A big recruiting week is on deck for Kentucky and the rest of college football. This Wednesday is the junior college signing deadline for early enrollees, and several UK targets will be part of it as they make their college decisions.
Among them are linebacker Adonis Thomas, defensive back Brian Cole, defensive lineman Craig Evans, and defensive back Lonnie Johnson are all set to sign this week and join their new college soon thereafter.
Of those four, Thomas is the only one UK doesn't have much of a shot at. While they recently hosted the three-star linebacker, he just visited and scored an offer from Florida State. Mark Stoops' old stomping ground is likely where Thomas heads to.
As for the other three, UK is in gray shape and is in the final 2-3 schools in the running for all three. Evans is down to Oregon State and UK. The three-star lineman was recruited by former Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen out of high school, and Andersen is still after Evans now that he's the Beavers' head coach.
The same is true of Cole, who is down to UK, Oregon State and Ole Miss. Andersen's previous relationship from his Wisconsin days has OSU in great shape, but UK got the final visit with three-star DB in this past weekend.
Johnson is coming off a visit to Georgia this past weekend after the Bulldogs offered him last week. Before that, UK appeared to be in the driver's seat after he had a great visit during the weekend of the UCLA game. The three-star DB would be huge addition to a UK secondary losing Blake McClain, J.D. Harmon and Marcus McWilson to graduation.
But the biggest prospect that may decide this week is Joshua Paschal. The younger brother for former Wildcat TraVaughn Paschal, Joshua took his official visit to UK the weekend of Dec. 3, but while the visit went great, it was followed up by an official to Notre Dame, who has been a real threat to land the four-star linebacker/defensive end.
Before the visit, the Irish looked to be right there with UK, perhaps even leading. However, it appears something happened during the visit that helped Paschal see UK is his choice, at least based on his 237 Crystal Ball reading all blue Monday.
Every pick since Paschal wrapped up his visit to South Bend has read UK, and now he may be set to announce his decision as soon as this week, though no clear-cut date has been set. If he picks UK, Paschal may very well be the best player Stoops lands in the 2017 class. 247 ranks him 285th overall with the potential to rise before National Signing Day.
Of all the above mentioned names, I would be very surprised if UK doesn’t come out of this week with at least two of them, and may land as many as four. That could be followed up with more commitments in the coming weeks as guys like Jordan Wright, Yusuf Coker, and
Coker, a three-star defensive back out of Georgia, is coming off a visit to UK this past weekend and has since set a decision date:
Wright, a three-star defensive end, is planning to make his decision on Dec. 21. Both players have UK among their final schools in consideration, and I think UK gets at least one of them, so expected UK to add at least three players over the next three weeks.
That would put them around 20 pledges heading into January with 2-4 more spots to be filled. Other names who could announce soon include four-star tackle Thayer Munford, four-star athlete Lynn Bowden, and three-star receiver Isaiah Epps.
If UK could finish off this class with Paschal, Cole, Bowden, Munford, Wright, and one more player, it could very well be the best class Stoops and co. have assembled at UK.