Not only did Vince Marrow land one of his top recruiting targets with last weekend’s commitment of four-star defensive end Alex Reigelsperger, the UK coach gained a new assistant on the recruiting trail.
Reigelsperger — an energetic Ohio native — has made it clear that he’s all in with the Wildcats, and he’s going to spend the next few months trying to convince his friends in the 2018 class to join him in Lexington.
“I told Marrow, ‘Just know that I’m going to be the most out-there recruit that you’ve ever had.’ I’m going to be out there with the team when they’re warming up,” Reigelsperger told the Herald-Leader this week. “I’m going to be out there screaming with the team, like I’m part of the team. I’m going to be out there at practice if we don’t have school. That’s just the way I am.”
He already has a checklist of players he’d like to see as part of UK’s 2018 class.
That list starts with his friend and high school teammate L’Christian “Blue” Smith, who Rivals.com ranks as the No. 29 overall prospect and No. 1 athlete nationally in the class of 2018.
Smith — a 6-foot-5, 215-pound player who could be a wide receiver at Kentucky — has scholarship offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and several other top schools, but UK is considered a serious player in his recruitment.
“He should be in the SEC,” Reigelsperger said. “He should be going against the best corners. He should be playing in the most NFL-like conference that there is. … He can do anything, and he’s crazy athletic.”
Smith has caught 97 passes for more than 2,000 yards and 26 touchdowns over his past two seasons at Wayne High School, and he’s already visited Lexington multiple times, including a trip to last weekend’s “junior day” event.
Reigelsperger and Smith will be back in town Sunday for the Wildcats’ first spring practice.
Four-star tight end Brenden Bates — the No. 9 player at that position in the class of 2018, according to 247Sports — is also in Reigelsperger’s crosshairs.
“I played against Brenden, so I know exactly the type of player he is,” the UK commitment said. “I know the type of people that I want to be around. … I’m going to recruit kids I know are good kids with a hard work ethic.”
Bates was also at UK last weekend and has other early offers from Louisville, Iowa, West Virginia and several others.
In the past few days, UK has emerged as the overwhelming favorite on the 247Sports Crystal Ball pages for Bates and Smith, and the Cats are targeting several other highly touted Ohio natives in this recruiting cycle.
One such player is three-star prospect Meechi Harris, who picked up a UK scholarship offer Wednesday night and is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 60 wide receiver nationally.
A little while before he spoke to the Herald-Leader on Thursday, Reigelsperger was on the phone with Harris, telling him about the Wildcats.
“I’m gonna get Blue, I’m gonna get Brenden, and I just got off the phone with Meechi about an hour ago. I’m going to get him, too.”
Another one of UK’s top recruiting targets from the state of Ohio — linebacker Xavier Peters — was supposed to be in town last weekend for the program’s “junior day” event, but he was unable to make that trip.
Instead, Peters is planning to be in Lexington this weekend for a look at UK’s campus. That trip will follow a planned visit to Ohio State on Friday — and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Buckeyes extend him a scholarship offer — but the Cats look to be a contender in his recruitment either way.
Peters — a 6-4, 220-pound prospect — is one of Vince Marrow’s top priorities in the 2018 class, and he comes from the same high school as current UK players George Asafo-Adjei, Kyle Meadows and Kayaune Ross.
247Sports ranks Peters as a four-star recruit, the No. 5 junior in Ohio and the No. 9 outside linebacker nationally in the class of 2018. He also has offers from Penn State, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisville, Oregon, Virginia Tech and several others.
Still the leader
Florida athlete Shocky Jacques-Louis told the Herald-Leader this week that Kentucky is still the favorite in his recruitment, despite a flurry of scholarship offers over the past few days.
Georgia has been the biggest program to recently offer for Jacques-Louis, a 6-foot, 170-pound prospect who could be a wide receiver at the next level. He has also picked up offers from Missouri, Minnesota, South Florida, Syracuse and Virginia since attending UK’s first “junior day” event of the 2018 cycle a few weeks ago.
UK quarterback commitment Jarren Williams told the Herald-Leader after that trip that Jacques-Louis was the player he spent the most time with on the visit, and he’s continued to recruit him to the Wildcats since.
Jacques-Louis said he’s eyeing possible visits to Georgia and USF in the near future.
St. Xavier offensive lineman Wyatt Smock is an in-state name to remember for the 2018 recruiting cycle.
Smock — a 6-4, 290-pound prospect who can play multiple offensive line positions — has received scholarship offers from Arkansas, Louisville, Vanderbilt and Purdue over the past few days. His family has UK season tickets, but — as of Thursday night — there had been no contact between the Wildcats and Smock, who is expected to be back on U of L’s campus Saturday.
Scout.com recently ranked Smock as a three-star recruit after evaluating him at the Best of the Midwest combine in Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago.
Rivals.com updated its position rankings for recruits in the class of 2018 this week, and two UK commitments were mentioned.
Jarren Williams is now ranked by Rivals as the No. 22 dual-threat quarterback in his class, though Williams has described himself as “a pocket-passer that has the ability to extend plays with my feet” and did much more damage through the air (2,618 yards and 26 TDs) than on the ground (425 yards and nine TDs) last season.
Williams is planning to visit Tennessee this weekend, though he has maintained that he’s firmly committed to the Wildcats.
Rivals also ranked UK commitment Marvin Alexander as the No. 70 wide receiver nationally for the class of 2018.
UK commitment Alex Reigelsperger is classified by Rivals.com as a weakside defensive end, and UK commitment Davoan Hawkins is considered a strongside defensive end, but neither player was ranked among the top 30 prospects at those positions by Rivals.com.
UK football commitments for the class of 2018
Huber Heights, Ohio