The University of Kentucky softened the blow of losing two football commitments in the class of 2017 this week by landing a pledge from a junior-college defensive lineman on Saturday.
Phil Hoskins, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive tackle from Whitmer High School in Toledo, Ohio, will join the Wildcats after one more season at Highland (Kan.) Community College. Hoskins played in 10 games there as a freshman, recording 25 tackles and four sacks for a team that finished 5-5. He plans to finish his junior-college classes in December and enroll at UK in January 2017.
Hoskins, who will have two seasons of eligibility when he arrives at UK, chose the Wildcats over offers from Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Baylor among several others. Alabama and Georgia both showed interest but neither offered.
A three-star prospect according to Scout.com, Hoskins did not qualify academically with the NCAA coming out of high school and chose the junior-college route to get his grades in order. In an interview in February with Scout.com, Hoskins described some of what he has to offer.
“I’d say I’m more of a defensive tackle because that is what I have played all of my life, but my frame is better for defensive end. I’m kind of a speed guy, so I can get off the ball well and I make it hard on the guys trying to block me.
“I also pursue to the ball really well. Going all the way back to my high school, if you didn’t hustle, you didn’t get in the game, so it’s been put into me for a long time that I need to hustle and never quit on a play.”
Hoskins fills a gap in Kentucky’s 2017 recruiting class left when four-star defensive end James Hudson reopened his recruitment on Wednesday. His teammate at Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic High School, three-star running back Michael Warren, joined Hudson in decommitting on Friday.
Kentucky’s class, ranked as high as No. 9 nationally and No. 3 in the Southeastern Conference entering last week, now stands at No. 17 in the Rivals.com ratings, No. 4 in the SEC behind Alabama, Georgia and LSU.