It’s always a big day in the college football world when the term “National Signing Day” is attached to it. The lifeblood of any college football program is centered solely on the young men that are signed and welcomed into the fold.
In the SEC, though, NSD is kind of like the conference motto though: “It just means more.”
When you have national heavyweights Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Florida, Texas A&M, etc... in your neck of the woods, you better be pretty solid in the realm of recruiting talent. Coach Mark Stoops and assistant Vince Marrow fit the bill.
In the seven years they have been in Lexington, Stoops and Marrow have led the renaissance of talent in Lexington. While the Wildcats have a regional footprint, the football staff have been successful recruiting north of the Ohio River, particularly in Ohio.
The Cats have been successful in recruiting the Buckeye State. Stars Benny Snell Jr. and Mike Edwards call Ohio home, and this year’s class has a star in the making coming to the BBN.
With that prelude, let’s focus on seven newly minted Wildcats you need to know heading into the season.
1: QB Terry Wilson.The nation’s #2 dual threat QB has the inside track to succeed fan favorite and rock solid QB Stephen Johnson in the Cats’ backfield. Wilson is an electric athlete with a very strong arm. “Touchdown Terry” should be really exciting in OC Eddie Gran’s system. His development could make or break the Cats’ offense this year. Wilson’s skills will be huge in giving the Cats balance in both the run/pass game. Rivals grades him as him as a three star recruit.
2: LB Chris Oats. This was a huge get for the Cats, beating out the likes of Ohio State for Oats. The 6-4 215 outside linebacker has great length, range, and speed. Oats will be a great addition for new LB coach Brad White to go along with returning LB’s Josh Allen, Denzil Ware, and Josh Paschal. Rivals grades Oats a four-star prospect.
3: OG Marquan McCall. If Stoops and Marrow did anything in this class, they brought in SEC sized linemen. McCall come to the LEX as the highest-rated recruit in the class as a four-star prospect and the nation’s #7 ranked guard. The 6-4 320 McCall has the ability and the opportunity to step in immediately and start for UK. McCall’s signing also opens up the state of Michigan as a future recruiting ground.
4: CB Stanley Garner. The old saying goes “size matters.” Garner has it in spades. The three star prospect from Florida stands 6-3 180, huge for a DB at any level. The three star prospect held offers from schools across the country before signing with UK. Garner will also provide added depth to the Cats’ secondary.
5: RB Kavoisey Smoke. The best name in college football recruiting! Smoke also has the talent to back it up too. The three-star back from Alabama has tremendous speed and the ability to run behind his pads as well. With the departure of Bryant Koback, Smoke also fills a need as a capable back to give Snell much needed breathers. But Smoke’s greatest impact could be in 2019 when Sihiem King is graduated and Snell may be off to the NFL.
6/7: P Max Duffy and K Chance Poore. I couldn’t finish this list without mentioning the Cats’ specialist signees. Remember how great it was not to worry about the UK kicking game with all-time leading scorer Austin MacGinnis handling the place kicking and transfer P Matt Panton flipping the field for the Cats defense consistently? Thought so. So without question, Duffy and Poore have huge shoes to fill. Both have the leg talent to help without question. Both could possibly be the biggest keys to the Cats success immediately.
So there you have it. Those are the names from the 2018 class you should get to know. Who do you think are big for UK this upcoming season?