UK Football

UK football battling Penn State to keep one of its top recruits

Mark Stoops, right, Vince Marrow and the rest of the UK coaching staff have put together one of the Wildcats’ best recruiting classes in recent years.
Mark Stoops, right, Vince Marrow and the rest of the UK coaching staff have put together one of the Wildcats’ best recruiting classes in recent years. palcala@herald-leader.com

The run-up to national signing day is always an interesting — and stressful — time in the world of college football recruiting, and Kentucky’s coaches will be working overtime as they try to hold on to one of the Wildcats’ best recruiting classes in recent years.

With signing day now one week away, the status of four-star UK commitment Joshua Paschal remains one of the biggest questions for the Cats.

Paschal — a 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive lineman from Olney, Md. — took an official visit to Penn State over the weekend, a trip that UK’s coaches had known for a while would be a possibility.

Rivals.com analyst Adam Friedman, who started covering Paschal during the summer before the star recruit’s freshman year of high school, spoke to Paschal’s father about the visit on Tuesday morning, and the Nittany Lions remain in the mix.

“Every kid should be able to take all their visits,” Friedman told the Herald-Leader on Tuesday. “The visits are fun, and it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re looking at all of your options. Josh certainly did that. He knows a lot of people up there, on the coaching staff and the players. He had a good time. His dad really got the lay of the land. He got to sit with the coaching staff a lot and hear what they said. He certainly liked it up there.”

Paschal committed to UK over Notre Dame and Oklahoma last month, and Wildcats lead recruiter Vince Marrow has visited with him a couple of times in recent weeks. Marrow will travel to Maryland this week for another sit-down with Paschal, who will also host coaches from Penn State for a follow-up meeting Thursday.

This last round of in-person visits is likely to be the final stage of Paschal’s recruitment, and Kentucky looks to be be in good shape coming out of his trip to Happy Valley.

“As of now, I think Josh sticks with Kentucky,” Friedman said. “That could certainly change after these in-home visits. But I do not think he will be taking another official visit in the last weekend. I think he ends up sticking with Kentucky.”

Rivals.com ranks Paschal as the No. 10 strong-side defensive end in the 2017 class. He’s one of UK’s top four commitments for this year, according to that website.

National signing day is Feb. 1.

Latest on Davis

Four-star wide receiver Danny Davis is still very much in play for the Wildcats, and UK recruiting ace Vince Marrow will be in Ohio to visit him this week.

Davis — a 6-2, 180-pound prospect from Springfield, Ohio — has taken official visits to UK, West Virginia and Wisconsin this winter, and he is expected to sign with one of those schools next week.

Rivals.com ranks Davis as the No. 13 wide receiver and No. 98 overall prospect in the 2017 class. He would be the Wildcats’ top-ranked commitment if he does pick UK.

Kentucky is the current favorite on Davis’ 247Sports Crystal Ball page, but no one seems to have a great handle on his recruitment with a week remaining until signing day.

Not an option

Four-star running back Michael Warren announced Monday night that he is no longer committed to Toledo and will reveal his final college decision on signing day.

What does that have to do with UK? Warren was one of the Wildcats’ first commitments from the 2017 class two summers ago, but he ultimately backed off of that pledge before then committing to hometown Toledo. 247Sports ranks him as the No. 13 running back nationally for 2017.

The Cats could probably use another player at the position for next season, but the Herald-Leader has been told that UK will not get back into Warren’s recruitment.

As it stands, Kentucky will have four scholarship running backs next fall: Junior Sihiem King, sophomore Benny Snell and freshmen A.J. Rose and Bryant Koback.

Also off the list

Four-star athlete Russ Yeast told the Herald-Leader on Tuesday that he will not be visiting UK this weekend, seemingly ending the possibility that he flips his commitment back to the Wildcats after an in-home meeting with Mark Stoops last week.

Yeast — the son of UK great Craig Yeast — committed to Kentucky before his junior season, de-committed last June and then committed to Louisville in October.

He is still part of the Cardinals’ 2017 class, but he took an official visit to Notre Dame this past weekend and is considering an offer from the Irish.

OSU offers

Four-star offensive tackle Thayer Munford — one of the Cats’ top remaining recruiting targets — received a scholarship offer from Ohio State during an official visit to Columbus last weekend, and he is expected to commit to the Buckeyes soon.

Barring any unforeseen developments, it doesn’t appear that UK will add any more offensive linemen to its 2017 recruiting class.

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