Under Armour sponsored a couple of major camps for high school football recruits over the weekend — the Best of the Midwest camps in Cleveland and Indianapolis — and those showcases featured several players at the top of UK’s recruiting list for the class of 2019.
The good news for the Wildcats: many of the players they’ve targeted were standouts at the camps.
The bad news for UK: those prospects are taking hard looks at other programs as the 2019 recruiting cycle starts to heat up.
247Sports national director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong attended both camps and talked to the Herald-Leader on Tuesday about his impressions of some of the top UK targets there:
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One of the early favorites for Mr. Football honors in Kentucky next season and a major UK recruiting target for the 2019 class, Robinson will be a senior at Western Hills High School in Frankfort this fall.
Listed at 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, he’s small, but has great speed and talent, rushing for 2,330 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. He projects as a slot receiver who can do multiple things offensively in college, and he also had 22 catches for 314 yards and five TDs for the Wolverines as a junior.
“He’s as fast a player as you’re going to find in the country in this recruiting class,” Wiltfong said. “And he’s elusive, and he can catch the football. It shows up on film … but he validated it in the camp setting.”
He ran two 40-yard dashes at the Indianapolis camp, and he was timed by a camp staffer at 4.22 seconds on the first run. Some will surely raise their eyebrows in question of such a time, but there’s no doubting Robinson’s speed. “He was the fastest guy in the building,” Wiltfong said.
The national recruiting analyst also tabbed Robinson as the “alpha dog” of the Indianapolis camp in his write-up of the event, a designation that goes to the camp’s top performer.
The prediction: UK has long been seen as a major contender for Robinson, but Wiltfong logged a Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Duke after scouting the local star and talking to him at the camp. “Duke leads right now,” Wiltfong told the Herald-Leader. “Things change. There are ebbs and flows in recruiting, but Duke leads.”
Kentucky and Virginia are also in Robinson’s top three.
He’s not from Kentucky, but Douglass is also a name that many UK football fans already know.
The 6-2, 185-pound safety from Springfield High School in Ohio is the son of former UK defensive back Maurice Douglass, who played 11 seasons in the NFL and is now the head coach at Springfield. The younger Douglass is a four-star recruit and the No. 16 safety in the 2019 class, according to 247Sports.
“He moves well,” Wiltfong said. “He’s a high-IQ kid and has a smoothness to his game. I like him. … And maybe he’s a linebacker instead of a safety long-term. Time will tell, but he’s a good football player and a good prospect.”
The prediction: Wiltfong logged a Crystal Ball pick in favor of Wisconsin after scouting Douglass at the Cleveland camp Sunday. It’s worth noting that former Springfield wide receiver Danny Davis — once a major UK target — now plays for the Badgers.
“(UK is) in it, but I like Wisconsin’s chances right now,” Wiltfong said. “Wisconsin is doing a good job recruiting him. They got two guys regularly in contact with him, and obviously Danny is there. So, there’s a trust between Wisconsin and Moses, but he’s not a lock for Wisconsin just because I made the pick. I feel better about my Wandale-Duke pick than my Moses-Wisconsin pick.”
Another UK football legacy, Correll’s family includes a long history of Wildcats.
His grandfather is Ray Correll, a former UK All-American who played for Bear Bryant in the 1950s. Zeke’s father, Steve, and brother, Gabe, also played football for Kentucky, and his mother, Lisa, was a student at UK.
Zeke — a 6-4, 285-pounder from Cincinnati — was one of the top offensive linemen at the Cleveland camp and took home an invitation to next year’s Under Armour All-America Game.
“You won’t find many interior offensive linemen nationally that move as well as he does,” Wiltfong said. “That was evident from the beginning in position drills. It carried over to one-on-ones, where he was a force at the point of attack.”
On Tuesday afternoon, 247Sports moved Correll up 123 spots to the No. 115 overall ranking in the 2019 class. He’s now the No. 4 offensive guard nationally.
The prediction: Correll gave a top five of UK, Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State at Sunday’s camp. Vince Marrow is the Cats’ lead recruiter in this one, so it’d be foolish to count them out, but it’ll obviously be an uphill battle against that competition. “Kentucky is in the top five there with some heavy hitters that they typically don’t beat,” Wiltfong said. “They’re doing a good job recruiting him, but do I think he’s going to go to Kentucky? No. I think it’ll be Ohio State or Notre Dame.”
Wiltfong pegged Graham — a 6-2, 195-pounder from Detroit — as the most physical defensive back and one of the top five defensive performers at the Indianapolis camp Monday.
“He’s a really good player — a two-way guy,” Wiltfong said. “He could be a receiver at the next level, but I like him in the secondary. A physical kid that can cover. I know he’s going to hit you. He’s got a big upside in the secondary, in my opinion.”
Graham is the No. 63 athlete nationally, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, though his stock seems to be on the rise.
The prediction: It’s too early to tell, but Graham said over the weekend that UK and Iowa State are the two schools standing out at the moment. “So Kentucky is in a good spot,” Wiltfong said. It’s also worth noting that Graham is from the same high school as DeAndre Square, one of the Cats’ top signees in the 2018 class and an early enrollee for UK this spring. “Kentucky got one out of there last year. So I’m sure that’s not hurting them,” Wiltfong said.