With football at all levels being more offensive-focused than ever, having a talented and deep secondary is a must for any Power 5 conference team.
That's even true now in the SEC, where high-flying pass attacks and spread offenses are beginning to take over the best league in college football. The Kentucky Wildcats have typically had one or two quality defensive backs, but thanks to the efforts of Mark Stoops, their secondary should be loaded enough to win big in the SEC very soon.
Cornerback is already one of UK's biggest strengths with guys like Chris Westry manning the boundary, but it just got a big boost with the additions of cornerbacks Davonte Robinson and Tobias Gilliam.
Though Jordan Griffin is regarded as UK's top defensive back for this class, Gilliam and Robinson are both big additions who would have been the best additions in UK classes of years past. Just looking at their offers, it's easy to see that.
Gilliam held scholarship offers from the likes of West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Louisville. But it's Robinson who has one of the best offer sheets of any 2016 UK signee. Georgia and Notre Dame were among the schools to offer him while Alabama and Ohio State showed strong interest, but the Henry Clay star remained firm in his commitment to the Cats.
Here are their highlights and UK Athletics profile with quotes from Mark Stoops:
Davonte Robinson, Cornerback, 6-2, 180, Fr.-HS, Lexington, Ky. (Henry Clay) On top of being one of the best cornerbacks in the state as a senior, he also was a running back, using his speed to score seven touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving and one 91-yard kickoff return) ... As a junior he rushed for 492 yards on 35 carries and six touchdowns, while recording 32 tackles and two interceptions, including one for a touchdown on defense ... Led the team in tackles three straight seasons, including a team-high 100 tackles and one interception in 2015 ... Coached by Sam Simpson who said, Davonte possesses the on-the-field instincts and off-the-field work ethic that belong to the elites. Davonte is a hard worker. He's a selfless individual. He doesn't command a lot of attention; he doesn't require all of that. He's a team player ... Named Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-city by the Lexington Herald-Leader as a senior ... ... A 2015 Herald-Leader Class of Commonwealth honoree ... Helped the Blue Devils advance to the second round of the playoffs with a 7-5 record in 2015 ... Class 3A state track champion in the 100 meters (10.85) as a sophomore ... Finished second in the state in 2015 in the 4x400 relay ... Winner of the 400-meter dash and second in the 100 meters at the 2015 Fayette County Public Schools Track and Field Championships ... Picked UK over Georgia, Louisville, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Tobias Gilliam, Defensive Back, 5-11, 190, Fr.-HS, Dayton, Ohio (Wayne) Consensus three-star cornerback Scout has him ranked as the 87th best cornerback in the nation and the third-best corner in Ohio ESPN rates him as the 59th best cornerback in the nation and the 36th best prospect in Ohio Rated by Rivals as the nations No. 46 cornerback Rivals.com says, He's the ultimate competitor. He's always bringing his best. He's always ready to play football. He has a very good skill set it's probably not an elite skill set, but he gets the most out of what he has. He's not going to back down, no matter who's standing across from him. The way he's built, he should be an asset in run support. He's not a wispy, little defensive back that gets run over by big running backs 247sports rates him as the 68th best cornerback in the nation and the 30th best prospect in the state of Ohio Had 46 tackles and two interceptions as a junior ... Recorded 77 tackles with 1.5 sacks as a senior ... Notched a season-high 10 tackles in a 56-17 rout of Centerville ... Also forced two fumbles and grabbed two interceptions in 2015 ... Named AP First Team All-Ohio, the Southwest District and the GWOC Central Defensive Player of the Year ... Helped lead the Wayne Warriors to an undefeated regular season and its second straight regional title and appearance in the D-1 state championship game ... Was part of a stingy defense which held nine of its 10 opponents to 17 points or fewer ... Coached by Jay Minton ... Wayne finished the 2015 season ranked eighth nationally and second in the state of Ohio ... Had recruiting offers from several schools but chose UK over Minnesota, Pittsburgh and West Virginia.