ESPN report: Kentucky offers football scholarship to seventh-grader

Herald-Leader Staff ReportJune 13, 2013 

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UK Coach Mark Stoops' 2014 class is ranked in the top 10 in the nation by three recruiting services. Four players are in the Rivals Top 250.

JONATHAN PALMER — Jonathan Palmer

The new University of Kentucky football coaching staff has created all manner of recruiting buzz since its arrival last December.

But the Wildcats' staff went to new lengths this week, offering a scholarship to a seventh-grader from Indiana, according to an ESPN story.

ESPN reported that Kentucky offered a scholarship to seventh-grader Jairus Brents on Thursday after the 13-year-old participated in UK's Prime Time football camp last weekend.

Brents is not the first seventh-grade football player to land a scholarship offer, the ESPN article said. Southern Cal made an offer to David Sills in 2010, and he plans to sign with the Trojans in 2015.

Brents, a cornerback, is a member of the Class of 2018.

"It's a good accomplishment, but I'm focusing on being the best cornerback ever and working hard," Brents told ESPN.

NCAA rules prohibit Kentucky's coaches from discussing recruits. Brents would not be able to sign with the Cats until he's a senior in high school.

The ESPN article describes Brents as a phenom ahead of his time, already matching up well with prospects in the 2014 class at 5-foot-8, 152 pounds.

This is not the first time Kentucky has gained notoriety for offering a scholarship to a middle-schooler. Former UK basketball coach Billy Gillispie attracted attention for making an offer to 15-year-old California eighth-grader Michael Avery in 2008.

Though other coaches at the time were making recruiting pitches to similarly young prospects, Gillispie's offer to Avery for a program of Kentucky's stature became the center of a spirited national debate about how young was too young for players to commit to colleges.

Avery committed to play for Kentucky but reopened his recruitment when John Calipari took over as coach in 2009. Avery later committed to play at NCAA Division II Sonoma State. He averaged 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds in 24 games as a freshman last season.

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