Kentucky has nine commitments, three Rivals four stars and six three stars. As of June 15th, the 2013 class had two commitments under Joker Phillips, and the 2014 class had 15. After Stoops came on board in December 2012 after Phillips was fired, he pulled in 4* Zadarius Smith on 12/19/12 and wound up with 23 recruits and a Rivals ranking of 29th. The buzz began, really, with the hiring of Stoops and taking Kentucky to that 29th ranking. The buzz didn't let up as the commitments started coming in beginning 3/22/13 with the Dorian Hendrix commitment. It really took off to new heights with Drew Barker's commitment on 5/10/13. Kentucky would rise as high as the # 1 class for a period of time over last summer and by National Signing Day, the Cats ranked 17th.
The nine players who have committed so far are all good players, regardless of their Rivals ratings. Eli Brown, C.J. Conrad and Luke Hiers are legitimate four star players and Conrad has shown brightly at every camp he's been to. Hiers and Mason Wolfe did very well at the recent Nike National Training Camp at Columbus, placing in the top five for offensive linemen. Our nine commitments are good enough to have us ranked 24th in the Rivals Team Rankings.
We started off this year with a bang as Marcus Lewis and Marcus Walker were our first commitments. Both have since de-committed. Lewis committed to Florida and Walker is looking for more offers. The possibility of losing Alex Stump is now upon us. He says he's firmly committed to Kentucky, but has picked up an offer from Stanford and plans to take a trip to Palo Alto. You can read about it here.
It seems to me that our consecutive 2-10 seasons has a lot of recruits taking a wait and see attitude. If you follow Patrick Loney and Justin Rowland on Twitter, you see a lot of players saying their visits were great, yet they are not making a commitment.
Kentucky has refused to take a commitment from some players, so they've committed elsewhere. The coaching staff appears to be waiting for something to happen and it could be costing us. I'll give you one example. Quandeski Whitlow, Jalen Whitlow's cousin, was projected by the 247 Sports Crystal Ball as a Kentucky commitment. He visited Kentucky and South Carolina the last few days. He committed to South Carolina yesterday (6/16/14).
We've also lost three who were offered by Kentucky to Louisville: 3* RB James Allen from Citrus, FL, NR TE Johnathon Greenard from Hiram, GA, and 3* DE Troy Thingstad from Mobile, AL . Some are saying that Greenard wanted to commit to Kentucky, but the staff wouldn't accept his commitment.
So, are we waiting on George Brown? He says he's planning on announcing on June 28th. The (5.9) 4* from Winton Woods is one of our major targets and the 247 Crystal Ball projects him as a Kentucky commitment.
We can't be waiting on Damien Harris because he's known to be waiting to see how the Cats do in the 2014 season, meaning he's not going to announce until our season is over. Nick Conner is a player the staff wants, but he just received a game changing offer from Ohio State and promptly committed last night.
All I know is that there seems to be a degree of apathy going on because of the lack of commitments. The forums at Scout and Rivals are not showing much activity with regard to recruiting and the lack of comments about football recruiting news here at ASoB tells me our readers aren't all that interested either. It seems like everyone in the Big Blue Nation is waiting for something to happen.
Here's who 247 Sports projects to announce for Kentucky (in addition to George Brown) Rivals rated:
(5.7) 3* WR Jabari Greenwood - Washington, DC Gonzaga
(5.7) 3* DB Marcus Walker - Lake Wales, FL Lake Mary
(5.5) 3* DL Anthony Rush - Cary, NC
(5.5) 3* LB Matthew Draper - Cleveland, OH Brush
(5.7) 3* DB Kei Beckham - Dayton, OH Trotwood-Madison
(5.6) 3* OL George Asafo-Adjei - West Chester, OH Lakota West. The Cats are in his top 4.
(5.5) 3* RB C.J. Amil - Youngstown, OH Cardinal Mooney
(5.6) 3* RB Vincent Perry - Nashville, TN Hillsboro
(5.5) 3* QB Isiah Upton - Nashville, TN East Nashville Magnet
(5.4) 2* DB Michael Lacey - Nashville, TN Montgomery Bell
(5.5) 3* WR Darrion Landry - Brenham, TX Blinn C.C.
(5.7) 3* DB Jahque Alleyne - Virginia Beach, VA Ocean Lakes
Most of these players should get higher ratings after their seasons, so don't jump to any conclusions at this time.
There are others who are warm towards Kentucky, according to 247. Here's the list with their Rivals ratings:
(5.5) 3* TE Jalen Harris - Montgomery, AL St. James (projected to commit to Auburn)
(5.9) 4* OL Darryl Williams - Bessemer, AL City (projected to commit to Auburn) Kentucky is in his top 5.
(5.7) 3* LB Amonte Caban - Smith's Station, AL (projected to commit to Mississippi State)
(5.7) 3* DB Darius Smith - Florence, AL
(5.6) 3* WR Justin Johnson - Hoover, AL (projected to commit to Mississippi State)
(5.5) 3* ATH Jack Reed - Citra, FL North Marion
(5.7) 3* DB Damon Arnette - Ft. Lauderdale, FL St. Thomas Aquinas (projected to commit to South Carolina)
(5.5) 3* WR Nicholas Westbrook - Lake Mary, FL
(5.5) 3* WR Therrell Gosier - Pompano Beach, FL Blanche Ely (projected to commit to West Virginia)
(5.6) 3* WR Trevill Holcy - St. Cloud, FL
(5.8) 4* WR Ryan Davis - St. Petersburg, FL Lakewood
NR DB Antre Turman - Fairburn, GA Creekside
(5.3) 2* WR Tae Crowder - Hamilton, GA Harris County
(5.6) 3* DE Tyrone Riley - Savannah, GA Calvary Baptist
(6.1) 5* RB Damien Harris - Berea, KY Madison Southern (projected to commit to Ohio State)
(5.8) 4* DE Darius Fullwood - Olney, MD Good Counsel (projected to commit to Ohio State)
(5.5) 3* OL Martinas Rankin - Perkinston, MS Gulf Coast C.C.
(5.9) 4* WR Alex Ofodile - Columbia, MO Rock Bridge (projected to commit to Missouri)
(5.7) 3* DE/DL Kengera (K.C.) Daniel Raleigh, NC Millbrook (projected to commit to Florida State)
(5.6) 3* DE Dre'Mont Jones - Cleveland, OH St. Ignatius (projected to commit to Ohio State)
(5.7) 3* LB Anthony McKee - Columbus, OH Walnut Ridge (projected to commit to Michigan State)
NR LS Liam McCullough - Columbus, OH Kilbourne (projected to commit to Ohio State)
NR DL Javon Provitt - Warren, OH Warren G. Harding
(5.8) 4* LB C.J. Stalker - West Chester, OH Lakota West (projected to commit to Virginia Tech)
(5.8) 4* RB Darrin Hall - Youngstown, OH Austintown Fitch (projected to commit to Michigan State)
(5.7) 3* WR Tavin Richardson - Duncan, SC Byrnes (projected to commit to Pittsburgh)
(5.5) 3* OL Nathan Gilliam - Knoxville, TN Farragut
(5.8) 4* LB Josh Smith - Murfreesboro, TN Oakland (projected to commit to Vanderbilt)
(5.7) 3* RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn - Nashville, TN Pearl Cohn
(5.4) 2* DB Jameel Cook - Missouri City, TX Ridge Point
There are other players who have Kentucky listed in their top 10 or 15 such as:
(6.1) 5* DL Daron Payne - Irondale, AL Shades Valley. He lists Kentucky as a darkhorse. (projected to commit to Alabama)
(6.1) 5* DL Rasheem Green - Gardena Serra, CA lists Kentucky in his top 15 schools. (projected to commit to Southern California)
(5.9) 4* RB Nick Gibson - Pinson Valley, AL. He has mentioned Kentucky a few times. (projected to commit to Alabama)
(5.5) 3* DE Jason Strowbridge - Deerfield Beach, FL. Came for a visit this past week and plans to come again. (projected to commit to Florida)
(6.1) 5* DL CeCe Jefferson - Glen St. Mary, FL Baker County. Has mentioned Kentucky a few times. (projected to commit to Florida)
(5.9) 4* RB RayRay McCloud III - Tampa, FL Sickles. Was very interested in the Cats early on. (projected to commit to Florida)
(6.0) 4* WR George Campbell - Talked with Damien Harris about playing together and mentioned BBN. (projected to commit to Florida)
(5.5) 3* DL DaQuan Hawkins - Atlanta, GA Westlake. Visited UK this week and said he loved it.
(5.9) 4* DL D.J. Jones - Scooba, MS East Mississippi C.C. likes Jimmy Brumbaugh
These players in this last list are long shots, at best. Another long shot is Clemson commit (5.6) 3* QB Tucker Israel. Neal Brown really wants him in his offense. Clemson has a commitment from another QB: (5.9) 4* Kelly Bryant. If Israel isn't happy about it, Brown could possibly flip him and bring fellow Lake Nona team mate WR Deondre Farrier with him to Kentucky. Farrier recently de-committed from Florida.
Kentucky has offered 276 players, by my count, and continues to make offers. The pace us slowing down, however, as the staff is looking forward to the 2016 class during this camp period. They are inviting 2015 prospects to visit during this period and those have come seem like what they see at UK.
Stoops announced at the beginning of this recruiting cycle that he planned on a 2015 class of 25 recruits. Since then, the team has lost Jalen Whitlow and Dyshawn Mobley to transfer. The breaking news is that Josh Harris is transferring and Alvin Davis is giving up his 5th year. It is also rumored that the Davis twins won't be enrolling. That opens up four to six spots for Stoops to work with, either through recruiting or giving the scholarships to transfers and/or walk-ons who may have earned one.
So, while there doesn't seem to be any buzz this year, the fireworks could go off if this coaching staff can win some games. Significant improvement (5 or 6 wins) could mean a bonanza in recruiting. Less than four wins could mean the end of the honeymoon. Remember, however, that Matt Elam tweeted that this class will be better than the 2014 class.