Kentucky lands commitment from four-star cornerback

broberts@herald-leader.comJanuary 21, 2014 

University of Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops added another high-profile prospect to his already impressive recruiting class of 2014 on Tuesday.

Four-star cornerback Kendall Randolph announced that he has committed to the Wildcats. The Tallahassee, Fla., native also had reported offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Stanford and South Carolina, among several other top programs.

His favorites coming into this week were UK and Oklahoma, but he announced Tuesday morning that the Sooners were no longer part of his recruiting process. A few hours later, he said he would be a Wildcat.

Randolph — a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder — is the 10th four-star player to join UK's Class of 2014, according to the Rivals.com rankings. Before Stoops arrived in Lexington, the program never had more than three four-star commitments in a single class since the Rivals rankings began in 2002.

ESPN also considers Randolph a four-star recruit, and that service ranks him as the No. 284 overall prospect in the 2014 class. He is a three-star player according to the Scout.com and 247Sports rankings.

Stoops has said that he plans to sign 28 players to his first full class at UK. That means there are three spots to be filled, assuming the Cats can hold on to all of their committed players between now and signing day on Feb. 5.

Five future Cats in final Rivals rankings

Rivals.com released its final football rankings for the class of 2014 on Tuesday, and five future Wildcats were listed among the top 250 seniors in the country.

Running back Stanley "Boom" Williams is the highest-rated UK commitment at No. 118 overall. The Georgia native was on UK's campus for his official visit over the weekend and is expected to sign with the Wildcats on Feb. 5.

Quarterback Drew Barker was next at No. 132 overall. The former Conner High standout has enrolled in classes at UK and will take part in spring practice in hopes of competing for the starting quarterback job as a true freshman. Barker is the only Kentuckian in the Rivals 250 and is the No. 10 overall quarterback in the final rankings. He's listed as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the senior class.

Running back Mikel Horton (No. 150), offensive lineman Nick Richardson (No. 217) and defensive back Darius West (No. 219) also made the cut. All three commitments are from Ohio. Horton has signed with UK and is enrolled in classes for the spring semester.

The five top 250 players committed to Kentucky are easily the most ever since Rivals.com started the feature in 2006. The Cats had commitments from just three such players from 2006 to 2012, and never more than one in a single class.

Head coach Mark Stoops secured two Rivals 250 players for the class of 2013 — Jason Hatcher and Marcus McWilson — shortly after taking over at UK following the 2012 season. He has since added transfer running back Braylon Heard, who was a Rivals 250 selection in the class of 2010 before signing with Nebraska and playing two seasons for the Cornhuskers.

Rivals.com ranks Kentucky's class at No. 14 in the country.

One more visit

John Hardin defensive tackle Matt Elam took his final official visit to Alabama over the weekend, but it won't be his last trip as an undecided recruit.

The 6-foot-6 defensive tackle plans to be in Lexington this weekend and attend UK's basketball game against Georgia on Saturday. John Hardin Coach Chad Lewis told the Herald-Leader that he plans to drive Elam to town for the unofficial visit.

Elam took his official visit to UK last month during the same weekend as the majority of the Cats' committed players for 2014. He already has taken several unofficial visits to Lexington.

Lewis also said that assistant coaches from both UK and Alabama will be in Hardin County on Wednesday to see Elam. UK head coach Mark Stoops and Alabama head coach Nick Saban have used up their allotted number of off-campus visits.

Elam tentatively plans to reveal his college decision on Feb. 5, but an announcement could come before that date.

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

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