More than 100 football recruits showed up in Lexington for UK’s first major “junior day” event of the 2019 cycle Saturday, an invitation-only get-together that brought some of the program’s top targets to town.
The Herald-Leader was told that about 130 recruits were on campus Saturday, meeting with UK coaches, touring the program’s facilities and — later that night — taking in the Wildcats’ home basketball game against Missouri.
Some new scholarship offers were extended and many photos of top prospects in UK gear popped up on social media throughout the day.
Here’s a look at a few highlights of the event, along with some additional football recruiting notes:
QBs in town
One of the biggest developments at UK’s junior day was the new scholarship offer for class of 2019 quarterback Nik Scalzo, who has impressed on the camp circuit in recent weeks and is emerging as a major target for the Wildcats.
Scalzo — a 5-foot-11 prospect from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — was lauded at a Rivals camp earlier this month for his throwing accuracy and ability to extend plays. He was slotted as the No. 13 pro-style quarterback nationally in the new Rivals.com position rankings that came out shortly after that camp.
UK offensive coordination Eddie Gran had been in touch with Scalzo before his emergence on the camp scene, and the visiting quarterback posted a photo of himself with the Wildcats assistant when announcing his scholarship offer during Saturday’s junior day.
Illinois also extended an early offer to Scalzo, who’s seriously considering offers from Ivy League programs Harvard and Yale, as well.
Scalzo wasn’t the only highly touted QB in attendance Saturday.
Alabama standout Paul Tyson — the great-grandson of coaching legend Bear Bryant — was in town for junior day. Tyson is the No. 8 pro-style QB in the 2019 class, according to Rivals, and Kentucky was the first major program to extend a scholarship offer.
The Cats likely have an uphill climb in his recruitment, however. Alabama has also extended an offer and holds a huge lead on Tyson’s 247Sports Crystal Ball page.
Florida quarterback Hayden Wolff was back in Lexington for another UK visit Saturday after picking up an offer from the Cats last summer. Wolff — the No. 16 pro-style QB in the Rivals rankings — posted a photo of himself with Coach Mark Stoops, and he’s recently called Kentucky the early favorite in his recruitment.
Wolff — a 6-5 prospect — headed to Western Kentucky for a visit Sunday. The Hilltoppers have also extended a scholarship offer.
Ohio native Moses Douglass — one of the Wildcats’ biggest recruiting targets in the class of 2019 — also made it to Lexington on Saturday.
Douglass, the son of former UK football star Maurice Douglass, is ranked by Rivals.com and 247Sports as a four-star recruit, and the latter website pegs him as the No. 231 overall prospect in the class of 2019.
Though he’s capable of playing multiple defensive positions, Douglass projects as a safety at UK, and 247Sports has him ranked No. 16 nationally at that position.
247Sports national analyst Steve Wiltfong recently made a Wisconsin prediction for Douglass, though he acknowledged that UK is still very much in the race for his commitment. His visit over the weekend was also a big one considering he did not make it to a Kentucky football game during the season. Douglass’ father, now his head coach at Springfield High School, also made the trip Saturday.
Douglass tweeted out several photos of himself in UK gear, and included the hashtag “Legacy” in his tweet. Maurice Douglass played 11 seasons in the NFL after wrapping up his UK career in the 1980s.
Cats vs. Cards?
Louisville picked up a commitment from Butler wide receiver Demontae Crumes last Sunday.
Six days later, Crumes was on UK’s campus for junior day, and he received a scholarship offer from the Wildcats during that visit. 247Sports ranks the 6-1 prospect as a top 100 wide receiver nationally in the 2019 class and the No. 10 overall player from the state of Kentucky.
“The Crumes kid is fast,” 247Sports national analyst Steve Wiltfong told the Herald-Leader when talking about in-state recruits earlier in the week.
His recruitment will be one to watch in the coming months.
Western Hills star Wandale Robinson — one of UK’s biggest in-state targets in the class of 2019 — visited Duke, as expected, Saturday.
Robinson is an early favorite for Mr. Football honors in the state of Kentucky this fall and was clocked last weekend with a 40 time of 4.22 at the Best of the Midwest camp in Indianapolis. “He’s as fast a player as you’re going to find in the country in this recruiting class,” analyst Steve Wiltfong told the Herald-Leader.
Wiltfong is predicting that Robinson — projected as a slot receiver — will end up at Duke, which also held its first major junior day event of the spring Saturday.
Robinson picked up an offer from Northwestern on Friday.
▪ Another top in-state target for UK — Scott County offensive lineman Bryan Hudson — has regularly mentioned Virginia Tech prominently in his recruitment. A few days ago, 247Sports recruiting insider Evan Watkins logged a Crystal Ball prediction in favor of the Hokies for Hudson.
▪ Louisville Christian offensive lineman John Young was also at UK for junior day Saturday, though Young is still a sophomore. The 6-6 prospect in the 2020 class landed a UK offer on the visit. Louisville and Iowa State have also offered.