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Kentucky Football Recruiting: Three Classes

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Analyzing the 2015 recruiting class and beyond.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

You have to wonder if the Damien Harris decision has hurt Kentucky’s recruiting. The Wildcats haven’t received a commitment from the class of 2015 since 12/4/14. While others seem to be getting theirs, we have fallen to #37 in the Rivals Rankings for 2015. There is, however, activity with regard to the 2015, 2016, and 2017 classes.

2015

DT Davon Hamilton from Pickerington, OH was our last 2015 commitment, and he's a huge get since we need defensive linemen. That's the good news. There are rumors that Hialeah, FL DB Jeremiah Dinson's commitment is turning soft. That's the bad news. Where does the 2015 class stand?

As of this moment, no news is no news, UNLESS you consider:

Duncan, SC 3* WR Tavin Richardson is coming for his official visit next weekend and his decision will be on January 30th. He cancelled a planned visit to Louisville this weekend. On Sunday, Kentucky offered JUCO WR 6'-6" Kayaune Ross from Phoenix College in Arizona. Here's a little tidbit for you. Coming out of high school, he was the #3 WR who committed to Wisconsin. Oh yeah, he's from West Chester, OH Lakota West HS. Guess who's recruiting him for UK?

With the Harris decision made and, the news that Braylon Heard will enter the NFL draft, there are now two RB spots open. Stoops & Company may try to flip Pitt commit 4* RB Darrin Hall from Youngstown, OH. I don't think Stoops has quite given up on Harris yet especially with the changes at Alabama. Harris is maintaining that he is firmly committed to the Tide even after his primary recruiter, Kevin Steele, left for LSU.

Gainesville, GA 3* DB Chris Williamson was, according to this article in the Herald-Leader,  planning a visit to Lexington on January 23rd, but he's just received offers from Auburn and Michigan. He has an impressive list of offers which usually means he is better than his 3* rating.

4* DB Marcus Lewis is the Wildcats' top target and he's still showing warm interest in the Cats. His top three are Kentucky, Miami and Washington St.  For some reason, I just don't see a kid from the DMV going to Washington State. Can Kentucky beat out Miami? South Beach is very a appealing if you've never been to Miami. That being said, he claims Kentucky is his favorite.

Current Alabama commit and former Kentucky commit, Montrell Custis, supposedly was in Lexington for a visit last weekend. This article might explain why. There is also another reason. Apparently, his two brothers, Travis and Trayveon, will also be visiting. Travis is a RB who will finish his JUCO at Hutchinson C.C. in Kansas in May, and will be able to play in the fall and have 4 years to play three. Trayveon is an unranked and unrated DB who also played for Lovejoy HS in Georgia with Montrell. The rumor going around is that the three brothers might be a package deal. Travis has a Kentucky offer, according to Scout.

Our staff is also trying to flip 4* DB and Michigan commit Tyree Kinnel from Dayton, OH and 4* linebacker Josh Smith away from Vanderbilt. Both, however, may be wasted efforts.

Shannon Dawson offered Clinton, LA Rivals 3* defensive tackle Jozie Milton this week. He was once a South Carolina commitment who flipped to TCU in December.  Vince Marrow offered Westchester, OH 2*OL Nolan Ulizio in an effort to flip him from Pitt. Pitt flipped him from UConn. He's apparently very excited about his latest offer from Michigan. Wisconsin commit DB Titus Booker, who was offered by the Cats on Jan. 14th, will be visiting Lexington on the 23rd. The staff continues to try to lure 3* St. Thomas Aquinas DB Rahshard Causey away from Florida Atlantic. News from this weekend is that Causey has de-committed from FAU.

Players who I believe Stoops is still recruiting are 3* OL Rob Dowdy (Westerville, OH), 3* DL Javon Provitt (Warren, OH) 2* DL Anthony Rush (Cary, NC),   and, 3* DB Nate Dalton (Houston, TX).

Also, Texas 3* WR A. D. Miller received an in-home visit from Shannon Dawson and Tommy Mainard and de-committed from Illinois afterward. Kentucky's Texas native, WR T.V. Williams, is also trying to get him to commit to Kentucky via Twitter. The same can be said for Thaddeus Snodgrass.

There are a few that I don't believe Kentucky would turn down, if they wanted to become Wildcats, that are still on the board:

The problem with this list of players is that we have no idea if they meet entrance requirements or if they are just waiting for National Signing Day to announce. None have given Kentucky serious consideration, but you just never know.

Kentucky put out 302 offers in one form or another for the 2015 class and there may be more between now and the February 4th National Signing Day. Had Harris picked the in-state school, Kentucky's rank would have been much better than #37 and I believe we might have received a couple of other commitments as a result.

Well, there's no point crying over spilled milk. The lack of commitments may be a Stoops strategy because there are still a lot of good players available. There will be a lot of activity between now and NSD that should prove to be exciting for the BBN.

We also have to look forward to the future. So, let's look at the 2016 and 2017 classes. The Cats have already offered 123 in one way or another for the 2016 class and 31 offers for the 2017 class.

2016

Kentucky's 2016 efforts has already brought results in the form of six commitments. Four are Kentucky kids: 3* DB Davonte Robinson from Henry Clay, Woodford County's 4* OL Drake Jackson, McCracken County's 3* ATH  Zy'Aire Hughes and Lafayette's 3* OL  Landon Young. Also, Ashland's  3* legacy RB Quinton Baker is considering re-committing to the Cats.

Our other two commitments are 3* DB Jordan Griffin from Jonesboro, GA and 3* LB Roland Walder from Trotwood, OH.

Kentucky's staff has made contact with 218 players, including the 123 that have been offered.  Of those offered, the following are showing interest: 4*Arlington, TX QB Shane Buechele, 4* Atlanta, GA RB Elijah Holyfield, 3* Orlando, FL RB Tyrek Tisdale, unranked Westerville, OH Ben Snell, 4* Melbourne, FL WR Tre Nixon, 3* Winter Garden, FL WR Eddie McDoom, 3* Louisville Male WR Keion Wakefield, 4* Washington, DC DE/TE Devante Brooks, unranked Akron, OH  TE Jonah Morris, unranked Marietta, GA TE Sam Letton, 3* Sylvania, OH OL Luke Fortner, unranked Auburn, AL OL Tyler Pritchett, 4* Baltimore, MD DE Rahshaun Smith, 3* Columbus, GA DL T.J. London, unranked Phenix City, AL LB Jamal Couch, 4* Phenix City, AL DB John Broussard, 4* Lake Wales, FL DB Josh Dunn, 3* Nashville, TN DB Rontavius Groves, unranked Tyrone, GA DB Javon Jackson, unranked Atlanta, GA DB Monquavion Brinson and, 4* Pompano Beach, FL DB Trayvon Mullen.

2017

For 2017, we've already garnered interest from 247 Sports 5* Indiana QB Hunter Johnson and Ohio 4* WR Danny Davis. Three legacy players also are interested in the Cats: unranked Ohio WR Craig Yeast II, 5* Ohio OL Josh Meyers, and unranked Maryland ATH Joshua Paschal. Kentucky also received a warm reception from Lexington Lafayette's OL Jedrick Willis and 4* Ohio DB Marcus Williamson.

Kentucky has offered and is looking at a total of 42 players. Kentucky hasn't yet offered current commit Jeremiah Dinson's brother, Joshua who is a DB. He will probably commit to Kentucky if Jeremiah's commitment sticks.

There is one other that I know is interested in Kentucky: Suwanee, GA LB /FB Mac Redmond.  He plays for Lambert HS, a Georgia 6A HS (large school). He started as a freshman. He hasn't been rated yet, but will be attending Nike and Rivals camps in addition to UGA and, hopefully, Kentucky camps over the spring and summer. He's already been contacted by the Kentucky staff by mail. Mac's dad, Tom, has sent me his Hudl highlights and you might want to take a look. For a sophomore, he's got a linebacker's size at 6'1" and 225 lbs. With two more years in high school he can get even bigger and stronger and could very well wind up as a hybrid LB/DE like Bud  Dupree. You can show Mac some BBN love at his Twitter address: @macredmond20.

Interest in Kentucky remains strong in spite of our inability to win that 6th game this year. The question is will it last if we fail to win six games next season? Before you answer, think about David Cutcliff over at Duke. He didn't have a winning record until his sixth season until 2013. The last two years, his record has been 10-4 and 9-4 respectively and at Ole Miss he didn't have a winning season until his 5th year. How much time will Kentucky fans give Mark Stoops?

What makes thing all the more confusing is all the coaching changes going on. We still have that Special Team coaching spot open, but have filled the OC position. Vince Marrow almost went to Michigan, but Stoops and Barnhart convinced him to stay. Now, it seems Derrick Ansley might be on Alabama's list for a position coach, according to AL.com.

Why: Ansley, who grew up in Tallassee, has aggressively recruited the state of Alabama for the Wildcats. He is frequently mentioned by recruits as the college coach recruiting them the hardest. He's young, has good connections throughout the state and does a good job of establishing rapports with recruits. He helped recruit offensive lineman Logan Stenberg, who impressed at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. His work hasn't exactly translated to multiple commitments yet, but he's one to watch over the next few years.

While we have no Yahtzees to report, the action is hot and heavy. Expect a ST coach announcement this week.