year compared to his junior highlight tape when he was disruptive, but not as authoritatively ending plays as his senior year tape suggests. Daniel likely redshirts his freshman season, but should be a regular contributor after two years in the program.