UK Football

UK quarterback recruit is visiting Louisville for Saturday’s game

Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops, left, congratulated Louisville Coach Bobby Petrino after the Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 38-24 last season in Lexington.
Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops, left, congratulated Louisville Coach Bobby Petrino after the Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 38-24 last season in Lexington. palcala@herald-leader.com

The University of Kentucky football program’s only commitment for the class of 2018 will be spending the first part of his Saturday afternoon in enemy territory.

Jarren Williams — a three-star quarterback from Lawrenceville, Ga. — confirmed to the Herald-Leader this week that he will be in Louisville on Saturday to see the Cardinals take on No. 2-ranked Florida State.

Williams has said that he’s firmly committed to the Wildcats — he announced that pledge back in June — but the trip to Louisville will give him an opportunity to see Lamar Jackson, another player who was once ranked as a three-star, dual-threat quarterback and is now among the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy in just his second season in college.

Rivals.com ranks Williams as the No. 15 dual-threat QB in the class of 2018. He missed some time early in the season with a concussion, but he returned to the field last week to account for five touchdowns — and 324 passing yards — in his team’s overtime victory.

It’s not all bad news for UK where Williams is concerned. The talented recruit also told the Herald-Leader that he will attend the Wildcats’ home game against New Mexico State later in the afternoon Saturday.

U of L’s game is scheduled for a noon kickoff, while the Wildcats will start at 4 p.m. That means Williams will have to leave Louisville early, or arrive in Lexington after kickoff.

Official visit

The recruit of most immediate concern to UK this weekend might be junior-college defensive end Tyree Owens, who will be in Lexington for an official visit centered on the New Mexico State game.

Owens — a 6-foot-4, 265-pound prospect from Oviedo, Fla. — is currently at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi after originally signing with West Virginia as a member of the 2014 recruiting class.

A redshirt in his first season with the Mountaineers, Owens was dismissed from the team last fall following an altercation that left him and two others with non-life-threatening stab wounds. Owens was not charged with any crimes as a result of that incident, and “a violation of team rules” was the reason cited for his dismissal.

Owens has reported scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Texas A&M and several others, but Kentucky is seen as a legitimate player in his recruitment.

The Cats’ defensive line is lacking depth this season, and the addition of Owens could be a big one for the future of the unit. 247Sports ranks him as one of the Top 100 junior-college prospects in the class of 2017.

▪  Four-star defensive end Alex Reigelsperger is scheduled to visit Michigan for the Wolverines’ home game against Colorado on Saturday. Reigelsperger — a 6-5, 230-pound prospect from Huber Heights, Ohio — will be looking to pick up a scholarship offer from Michigan during the trip. The class of 2018 recruit visited UK for the sixth time earlier this month for the Cats’ season opener against Southern Miss, and he’s scheduled to return for the Vanderbilt game next month. Reigelsperger has called UK the favorite in his recruitment.

▪  Trinity defensive end Stephen Herron is expected to be at Notre Dame for a recruiting visit this weekend. Herron — ranked by 247Sports as the No. 15 overall prospect nationally in the class of 2019 — visited UK for the Southern Miss game two weeks ago. He spent last Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, watching Tennessee’s victory over Virginia Tech.

Change of plans

Junior-college defensive tackle Enoch Smith Jr. was originally supposed to be in Lexington for an official visit this weekend, but that trip has been postponed. It’s possible that Smith could reschedule the visit for next weekend, when UK hosts South Carolina.

Smith — a Chicago native — was a four-star recruit in the class of 2014 and signed with Michigan State out of high school. Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 20 defensive tackle nationally in that class.

Injuries limited his impact with the Spartans, and Smith recently decided to leave the program and has enrolled at Butler Community College in Kansas. UK was the first school to extend a scholarship offer following his departure from Michigan State, and Vince Marrow is in charge of his recruitment.

Cats to Cards?

Former UK commitment Russ Yeast — son of UK great Craig Yeast — is expected to be at Louisville for the Cardinals’ game against Florida State on Saturday.

Yeast has narrowed his college choices to Alabama, Auburn, Iowa, Louisville and Mississippi, cutting Kentucky from the list.

The 5-foot-11 playmaker is off to a hot start for his new high school team in Indianapolis, and U of L has emerged as the favorite in his recruitment.

247Sports national director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong is among the analysts now predicting that Yeast will end up with the Cardinals.

Rankings check

Kentucky has 13 commitments for the class of 2017, and the Wildcats’ group of recruits is ranked No. 39 nationally by Rivals.com.

UK has the 11th-best class in the SEC — according to Rivals — beating out Mississippi, Missouri and Vanderbilt. Seven of the top 12 schools in the Rivals’ rankings are from the SEC: Alabama (1st), Louisiana State (3rd), Georgia (5th), Tennessee (8th), South Carolina (9th), Texas A&M (10th) and Florida (12th).

Louisville’s 20-player class is ranked No. 34 nationally.

Ben Roberts: 859-231-3216, @NextCats

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