Kentucky Wildcats 2018 Signing Day Preview

Three Takeaways From Kentucky's Spring Game
(Photo by Jamie Gilliam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kentucky Wildcats 2018 Signing Day Preview

The Kentucky football staff took full advantage of the new December signing period inking 22 players. Currently, the 2018 class ranks 31st in the country according to Rivals. However, they rank eighth in the SEC which at this point, which is as high as they have ever been. Mark Stoops is looking to add three or four more to round out the class. We are going to look at who those players might be and also a big loss at a key position with the Kentucky Wildcats 2018 Signing Day Preview.

A Big Loss On Defense

Following the 2018 season, the Wildcats are losing their top three linebackers, Jordan Jones, Josh Allen, and Denzil Ware. That makes this recruiting class even more important. Kentucky held a commitment from Xavier Peters, who is ranked 76th in the nation by Rivals. However, on Sunday, he flipped his pledge from the Wildcats to Florida State.

No doubt losing Peters is a big blow for defensive coordinator Matt House and the Wildcat defense. The Cats now have turned their efforts towards Christopher Oats. The six-foot-four, 205-pound outside linebacker is from Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati.

Oats rates as the 31st best outside linebacker in the nation and 15th best player in Ohio. Ohio State appears to be the Cats biggest competition for Oats, and he is scheduled to visit Columbus this weekend.

However, under recruiting ace Vince Marrow, the Cats have had a great deal of success in Ohio. It remains to be seen whether the pitch of instant playing time is enough to push Oats to Lexington. Kentucky only has one other linebacker signed in the 2018 class DeAndre Square from Michigan. Should the Cats miss out on Oats, look for them to possibly add a player through a graduate transfer.

Looking For Help In The Backfield

Unless something unforeseen happens, 2018 will most likely be the last season for Benny Snell Jr. in Lexington. Should Snell apply for next year’s draft, it leaves Kentucky with only three running backs on scholarship. The events of the Music City Bowl showed the need for offensive coordinator Eddie Gran to get some help in the backfield.

The Wildcats already have Chris Rodriguez signed for next year. Rodriguez is a three-star back out of Georgia who chose the Cats over Ole Miss and Mississippi State, among others. Kentucky has a couple of players they are hoping to add next week.

Kavosiey Smoke ranks as the 29th best running back in the nation according to Rivals. The five-foot-eleven native of Wetumpka, Alabama, is also considering North Carolina and Florida Atlantic. Seen as a Carolina lead, Smoke visited Lexington this past weekend. He gave the True Blue Fans the customary tease while on his visit.

Signing the fourth highest rated uncommitted running back in the 2018 class would be a huge get for the Kentucky staff.

Help From A Kentucky Native?

As we continue with the Kentucky Wildcats 2018 Signing Day Preview, let’s look at one more back drawing interest from Stoops and the staff. D’Mauriae VanCleave from Danville High School was recently named Kentucky’s 2017 Mister Football. Right now the only offer he has is from FBS school Wofford.

While he only stands five-foot-seven, VanCleave runs a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash. He put up some incredible numbers in his senior season at Danville. VanCleave rushed for 762 yards on only 72 carries with 11 touchdowns. In addition, he caught 82 passes for 1,095 yards and 14 touchdowns in leading the Admirals to their first state title since 2003.

As it stands right now the Cats have only offered Preferred Walk-On status to VanCleave. However, there are many including his high school coach who thinks he deserves a full ride. The University of Kentucky has had an in-state player in every recruiting class since 1939, which is as far back as records go. Currently,

the 2018 class has no one from Kentucky, as a result, this has many in the Big Blue Nation upset. VanCleave could and should be the player to keep the streak going.

Thanks for checking out the Kentucky Wildcats 2018 Signing Day Preview with us here at Last Word On College Football. We will have you covered with all the commitments and those who may decide to go elsewhere.

Main Photo Credit:

NASHVILLE, TN – DECEMBER 29: A Kentucky football helmet during the Music City Bowl bowl game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Northwestern Wildcats on December 29, 2017, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN. (Photo by Jamie Gilliam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


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