The Kentucky Wildcats are already poised to finish 2016 with one of the best recruiting classes in recent memory, and it just got better.
UK has added a much-needed piece in the form of a quarterback after losing Reese Phillips and Patrick Towles to transfers this offseason. That's come by junior college quarterback Stephen Johnson II committing to the Cats while planning to sign and enroll for the spring semester.
This has been a fast recruitment between the Cats and Johnson. It wasn't until late December that UK offered a scholarship to the three-star College of the Desert quarterback. The reason being is it was new offensive coordinator Eddie Gran that decided to pursue Johnson after evaluating several 2016 and 2017 QB prospects.
When Gran and UK did offer Johnson, he immediately announced the news on Twitter, saying, "Truly blessed to have received another offer from the University of Kentucky #ukfootball #gowildcats".
The 6-3, 195-pound Johnson completed 58.3% of his passes for 3,210 yards, 34 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 10 games as a junior-college sophomore in 2015. He also gained 429 yards and eight touchdowns on 126 carries.
Johnson is ranked as the No. 5 dual-threat junior college quarterback in the country by the 247Sports. He signed with Grambling State out of high school, but eventually transferred to the College of the Desert after he redshirt freshman season. He held offers from Arkansas Sate, Hawaii, Eastern Michigan and several FCS programs.
College Football Hall of Fame quarterback and NFL great Doug Williams got a chance to see Johnson in action, and he offered some strong praise to College of the Desert head coach Jack Steptoe for the new UK passer:
Here are some highlights of Johnson in action:
It's possible Johnson never sees the field this season and still ends up being one of the most important recruits of this class. That's because he gives UK a backup with college experience, which is a must-have when playing in a Power 5 conference, let alone the SEC.
And don't count out Johnson as someone who can push Barker for his job. While the starting QB spot is Barker's to lose, the staff really likes what they've got in Johnson and will give him the chance to push Barker this spring and into the summer.