The Kentucky Wildcats completed the early signing period with another strong class. They really hit on some positions of need and got a few good surprises. In addition they held onto a couple of players the college football blue bloods were after. Let’s run it all down with the Kentucky Football Signing Day Recap.
Kentucky Football Signing Day Recap
Right On Their Average
Ever since Mark Stoops came to Kentucky in 2012, the recruiting classes have improved greatly from years past. Almost every year the class ranks somewhere between the high 20’s to low 30’s. This year is no exception as the 2019 class rates 28th in the country by Rivals and 31st by 24/7 Sports. The Cats had 23 commitments but only 21 signed during the early period. However when you look at the SEC as a whole they are 12th of 14 teams. Again anywhere from 10th to 12th is where the Cats usually land.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) December 19, 2018
Filling Positions Of Need
One major area which was addressed is quarterback. Behind incumbent Terry Wilson the situation is rather cloudy. Third string QB Danny Clark already announced he is leaving school. In addition backup Gunnar Hoak could also be looking elsewhere. On track to graduate in the spring Hoak would be eligible to play immediately next season.
The Cats brought in two quarterbacks in the 2019 class, both of whom are state champions. Amani Gilmore out of Amite, Louisiana led his squad to the Class 2A title. In the championship game he accounted for 336 total yards. The coaching staff sees him as a Wilson 2.0. In addition Gilmore will play baseball at Kentucky too.
The other quarterback is Nik Scalzo out of traditional power Cardinal Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While he team won the Class 5A title, Scalzo tore his ACL in the quarterfinals and could only cheer from the sidelines. Scalzo will likely redshirt next season.
The quarterback situation definitely bears watching in the off-season. Should both quarterbacks leave look for Kentucky to go after a transfer or another junior college player.
On the other side of the ball Kentucky took great strides to fix two areas where they are going to be hit hard by graduation. Linebackers Josh Allen and Jordan Jones graduate this season and Kash Daniel next. To that end the Cats brought in guys who can help immediately headed by Jared Casey. The Louisville Ballard product is the highest ranked player in this year’s recruiting class.
Kentucky loses Mike Edwards, Derrick Baity and Chris Westry from the secondary after this season. As a former defensive back Stoops always brings in a lot of help for the backfield. Five of the 21 signees are in the secondary led by second generation star Moses Douglass. His father Maurice played in the mid 1980’s under Jerry Claiborne and in the NFL with the Chicago Bears.
Keeping The Best Players In State
For the first time in recent memory the 2018 class featured no one from the state of Kentucky. As a result Stoops and ace recruiter Vince Marrow made the commonwealth a priority. It paid off as five of the 21 players are from Kentucky. In addition four of the five come from Louisville. Demontae Crumes, Shawnkel Knight-Goff, and JJ Weaver all hail from the River City. There’s nothing better than going into your biggest rivals’ home turf and getting the players you want.
One more player Eli Cox, an offensive lineman from Nicholasville rounds out the class. As we continue with the Kentucky Football Signing Day recap let’s look at some important “holds” by Stoops and his staff.
Holding Off The “Blue Bloods”
One player Kentucky did not hold onto was Wandale Robinson, the state’s Mr. Football. A week after committing to the Cats he flipped and decided to go to Nebraska. However Stoops brought in Travis Tisdale, a rising three star player out of Georgia. Marrow says he reminds him a lot of former Cat Stanley “Boom” Williams. Tisdale ran for 1,903 yards and 23 touchdowns in Class 7A, the state’s largest division.
The Cats had long been the favorite for Tisdale but had to hold off a late charge from LSU and Penn State. With Benny Snell leaving for the NFL the Cats have A. J. Rose returning along with Kavosiey Smoke and Chris Rodriguez. The latter two are big bruisers while Tisdale is considered more of a slasher.
Cavon Butler, a three star defensive lineman from Ohio also stayed with Kentucky. Both Ohio State and Michigan State came after Butler hard and many thought he would end up in Columbus. Once again Marrow worked his magic and Butler’s on his way to Lexington.
One more player in the class who turned out to be a surprise was Quandre Mosely. Ranked as the second best defensive back in the junior college ranks Mosely chose Kentucky over Oregon and Utah. Most of the “Crystal Ball” predictions gave the Cats no shot. However True Blue Fans have learned to never count out Stoops and his staff.
Quandre Mosley is headed to:@UKFootball!!! Congrats ?
— ESPNCoastal (@ESPNCoastal) December 19, 2018
It is interesting to note while the Ducks have a top five recruiting class this year Kentucky beat them for two players Mosely and Weaver. Marrow went on to say some of the players who spurned the Wildcats over the last couple of years are talking about trying to come back.
Building For The Future
When Stoops first came to Kentucky the recruiting pitch was “come here and we can build something good.” However with the success of a 9-3 regular season it’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the future. Now the recruiting pitch is “come here and you have the chance to play for the SEC Championship” and be taken seriously. Will the 2020 class reflect the strides in the program. Recruits are realizing Kentucky is becoming a destination, not a place you have to settle for.
Thanks for checking out the Kentucky Football Signing Day Recap here at Last Word On College Football. We are less than two weeks away from the Citrus Bowl battle against Penn State. Look for a preview and complete coverage of the game coming soon.