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Kentucky Football 2015 Signing Class: Defensive Backs

Meet UK's newest members of the secondary.

Derrick Baity
Derrick Baity
Student Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats took five secondary recruits in 2015. Of the five, Marcus Walker will be a safety, Kei Beckham  is a corner, Chris Westry could be either, Derrick Baity is probably a safety, and William Jackson will reportedly play corner. UK seemed determined to take at least five defensive backs in this class   One thing they all have in common as a group is their length and height. The days of 5'9'' corners appears to be long gone.

247 Sports Profile 247 Sports Composite Ranking Yahtzee Post HUDL Highlights
Marcus Walker 3 Star (0.876) Link Link
Kei Beckham 3 Star (0.863) N/A Link
Chris Westry 3 Star (0.846) Link Link
Derrick Baity 3 Star (0.843) Link Link
William Jackson 2 Star (0.773) N/A Link

Walker was one of UK's biggest recruits at the time of his commitment along with Eli Brown. He later opened his recruitment back up this summer, only to recommit to UK in late summer and stay with the 'Cats the rest of the way. That's not typically how recruitments go down. By all accounts, Walker is one of the more highly thought of recruits in this class. Pegged for the safety position, Walker likely redshirts this season with returning starters AJ Stamps and Marcus McWilson returning along with primary back-ups Glenn Faulkner and Zack Blaylock. Mike Edwards and Darius West were two highly-rated safeties from the 2014 Class that will be competing for playing time as well.

Kei Beckham committed to the Wildcats last summer while camping with the team. That's usually an indicator the coaches were evaluating him in person. Apparently he passed the test, and there are few better evaluators of secondary talent than Mark Stoops. Beckham has a strong pedigree coming out of the Trotwood-Madison football program where he undoubtedly learned how to prepare and win.

Beckham is a likely redshirt candidate. UK returns both starting corners in Cody Quinn and Fred Tiller along with key reserve JD Harmon. Blake McClain and Kendall Randolph will also take the field when UK goes into it's nickel package. Jaleel Hytchye and Jared Tucker will also be competing for playing time. This is another deep defensive position that makes it hard for a true freshman to immediately compete for playing time.

Chris Westry was originally an Auburn commit, and he essentially traded places with UK commit Jeremiah Dinson who shortly later landed at Auburn. Westry is an extremely tall defensive back which increases his potential, but it does make it harder to project his final position. Westry currently has a listed weight of 185 pounds on his 6'4'' frame, but how much weight he puts on in the next two years will probably dictate where he plays. If he puts on 15-25 (almost assured) he probably ends up at safety or nickelback. If he puts on more than 25 a call will be made to determine if he should move into the linebacker corps. He certainly wouldn't be the first high school safety that develops into a linebacker over time. Suffice it to say, I think Westry redshirts this season while the coaches find the best position for him on the scout team.

Derrick Baity joined UK's ranks on National Signing Day Eve over offers from Central Florida and South Florida. The 6'2'' 185 pound safety plays at Tamp Plant HS which is churns out FBS quality recruits nearly every season. Baity was probably not in the picture prior to the decommitment of UK's previous safety target Andrew Dowell. Nonetheless, following the Dowell's decommitment from UK on the 27th of January, Baity was visited Lexington within three days. The coaching staff were prepared with a back-up plan, and Baity is a "prettay prettay" good back-up plan. Baity, like Walker, likely redshirts this season due to not arriving on campus until this summer and the depth at safety.

William Jackson committed earlier today to UK over Wake Forest. He has great size for a corner at 6'3'' which, again, Mark Stoops has emphasized for the secondary. Jackson hails from Washington DC which makes the third signee from that area along with Jabari Greenwood and Levon Livingston. I don't know much about Jackson, but I hesitate to say he'll break through the corner ranks previously described. You can't teach that size, though, and that will give him a chance to play early - likely at the boundary corner.