The UK football program continued its hot recruiting run Saturday by landing junior-college offensive tackle Tate Leavitt, who was the Wildcats' top remaining target for the class of 2016.
Leavitt — a 6-foot-6, 305-pound prospect — is originally from Thornville, Ohio, but is entering his sophomore season at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. He has been taking extra classes this summer and plans to graduate from Hutchinson in December so he can enroll at UK for next year's spring practice.
He's expected to contend for the starting left tackle spot in 2016 and will have two seasons of eligibility with the Wildcats.
Leavitt committed to Kentucky while in town for his official visit.
He spoke to the Herald-Leader before arriving in Lexington last week, noting that UK would be in search of a left tackle to start immediately following the departure of senior Jordan Swindle after this coming season.
"If they fill that left tackle spot, everything else looks like it's in good shape," Leavitt said. "In terms of skill positions offensively, you've got players. ... It seems like they've got it going where they envisioned it initially when they got there."
Leavitt mentioned the possibility of he and Kyle Meadows starting at the two tackle positions in 2016, with Marcelys Jones and George Asafo-Adjei starting at the guard spots and Jon Toth returning as the starting center.
UK's newest commitment also said last week that immediate playing time would be a major factor in his college decision.
"It's huge," he said. "It's number one in my decision process. I'm turning 21 in December, so I'm a year older than most junior-college guys in my class. So I don't want to sit another year. I'm kind of in a groove and have a lot of momentum going, and I want to keep that going."
UK now has 20 commitments for next year, and Leavitt's pledge will push the Cats past Georgia for the No. 12 class nationally in the Rivals.com rankings.
Leavitt joins fellow offensive linemen Drake Jackson and Landon Young — both in-state recruits — as the third UK commitment for 2016 with a four-star ranking from Rivals.com.
Oklahoma, Illinois, Missouri and Texas Tech also made Leavitt's list of finalists, and he had scholarship offers from Alabama and Auburn, among many others.
ESPN considers Leavitt one of the top 50 junior-college players in the country.