After a big recruiting hot streak in July, it looks like the Kentucky Wildcats are about to miss out on arguably their two biggest 2017 targets.
By now, you've probably heard about Jedrick Wills likely committing to Alabama soon. The five-star tackle out of Lafayette is looking to make his decision before his senior season begins, which opens this Friday vs Paul Laurence Dunbar.
According to SEC Country's Kyle Tucker, the expectation is Wills will announce his commitment sometime this week, and all indications continue to be that Bama is the pick.
Wills looked mighty impressive during last week's exhibition game vs Louisville Male. It was scary watching how much bigger and physically imposing Wills was compared to anyone that went against him.
Jedrick Wills sticks with his block down the field, moving really well. pic.twitter.com/qxqNi409i6— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) August 13, 2016
Jedrick Willis drives LB into the end zone for another pancake. pic.twitter.com/OAWLM6M265— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) August 13, 2016
Wills getting some more reps on D. He's in much better conditioning to start SR year than JR. pic.twitter.com/mOEe0s1WMT— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) August 13, 2016
Wills lining up at RT. This is not what a defender wants to see coming on the pull block. pic.twitter.com/4rczC0kgc7— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) August 12, 2016
This would be a brutal loss for UK to lose an elite prospect in their own backyard, though losing any recruit to Alabama is little-to-no surprise for any college program. Unfortunately, this may not be the only big-time recruit UK misses on after seemingly being the heavy favorite.
Just a week weeks ago, the Cats looked poised to land four-star athlete Lynn Bowden following his unofficial visit to Lexington. However, Bowden has since taken an unofficial to East Lansing, where Michigan State offered him a scholarship.
Since then, the Spartans have been viewed as the heavy favorite for the Warren G. Harding (OH) product. Scout.com Ohio recruiting expert Bill Greene agrees, but does think Bowden may take a little longer to make his decision.
"His coach thinks Michigan State is in the driver’s seat right now," Greene told The Detroit News. "It’s important for him to get back up to Michigan State for another visit so he can continue to get to know the staff better and vice-versa, and he should be up there again during the season."
Another factor is sophomore running back LJ Scott, who played his high school ball at nearby Hubbard and knows Bowden well.
Greene says that, combined with what Bowden saw of East Lansing on his visit, makes the odds likely that the Spartans will add a dangerous, unique playmaker to a growing cast of weapons.
"His decision might not be made this week, but I don't think it's going to be too much further down the road," Greene said. "I have Michigan State as the clear favorite."
The 247 Sports Crystal Ball also thinks UK loses on both Wills and Bowden.
Even if UK does miss on those two, they're still in good position to finish with a great 2017 class, which only figures to be about 17-19 signees. Already at 12 commitments, the Cats are also in great shape with four-star receiver Danny Davis, three-star receiver DJ Edwards and three-star defensive end B.J. Sharpe.
UK is also in the running for four-star tackle Thayer Munford, four-star defensive end M.J. Webb, three-star safety Ahman Ross and three-star defensive end Christopher Whittaker.
Expect Mark Stoops to eventually finish off a great 2017 class, even if it doesn't include Wills and Bowden.