UK football recruiting: Class of 2014 adds 2 safeties

broberts@herald-leader.comJune 11, 2013 

The UK football team's recruiting class of 2014 grew by two more players Monday night, and the Wildcats' latest commitments have them in unfamiliar territory in the national rankings.

Ohio safeties Darius West and Mike Edwards both committed to Kentucky during campus visits. They are the 13th and 14th players from next year's class to join up with Mark Stoops and his new coaching staff.

UK moved to No. 6 in Rivals.com's national team rankings as a result of the two commitments, an unprecedented position for a program that has consistently been ranked at or near the bottom of the SEC.

The Cats' class of 2014 — the first one completely built by Stoops and his assistants — is now ranked ahead of such traditional football powers as Alabama, Florida State, Louisiana State, Ohio State and Florida.

NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from commenting on unsigned recruits, but there's no rule against offering non-specific assessments of the program.

"Big Big Day for the CATS lets go BBN!!!" Stoops tweeted shortly after West's commitment became public.

"Exciting day for the UK Football program! Excitement and momentum building. Good times are on the way!" added offensive coordinator Neal Brown.

The only two SEC teams ranked above UK in the Rivals.com team recruiting rankings are Texas A&M and Tennessee, which are considered to have the top two classes in the country.

Rivals ranks West as the No. 185 overall prospect in the class of 2014, the No. 15 safety and the fifth-best player from Ohio. He is the fourth four-star player in the class to commit to UK. It's the first time the Cats have had that many four-star recruits in one class in the history of the Rivals ranking system, which dates to 2002.

West, who had offers from Notre Dame and Penn State, is also only the second player in UK's class to be ranked a four-star recruit by Rivals, Scout, ESPN and 24/7 Sports. The other is quarterback Drew Barker.

Edwards is considered a three-star prospect by Rivals, which ranks him as the No. 48 safety in the class of 2014 and the No. 21 prospect from the state of Ohio.

Scout.com has Edwards as a four-star recruit and the No. 233 overall player in the nation.

Eight of UK's 14 commitments hail from Ohio, which is also the home state of Stoops and tight ends coach Vince Marrow, who is getting national attention as a top-notch recruiter.

According to the Rivals state rankings, UK now has the No. 4, 5, 8, 19, 29, 32 and 34 players from the Buckeye State.

The latest commitments came during an important few days for Stoops and his assistants, who held a high-profile camp Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium and hosted several top commitments and recruiting targets on UK's campus Monday.

Barker posted a photo Monday of he and John Hardin defensive lineman Matt Elam wearing UK uniforms in the Wildcats' locker room.

Elam is the No. 2 prospect in the state behind Barker and is also entertaining offers from Alabama, Ohio State and Louisville.

Some of the other uncommitted 2014 recruits on UK's campus Monday included four-star receiver Blake Bone and three-star receiver T.V. Williams.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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