UK lands last-minute 'gem' in Seneca defensive lineman Tubman

broberts@herald-leader.comFebruary 5, 2014 

Tubman

KEVIN LOCK

National signing day isn't complete without a little last-minute drama, and that came in the form of some good news for Mark Stoops and Kentucky on Wednesday.

Seneca defensive end Lloyd Tubman — the No. 3 player in the state — announced his commitment and signed with the Wildcats during a ceremony in Louisville.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound prospect committed to three other schools throughout the course of his recruitment, but he ended up with UK on the only day that mattered.

"We liked Lloyd a lot," Stoops said. "Recruited him for a full year. Again, I think he's one of the top players in the state, a great football player. And he's a great student and a fine young man. So, very important for us to get Lloyd."

Tubman came into the week committed to Penn State after switching his pledge from Vanderbilt to the Nittany Lions when Coach James Franklin jumped from one school to the other last month. Tubman had also been committed to Western Kentucky earlier in his recruitment.

He ultimately chose the Cats over Penn State, Louisville and Nebraska.

UK defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot got most of the credit for signing Tubman, though Seneca Coach LaVell Boyd told the Herald-Leader this week that all of UK's coaches played a positive role in the recruitment.

Eliot was more than willing to wait until the final day to get an answer.

"I think it just took time to see what we have to offer and what was the best future for him," he said. "And when he sat down and looked at everything, I think it was the right thing for him to do, and he made that leap."

Tubman didn't start playing football until he was a freshman, and he didn't get on the field much until his sophomore season.

Boyd said Tubman has made "great strides" in the past 21/2 years, and he expects greater things from him at UK.

"His gift right now is his speed off the corner," he said. "You can't teach that. That's God-given ability that he has. The rest of the stuff he needs to learn are just strictly fundamentals. That's what's going to make him great. (UK) is going to get a kid who doesn't know a whole lot. So whatever you teach him, that's what he's going to know."

Tubman became the 28th member of UK's recruiting class, which is the full number that Stoops could sign in this cycle.

His addition meant there was no longer an open spot for junior-college cornerback Michael Mathis, who had been committed to UK but was not ready to sign with the Cats on Wednesday.

Mathis tweeted that he considers himself a UK commitment "at the moment." Still, it's unlikely that he will end up joining the team.

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

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