Even as the Kentucky Wildcats are surging on the gridiron, one of their top recruiting targets still appears likely to go elsewhere.
ESPN is currently predicting that offensive guard Jedrick Wills, the No. 89 recruit in the ESPN 300, will select Alabama over Kentucky.
Wills is a Lexington, KY native, and the third nationally-ranked recruit to come out of Kentucky in recent years. The other two, Matt Elam and Damien Harris, had Alabama and Kentucky in their final two. That’s where Wills is different, as ESPN doesn’t see Kentucky as one of Wills’ top two schools. Instead, they see Alabama’s strongest competition being Michigan, with Kentucky in the mix but behind those two.
Here is what ESPN had to say about Willis’ recruitment:
Nearing the end of the summer, there was a growing thought that Wills would end up in Tuscaloosa, as top Bluegrass State prospect Damien Harris had two years prior. Alabama is getting serious competition from Michigan, with Wills having already taken an official visit to Ann Arbor. While the Wolverines are certainly not to be taken lightly, the past two national recruits from the state of Kentucky -- Harris and Matt Elam -- have come down to Alabama vs. Kentucky. Wills could very well fall in line here, although Michigan's fast rise under Harbaugh makes his situation different from Harris' and Elam's. A visit to Alabama for the Iron Bowl is expected. -- Gerry Hamilton
Wills has already visited Michigan, and is expected to take a visit to Alabama for the Iron Bowl (it’s starting to look like he’ll be in for a great game there).
This of course wouldn’t be the first time that Kentucky lost a recruit to Nick Saban and the Tide (see: Damien Harris).
ESPN’s prediction confidence is listed at just 60%, so perhaps Wills is still up for grabs between these three teams, and perhaps Stoops still has a chance to draw Wills in.
The 247 Crystal Ball also Bama as the favorite, even though the most recent picks are not for the Crimson Tide.