Austin Kendall is ranked as one of the best quarterbacks in the 2016 Class, according to both the Rivals and 247 Sports rankings. Less than a month ago, Kendall was trending towards committing to Kentucky fresh off his decommitment from Tennessee (we covered it here). Tonight, Kendall went public with his commitment to Oklahoma:
Hindsight suggests Kendall winding up in Lexington was unlikely to happen. At the moment of his decommitment from UT, he probably would have committed shortly thereafter to UK if that's where he wanted to be. Instead, he took visits to Auburn and Oklahoma indicating he was keeping his options up which was obviously in his best interest. I don't know a lot about Oklahoma's recruiting, but I have to think this is newly hired offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley's first big haul for the Sooner program. Finally, Kendall's brother being a walk-on at UK was probably overplayed by we wishful thinkers. Best of luck to Kendall!
I'm not sure where UK goes from here. Undoubtedly they've had back-up options ready to go the moment Kendall starting taking visits if not well before. At one time last cycle, Messiah DeWeaver had visited, and his name was bandied about social media quite a bit. His decision is also apparently happening soon. Shannon Dawson's system should be appealing to most three star quarterbacks, and with some wins this season (winning ball games is THE silver bullet for UK's recruiting success) they'll likely draw the attention of some blue-chip quarterbacks down the line.
In short, I'm not as worried about quarterback recruiting as some others. Maybe I should be more concerned, but here's my thinking: Towles, Barker, and Phillips all have multiple seasons still in front of them, and I judge Dawson will likely "coach them up" to levels they've yet to hit. UK should - and in all likelihood will - sign a quarterback in 2016, but he doesn't have to be a "homerun" recruit either. I continue to think the "get a big quarterback commitment to be a catalyst for future recruiting success" to be dubious.
Lastly, I wrote nearly a year ago that great quarterback seasons at UK since 2007 have not correlated to more victories (and Lewke in the comments pulls the nation-wide numbers). Last season didn't change my mind: there are more important factors for total victories than this one position.