Kentucky hosted another Junior Day over the weekend, and the yield was the Wildcats' twelfth and thirteenth football commitments. These commitments encapsulated at least two UK recruiting themes that have emerged as of late. First, Mark Stoops has talked for the last year that UK needs to add size and length to the roster. In the 2015 Signing Class, that requirement was most noticeable at the receiver and defensive back positions. Over the weekend, the latest two recruits are almost certainly in the top 90th percentile for their respective positions.
Second, Mark Stoops has repeatedly told the media that UK recruits Kentucky and Ohio like they are a single mega-state. Both states get the same level of emphasis and resources on discovering, evaluating, and recruiting talent. This weekend's recruits were both from Ohio, and the 2016 Class now has seven commits from Ohio. Ohio reportedly has a lot of talent this cycle, and 2016 is a deep year for Kentucky talent.
Applying lessons learned from less than two months ago, we know that NSD 2016 is a very, very long way from now. Any number of variables could impact the make-up of this recruiting class, ranging from UK's season win total to if Ohio State or other blue-blood programs take an interest in any of UK's commits. No doubt, the staff in Lexington would not be opposed if their B1G competition were able to land their top-shelf targets around the country, and thereby didn't have the need to attempt a raid of UK's coffers.
Nonetheless, football recruiting is off to a stronger start than most, if not all, would have predicted a month ago.
So Who Are These New Recruits?
The first commitment to go public was from Jaylin Bannerman, a 6'6'' 215 pound outside linebacker who lists offers from Illinois, Toledo, and Miami (OH). Bannerman is a 247 Sports Composite three star. That's a pretty tremendous frame, and with by attending the summer camp circuit this summer, along with a strong senior season, Bannerman was likely destined to get more offers down the road. Bannerman's weight, quickness, and roster needs several years from now will probably determine if he stays at outside linebacker or if he moves to defensive line. In the meantime, he fits the staff's habit of recruiting for versatility.
The second commit to go public over the weekend was a 6'7'' receiver/tight end also hailing from Ohio. Holtzclaw is a 247 Sports Composite three star who had previously drawn interest from Duke and Pitt. He reportedly has also been time running the 40 yard spring in 4.55 seconds. If that number is even remotely close to the truth, UK will be hard-pressed to hold off other suitors as the year progresses.
A few things stand out from his highlight tape to me. He makes plays when he's covered, and at 2:00 minute mark he finds the pocket in the three deep zone and gets stationary instead of running into the zone (he also catches the ball away from his body on the play). That displays some savvy and his coach-ability, which he'll definitely need at the next level.