Kentucky has made a habit of pulling off a last-minute surprise or two on national signing day.
Linebacker Ronnie Sneed and defensive lineman Charles Mustafaa were late additions in 2007, and UK got a verbal commitment on the eve of signing day from defensive end Collins Ukwu in 2008.
Last year, Kentucky reeled in cornerback Martavious Neloms from Memphis the week before national signing day, and tailback Jonathan George's name didn't pop up until his letter of intent arrived at UK on that Wednesday.
Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips hinted at another possible surprise or two in his first official recruiting class during an appearance on the Joe B. and Denny Show last week. Fans might have to wait until Wednesday to find out for sure, but don't expect UK to add any more junior-college prospects to its class. The Wildcats brought in safety Josh Gibbs for the spring semester and haven't offered scholarships to any other junior-college recruits.
Kentucky is holding a scholarship for one of its primary areas of need, running back. One of its targets, four-star prospect Rajion Neal (Tyrone, Ga.) committed to Tennessee last week. Internet rumors had another four-star tailback target, Rajaan Bennett (Powder Springs, Ga.), committing to Vanderbilt but nothing had been confirmed as of Saturday.
UK is said to have two more running backs on its board: three-star prospect D.J. Howard (Lincoln, Ala.), an Auburn commitment, who was scheduled to visit Lexington over the weekend for the UK-Vanderbilt basketball game, and Simon Kenton's Miles Simpson. UK, Illinois and Indiana are reported to be Simpson's final three, and he visited Illinois last weekend. But nobody has been able to get a read on Simpson's recruitment, as both Simpson and his high school coaches have been evasive with the media. Not even the UK staff is sure of his plans, but there still seems to be hope in the Wildcats camp that Simpson could sign with Kentucky on Wednesday.
Another possibility is three-star athlete Jerrell Priester (Allendale, S.C.). Priester committed to Vanderbilt but has been listening to UK's pitch.
Kentucky also is still working on four-star defensive tackle Mike Thornton (Stone Mountain, Ga.), who's down to Georgia, UK and Penn State. Three of Thornton's teammates at Stephenson High School (Raymond Sanders, Jabari Johnson and Ronnie Shields) have committed to Kentucky, and Sanders said last week that he's still trying to convince Thornton to sign with the Cats.
Cats lose, gaina commitment
UK lost a member of its 2010 class when cornerback Anterio Sloan revoked his commitment last week. Sloan, a West Helena, Ark., native, is listed as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com but reportedly has grade issues. He has offers from only two Southeastern Conference schools, Kentucky and Mississippi State.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Ink's Jeff Drummond reported on Friday that the Cats picked up a commitment from Farrington Huguenin, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end from Columbia, S.C. Huguenin, who is not ranked by any of the major recruiting services, had offers from UK, South Carolina State, North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central. Huguenin had 121 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception for Dreher High School. While grades were reportedly a major reason many of the FBS schools did not extend a scholarship offer to Huguenin, he did put up decent numbers at a recent Nike Combine in Charlotte, N.C., according to ESPN.com. He ran a 4.9-second 40-yard dash (on a slow surface) a 4.27 20-yard shuttle, a 31.6 inch vertical leap and a 39-foot power throw.
Kentucky has 22 commitments to date, and its recruiting class is ranked 72nd nationally by Rivals.com. That puts UK last in the Southeastern Conference. Scout.com ranks UK's class 52nd but also has them last in the SEC.
Senior Bowl update
Two former Wildcats, cornerback Trevard Lindley and fullback John Conner, participated in Senior Bowl activities last week. While the game was Saturday afternoon, NFL scouts did most of their evaluations in practices during the week.
Lindley didn't receive high marks early in the week according to ESPN.com's Chris Low, who wrote: "One former SEC player who didn't receive high marks from the Scouts Inc. crew on Tuesday was Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley, who's been stiff in his hips and hasn't shown top-end speed or great athleticism. The Scouts Inc. crew thinks he may drop into the later rounds."
ESPN.com's Todd McShay said that Conner could be picked up in the last few rounds.
"He's going to be one of the top fullbacks, but the problem is there's not a big market for the position," McShay said. "He struggled some in pass protection, but he's a dominant blocker who will absolutely knock guys around."
Academic honor roll
Fifteen UK football players were named to the 2009 Academic Honor for Fall Sports: Ross Bogue, Clay Cecil, Marcus Davis, Brad Durham, Daryl Faulkner, Antwane Glenn, Stuart Hines, Matt Lentz, Greg Meisner, Billy Joe Murphy, A.J. Nance, Corey Peters, Tyler Sargent, Patrick Simmons, Taiedo Smith.
Chip Cosby covers UK football for the Herald-Leader. This article includes his opinions and observations. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.