Kentucky vying with four SEC foes for highly rated offensive tackle

broberts@herald-leader.comJuly 23, 2014 

2015 UK football prospect George Brown of Cincinnati (Rivals.com photo)

Usually, when a high-profile recruit is set to announce his college decision, those who have followed him the closest are nearly certain of the destination.

That doesn't seem to be the case with four-star offensive tackle George Brown.

What is known is that Brown's final five schools are Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana State. Those who know a little more are almost positive that only two of those schools have a realistic chance when the Cincinnati standout reveals his choice Friday.

"It comes down to Florida and Kentucky," said Rivals.com analyst Josh Helmholdt. "With Florida getting his last visit on Monday, that probably gives them the edge."

Helmholdt later characterized it as "a slight edge" for the Gators. He covers the state of Ohio for Rivals and has followed Brown's recruitment as closely as anyone.

The coaching staffs at UK and Florida both have reason for optimism going into the announcement.

Brown has visited Lexington several times, including last weekend when he was in town for the Friday Night Blue Lights festivities. But his final visit was to Gainesville this week, which gave the Gators an opportunity to make one last impression.

Rivals.com ranks Brown as the No. 118 overall prospect in the class of 2015, the No. 13 offensive tackle and the No. 5 overall player from Ohio. He would be UK's highest-ranked commitment (according to Rivals) in the Mark Stoops era.

"He's physically the ideal prototype for a left tackle," Helmholdt said. "Great height, great length and a perfect frame to add weight to. He's an intimidating kid when you look at him. He's also a great basketball player, and that's helped develop his feet. He's very light on his feet and very athletic. And that's another great attribute to have in a left tackle.

"And he always brings it. He's always intense. Always playing at 100 percent."

The 6-foot-6, 267-pound prospect's father is a personal trainer, and Helmholdt said he's closely monitored what his son eats so he hasn't put on "bad weight" during his high school days. "He has a frame that can easily play in the 300s," he said.

Brown is also a cousin and former teammate of Mike Edwards, a highly touted safety in the class of 2014 who signed with Kentucky but will not be on campus this fall.

Edwards is expected to have shoulder surgery and then join the Wildcats in January as a grayshirt player, which would delay the start of his eligibility process and give him more time at UK. Brown is expecting Edwards to be on campus by the time he gets to college, and that can only be a plus for the Wildcats.

UK already has six offensive line commitments in what is currently a 14-player class for 2015. Brown has been the Cats' highest-ranked offensive line recruit in this cycle, and he's arguably the program's biggest remaining target other than Madison Southern running back Damien Harris.

Even if UK misses out on his commitment Friday, the fact that the program made it this far alongside four traditional Southeastern Conference powers is impressive.

"It speaks to the new era of Kentucky Wildcat recruiting," Helmholdt said. "They've put themselves in a much higher tier than they were under Joker (Phillips)."

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

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