The UK football team goes into this week — which features the first-ever early signing period — with 21 commitments for the class of 2018, and Coach Mark Stoops is expecting to finish the current recruiting cycle at 23 or 24 players.
Stoops and UK’s assistant coaches have been on the road and making in-home visits for most of the month, and they’ve spent the past couple of weekends hosting current commitments and prospective recruits for official visits in Lexington.
With two or three spots to fill, here’s a look at the Wildcats’ top remaining targets:
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Kentucky and Florida appear to be the top two schools for Dean, a 6-foot-2 defensive back from Hampton, Ga., who is ranked by Rivals.com as a top 200 prospect nationally and the No. 14 safety in the class of 2018.
Dean, who visited UK two weekends ago, was on Florida’s campus for his final official visit this past weekend, and the Gators have been surging on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page in recent days. Dean decommitted from Tennessee earlier this month.
He is expected to announce his college decision Wednesday.
Follow him on Twitter: @__TD3
A former UK commitment, Jacques-Louis backed out of that pledge in June, committed to Tennessee a few months later and then reneged on that pledge due to the Volunteers’ coaching instability.
He recently announced a final three of UK, Tennessee and Pittsburgh and will reveal his college decision Wednesday.
A consensus three-star prospect, Jacques-Louis is being recruited as a wide receiver, and he’s one of the top 100 seniors at that position, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
UK looked like the favorite to land the 6-1 player from Fort Myers, Fla., just a couple of weeks ago, but Pitt now appears to have the momentum in his recruitment.
Follow him on Twitter: @ShockyMVP
He’s been fairly quiet about his recruitment, though UK has emerged in recent days as the favorite on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page, with recruiting analysts from Ohio logging predictions in favor of the Wildcats.
He spent this past weekend on an official visit to Lexington, but he has not yet revealed a timetable for his college announcement.
Follow him on Twitter: @ChristopherOats
Seemingly UK’s last chance to get a commitment from a scholarship player from the state of Kentucky in this 2018 class, Pirtle just wrapped up his career at Pima Community College (Ariz.) and is ranked by ESPN as the No. 25 overall junior college prospect in the 2018 class.
Pirtle — a 6-3 linebacker — played his high school ball at DeSales in Louisville, and he’s spent the past two weekends back in his home state. He took an official visit to UK two weeks ago and was on U of L’s campus this past weekend.
He’s expected to make a college decision this week and sign Wednesday.
Follow him on Twitter: @thecityneedsme
Taylor — a 6-5 prospect from Springfield, Ohio — played quarterback for his high school team and is regarded as a four-star player at tight end, but Kentucky is currently recruiting him as a possible defensive end.
The Cats appear to be in good shape, too, opening up a major lead on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page and getting him on campus for an official visit this past weekend.
Rivals.com started rating Taylor as a strongside defensive end in its most recent update; the UK target is No. 13 nationally at that position.
It’s unclear when he will announce his college decision.
Follow him on Twitter: @Lenny_T_20
Others to watch
UK recently got involved in the recruitment of Louisiana prospect Amauchechukwu Nnaji-Collins and hosted him for an official visit this past weekend. The 6-1, 220-pound player is being looked at as a possible end/linebacker hybrid.
Miami commitment Gilbert Frierson — a four-star cornerback from Miami — took an official visit to UK earlier this month, but he spent this past weekend on the Hurricanes’ campus and doesn’t appear likely to flip to Kentucky.
Under-the-radar cornerback Messiah Turner — from Tampa, Fla. — took an official visit to UK this past weekend, but he is not expected to make a decision in time for this week’s early signing period.
Three-star wide receiver Bryce Oliver — from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — was also at Kentucky for a visit this past weekend. He’s the No. 157 receiver in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.