UK Football

UK football focused on a select few recruits as national signing day nears

Lynn Bowden, left, is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 60 overall football prospect in the class of 2017.
Lynn Bowden, left, is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 60 overall football prospect in the class of 2017. Warren Tribune Chronicle

The dead period for high school football recruiting ends Wednesday, meaning college coaches will be back on the road and players will be hitting campuses for their final official visits before national signing day.

Kentucky has 22 commitments going into this final stage of the 2017 recruiting cycle, but Mark Stoops and his Wildcats coaching staff are expected to add three or four more players to that list between now and signing day on Feb. 1.

Here’s the latest on the most realistic targets remaining on UK’s recruiting board:

Lynn Bowden: The four-star athlete from Youngstown, Ohio, took his official visit to Lexington last month and is arguably the Cats’ No. 1 target to close out this class. Bowden was one of the top high school players in Ohio this past season and has the ability to play a number of positions at the college level, including wide receiver and defensive back. Scout.com ranks him as the No. 60 prospect nationally in the 2017 class. Update: He will announce his college decision Saturday, and Kentucky is the favorite.

Danny Davis: A four-star wide receiver from Springfield, Ohio, the 6-foot-2 Davis is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 12 wide receiver and No. 86 overall prospect in the class. He also took his official visit to UK last month, and the Wildcats are the leader on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page, but Davis’ recruitment has been tough to figure out. Several Big Ten schools have been on him, and he’s expected to take more campus visits between now and signing day, perhaps starting with a trip to West Virginia this weekend. It appears Davis will wait until signing day to announce a commitment.

Kevaughn Dingle: After backing out of a commitment to Miami last month, Dingle immediately named Kentucky as the favorite in his recruitment. The Florida native is planning to take an official visit to Lexington starting Jan. 27, the final weekend before national signing day. 247Sports ranks the 6-1 prospect as the No. 38 wide receiver nationally in the 2017 class. He, too, could hold off on a decision until national signing day. South Florida and Washington State are late arrivals to his recruitment.

Jon Ford: Committed to Miami for nearly a year, Ford is still listening to the Wildcats’ pitch and is expected to be in Lexington for an official visit this weekend. The 6-4, 275-pound native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 24 strongside defensive end in the 2017 class, and he’s versatile enough to play multiple spots along the D-line. He’s also a high school teammate of recent UK commitment Jordan Wright, who has been in Ford’s ear about the Cats. Ford is planning an official visit to Miami for the final weekend before signing day, and this recruitment looks like it’ll come down to staying with the Hurricanes or flipping to the Cats.

Zalontae Hillery: Another Miami commitment, Hillery took an official visit to Kentucky last month and is still in contact with the Wildcats. The 6-6, 280-pounder from Brunswick, Ga., is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 48 offensive tackle in the class. Hillery is expected to take visits to Florida and North Carolina State this month, and he has not set a date for his final commitment, so this recruitment could also go unsettled until signing day.

Bruce Judson Jr.: He’s technically committed to South Florida, but it would be a surprise if Judson ends up there. Former USF coach Willie Taggart is now at Oregon and has made the 5-9 athlete out of Cocoa, Fla., a priority for the Ducks. Judson is set for official visits to Washington State and Oregon over the next two weeks, and then he will be on UK’s campus for an official visit the final weekend before signing day. Kentucky is recruiting him as a do-everything offensive player who could play running back, receiver and even run some Wildcat QB. Rivals.com ranks him as the No. 21 athlete in the class. His recruitment looks like it’ll come down to UK and Oregon, and if he leaves Eugene without committing next weekend, the Cats could have a great shot.

Thayer Munford: Not much has changed in Munford’s recruitment over the past few weeks. It still appears that two scenarios are the most likely: Either Ohio State extends a scholarship offer and he commits to the Buckeyes, or OSU doesn’t come through with the offer and he signs with the Wildcats. UK hosted the 6-6, 320-pound offensive lineman from Cincinnati for an official visit last month. Munford might end up on Ohio State’s campus this weekend for a visit, and that would be worth watching to see if the Buckeyes offer then. 247Sports ranks him as a four-star recruit and the No. 27 offensive tackle in the 2017 class.

▪  It’s worth mentioning Lafayette offensive lineman Jedrick Wills, if only because UK is continuing to recruit him up until national signing day. Wills — a five-star prospect — committed to Alabama last month, and there’s no reason to think he’ll back off of that pledge between now and signing day. But the UK coaches won’t be letting up on the hometown star until he officially signs with the Crimson Tide on Feb. 1.

UK’s football commitments for the class of 2017

Player

Pos

Ht

Wt

Hometown

Rivals

Scout

ESPN

247

Tyrell Ajian

DB

6-1

185

Mansfield, Ohio

****

***

****

****

Josh Ali

WR

6-0

175

Hollywood, Fla.

***

***

***

***

Quinton Bohanna

DT

6-4

300

Cordova, Tenn.

***

***

***

***

Danny Clark

QB

6-4

230

Akron, Ohio

***

****

****

***

Yusuf Corker

CB

6-0

185

Stockbridge, Ga,

***

****

****

***

Jamin Davis

LB

6-2

190

Ludwici, Ga.

***

***

***

***

Sebastien Dolcine

OL

6-4

285

Hollywood, Fla.

**

**

***

**

Cedrick Dort

CB

6-1

165

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

**

***

***

***

Austin Dotson

OL

6-6

290

Belfry, Ky.

**

**

***

***

Isaiah Epps

WR

6-3

185

Jenks, Okla.

***

**

***

***

Phil Hoskins

DL

6-5

275

Toldeo, Ohio

***

***

***

***

Alex King

LB

6-3

225

Mason, Ohio

***

***

***

***

Lonnie Johnson

DB

6-3

205

Gary, Ind.

***

***

***

***

Bryant Koback

RB

5-11

190

Holland, Ohio

***

***

***

***

Michael Nesbitt

DB

6-0

175

Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.

***

***

***

***

Joshua Paschal

DE

6-4

255

Olney, Md.

****

****

****

****

JaVonte Richardson

WR

6-4

210

Maple Heights, Ohio

****

****

****

****

Clevan Thomas

WR

6-0

190

Pembroke Pines, Fla.

***

***

***

***

Naasir Watkins

OL

6-5

300

Olney, Md.

***

**

***

***

Chris Whittaker

DE

6-4

250

Hollywood, Fla.

***

***

***

***

Walker Wood

QB

6-0

190

Lexington, Ky.

***

***

***

***

Jordan Wright

DE

6-5

230

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

***

***

***

***

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