Last weekend's commitment from junior-college offensive lineman Tate Leavitt might have been the most important yet for the University of Kentucky's recruiting class of 2016.
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound prospect was already considered a four-star player and UK's top-rated pledge by Rivals.com, which added more acclaim to his name with Wednesday's release of its Top 100 junior-college rankings.
Leavitt came in at No. 8 overall on that list, making him the Wildcats' highest-ranked junior-college commitment in the 12 years that Rivals has evaluated those players.
Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell said Leavitt is a versatile prospect and will help Kentucky right away in 2016, noting that he can play any of the tackle or guard positions.
"He can plug in a lot of different places," Farrell told the Herald-Leader. "He's a good run blocker. He's a powerful drive-block kid. He's an adequate pass protector. And he's big and strong and nasty. He's a physical kid who likes to hit people. So you have to like that versatility.
"He's going to play, and I think play at a high level. It just depends on where."
Leavitt projects as a tackle, and he told the Herald-Leader last week that UK's coaches had talked to him about possibly replacing current starting left tackle Jordan Swindle, who will be out of eligibility after this coming season.
UK now has five commitments from four-star offensive linemen since Mark Stoops and his coaching staff arrived less than three years ago. In the 10 classes before that, UK landed just one four-star offensive lineman (Mayfield's Micah Jones in 2004).
Farrell noted that the state is starting to produce better offensive linemen (local products Drake Jackson and Landon Young are both four-star players), but the Cats have also pulled in Ohio natives Leavitt, Marcelys Jones and Nick Richardson.
Another Ohioan — George Asafo-Adjei — was a three-star recruit but is expected to earn major playing time as a true freshman this fall. Farrell said he also likes UK's chances with Lafayette's Jedrick Wills, who is ranked as a five-star offensive tackle in the class of 2017 by Rivals.com.
"They've done a really good job," Farrell said of UK's offensive-line recruiting. "Two years from now, this is going to be a really, really good-looking offensive line. And offensive and defensive lines are what win in the SEC. Skill is important, but when you get in those physical, grinding games — it's really imposing your will on the other team."
Male High School wide receiver Keion Wakefield announced his commitment to the University of Louisville on Thursday, picking the Cardinals over a group of finalists that also included UK, Indiana and Purdue.
Rivals.com ranks Wakefield as the No. 4 recruit in the state for the class of 2016, putting him behind UK commitments Landon Young, Drake Jackson and Kash Daniel.
The Cats looked like potential favorites for Wakefield earlier this year, but UK's coaches had not had much contact with him in recent months. They already have commitments from three wide receivers for next year — Dakota Holtzclaw, Zy'Aire Hughes and Kayaune Ross.
Wakefield is the No. 84 wide receiver nationally, according to Rivals.
Another big one
It's becoming clear that Lafayette offensive lineman Jedrick Wills will have his pick of schools when it comes time to make a college decision, and he landed another high-profile scholarship offer Wednesday night.
Defending national champion Ohio State is the latest program to offer Wills, who will be a junior for the Generals this season and is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 13 overall prospect in the country for the class of 2017.
Wills already had scholarship offers from UK, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Notre Dame and South Carolina, among others. He's the Wildcats' top recruiting priority for the 2017 class.