Mark Stoops, UK lose out on 2 recruits, including state's top junior

broberts@herald-leader.comJuly 29, 2013 

The University of Kentucky's new football coaches have enjoyed several days on the recruiting trail worth celebrating over the past few months.

Monday wasn't one of them.

The day started with Madison Southern running back Damien Harris' announcement that he had committed to Michigan. Harris is widely considered the best junior prospect in the state, and ESPN ranks him as the No. 3 running back and No. 20 overall recruit in the Class of 2015.

Harris' commitment to the Wolverines wasn't a surprise. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound back had long preferred Michigan, despite offers from such schools as Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida and nearby Kentucky.

The real shocker came a few hours later, when three-star offensive lineman Brady Taylor announced his commitment to Virginia Tech. The Columbus, Ohio, native said last week that he would make his college decision on this day, but most recruiting observers predicted he would pick UK.

Rivals.com lists Taylor as the No. 57 offensive tackle in the Class of 2014 and the No. 48 prospect from the state of Ohio. Eight of Kentucky's 21 commitments for 2014 have come from the Buckeye State.

Taylor visited UK's campus for the Friday Night Blue Lights camp earlier this month, and the coaching staff had made him a priority on the offensive line. But he ended up choosing the Hokies over scholarship offers from UK, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, N.C. State, Georgia Tech and several others.

UK currently has two commitments from Class of 2014 offensive linemen — Jarrett LaRubbio and Derrick Kelly.

Kentucky is also targeting four-star offensive lineman Nick Richardson, another Ohio native who could make a college decision this week. Rivals ranks Richardson as the No. 19 offensive tackle in the class, and UK is considered a heavy favorite in his recruitment.

Rivals.com ranks UK's class at No. 4 in the nation behind Tennessee, Florida State and Miami. A commitment from Richardson sometime soon would push the Cats to No. 3 in those rankings.

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

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