The 2015 Kentucky Wildcats football recruiting effort has seen more "flipping" than a Flying Wallendas show.
As of Feb. 2, Mark Stoops' third UK recruiting class has had almost as many players decommit (nine) as are committed (15) to choose the Cats on Wednesday, college football's national signing day.
In the past 10 days alone, six players have reneged on verbal pledges to play for Kentucky.
Amidst the rampant jumping of ship, shell-shocked Kentucky fans need to take their good news where they find it. On Twitter the night of Jan. 28, @32_brown tweeted some good news for Cats fans:
I bleed blue baby #BBN
Four-star Warren East linebacker Eli Brown — the 277th best player in the country according to the 24/7 Sports composite rankings — is the most highly-ranked 2015 prospect to choose Kentucky.
"I'm going to send my (scholarship) papers in when I get to school (Wednesday)," Brown said. "Then I'm going to have a signing ceremony at 2:15 (3:15 EST) for my friends and family."
A sleek 6-foot-3, 196-pound outside linebacker, Brown laughed when asked if the recent spate of decommitting by other UK recruits had discouraged him.
"Nah, it doesn't discourage me one bit," he said. "If you look at it, most of the guys (who have decommitted) have done it to go to schools closer their homes. I understand that."
Early in his high school career, Brown committed to Vanderbilt and then-Commodores head man James Franklin. "I love James Franklin," Brown said.
However, Brown withdrew his pledge to Vandy and said no to Franklin after the coach moved to Penn State. "Way too cold," Brown said of State College, Penn. "I'm not going up there."
With Franklin's old and new schools out of the picture, Kentucky, Ohio State, Mississippi and Southern California offered Brown scholarships.
It came down to the home-state Wildcats and Urban Meyer's Buckeyes.
"I just felt like Ohio State sort of blew smoke at me, and UK shot me straight," Brown said. "(Kentucky) also said I could redshirt. Because of my knee, redshirting was important to me."
About that knee: when Brown committed to the Cats last April 21, he was then the highest-ranked recruit (No. 118 in the Rivals 150) ever to give a pledge to Stoops at Kentucky. However, after a senior season affected by injuries, Brown fell out of the Rivals.com ranking of the top 150 players in the class.
A torn ACL had ended Brown's junior season. He badly wanted to play his senior year of high school football, so he came back even though some advised him to take more time to let the knee heal.
During the 2014 season, Brown pulled a groin in the same leg where he'd injured his knee. He also suffered wrist injuries.
"My senior year, I never got my speed back," Brown said. "I never felt explosive like the old Eli. That's why I think redshirting would be good for me. A year to really do a lot of leg work in the weight room,"
Even battling injuries, Brown led Warren East to an 8-4 record and the second round of the 4A playoffs. A two-way player, Brown ran for 1,186 yards and 15 touchdowns on offense as a running back/Wildcat quarterback. Defensively, he recorded about 50 tackles and finished his Warren East career with 190 stops over three years.
Freddie Maggard, the ex-Kentucky quarterback for whom recruiting analysis has become an avocation, says his view of Brown from watching video of his senior year "is a resilient young man, a resilient football player who overcame a lot to play at a high level."
With physical development, Brown has a chance, Maggard said, to remind Cats fans of a darned good UK linebacker of recent vintage.
"A Danny Trevathan-type after he puts in the time in the weight room," Maggard said, referencing the former Kentucky star now with the Denver Broncos. "I think (Brown) will go from (196) to 220 or so by the time he leaves, and I think he'll be a dynamic playmaker at linebacker. Eli Brown is a huge, in-state recruiting get for Kentucky."
In a UK recruiting season filled with wandering eyes, Eli Brown is also a "get" who still seems committed to becoming a "got."
"Coach Stoops said he expects me in Lexington the second week of June," Brown said. "I'm going to be there."