The Kentucky Wildcats took three linebackers in the 2015 class. UK needed to emphasize quality linebackers in this class -along with offensive tackles and tight ends - and these are recruits that UK was reportedly very happy to land. Currently, I suspect Brown and Jones will be the inside linebackers in UK's 3-4 base defense. Joshua Allen was originally thought to be a defensive end, but it was later reported he'll be an outside linebacker. If he puts on weight, he could have a Bud Dupree like role where he's a OLB in the 3-4 front, but move to a traditional defensive end in 4 man fronts.
|247 Sports Profile||247 Sports Composite Ranking||Yahtzee Post||HUDL Highlights|
|Eli Brown||4 Star (0.906)||Link||Link|
|Jordan Jones||3 Star (0.878)||Link||Link|
|Joshua Allen||2 Star (0.796)||Link||Link|
Eli Brown is an important signee for this class. Along with Mason Wolfe, he is the only other Kentucky native in this signing class. He committed early, never wavered, and some would say he gave UK positive recruiting momentum last spring and summer. Getting a linebacker like Brown was also important for roster purposes. UK only has eight scholarship inside linebackers on the roster (I'm counting Nebraska transfer Courtney Love), and four of those will be seniors next season. Along with Love, the rest will be redshirt freshmen.
UK needed inside linebackers for 2016 and beyond. Brown is reportedly wanting to take a redshirt this season which is almost certainly in his interest being 190 pounds. Finally, his first highlight in his HUDL video is against my old high school. Hurray?
Jordan Jones is an alum of Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow's high school, and they mentioned recently that because of that they were probably aware of Jones before other programs. Good thing too, because around the time of his commitment it was reported that the Michigan schools were starting to take an interest in him. His early commitment may have discouraged other programs from seriously recruiting him. He also enrolled early and that should give him a step up on the rest of his linebacker class.
I suspect Jones will redshirt along with Brown this season. I have a hard time imagining a freshman, even one who enrolled early, can usurp Josh Forrest, Khalid Henderson, Ryan Flannigan, or potentially Courtney Love.
What was your reaction when you heard about Joshua Allen's commitment? There didn't seem to be much middle ground on the UK Twitter or blogosphere in my experience. He was the epitome of a recruit flying under the radar. A senior year transfer to another state will do that, but the peculiarities of New Jersey recruiting apparently dictate that if Rutgers doesn't offer a kid other programs don't know about him. His high school coach, of a major New Jersey HS football program, raves about him which probably went a long way to ameliorating wide swaths of BBN.
Allen likely redshirts this season but that's more because of his current size and not enrolling early than because of the roster. UK has outside linebackers Jason Hatcher and Jabari Johnson returning, but their primary depth will be provided by redshirt freshman Denzil Ware. I suspected this signing period that UK would look for a JUCO outside linebacker to help next year, but that didn't seem to pan out as of NSD. In the spring the coaches may experiment moving some of the inside linebackers to outside backer positions, or possibly play even more 4 man fronts.