The high school football season starts Friday night, and fields all over the commonwealth will feature top college prospects this fall.
Kentucky’s senior class is already filled with players who have committed to power-five programs, and the younger classes contain even more talent, including six players ranked nationally by ESPN in the 2019 class alone.
Here’s a look at three local players who already have scholarship offers from UK, as well as the top 10 seniors in the state and a few more nationally recognized recruits from the 2019 class:
Scott County’s four-star offensive tackle has been a starter for the Cardinals since his freshman season and landed a scholarship offer from Kentucky following his sophomore campaign. He’ll be a junior this season.
Hudson attended just about every UK home game last season, but the Cats will have to fight off some big names for his commitment. He was recently interviewed by 247Sports and mentioned Alabama, Louisiana State, Ohio State and Tennessee as the four schools “standing out” right now, a comment that gave some UK fans pause.
Hudson set the record straight this week, telling the Herald-Leader he’s still serious about UK and would put the Cats on the same level as the other four schools. The 6-foot-5, 292-pound prospect has visited UK, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State this summer, and he has offers from all of those programs.
He told the Herald-Leader he “definitely” wants to make his college decision before the start of his senior season.
“I want to go into a program with a lot of tradition and where it means something to the players and the fans just to play football at that place” he said.
Hudson is the No. 25 offensive tackle nationally in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Games in Lexington: at Lafayette (Aug. 25), at Henry Clay (Sept. 29), at Dunbar (Oct. 13).
Western Hills’ three-star athlete is an offensive juggernaut for the Wolverines, rushing for 2,000 yards as a sophomore last season and looking for more this fall.
Robinson — a 5-8 prospect — was visiting Georgia last month and stepped out of a meeting with the Bulldogs’ coaches so he could take the phone call that resulted in an offer from Kentucky, which is recruiting him as a wide receiver.
The speedy recruit was clocked at 4.39 in the 40-yard dash at a Rivals camp in the spring, and he also has new offers from Louisville, Purdue, Cincinnati and Virginia.
Rivals.com ranks Robinson as a three-star player, and UK appears to be well-positioned early on in his recruitment.
Games in Lexington: at Lexington Catholic (Oct. 6).
Lexington Catholic’s sophomore quarterback started the final six games of the Knights’ season as a freshman last fall. He earned a scholarship offer from UK in May, and his father is former Morgan County star and UK quarterback Bill Allen.
So far, the 6-2 prospect’s other offers are from Eastern Kentucky and Bowling Green, but it’s still early for the 2020 recruit, and he’s on the radar of some big-name programs.
Allen told the Herald-Leader he took recruiting visits to UK, Auburn, Ohio State, UCLA, Southern Cal, California, Texas and Texas A&M this spring and summer.
Games in Lexington: vs. Covington Catholic (Aug. 25), vs. Lafayette (Sept. 1), at Lexington Christian (Sept. 8), vs. DeSales (Sept. 22), vs. Western Hills (Oct. 6), vs. Garrard County (Oct. 20).
The 2018 recruits
The top 10 recruits from the state of Kentucky in the class of 2018, according to the latest Rivals.com rankings:
1. Jairus Brents, Waggener: The top prospect in the state is also the only uncommitted player on this list. Brents, a 5-9 cornerback, has reported offers from UK, Louisville, Alabama, Southern Cal, Tennessee and a whole host of others, but he has not yet trimmed his list of schools. He’s also managed to stay out of the spotlight, making his recruitment a tough one to call at this stage.
2. Justice Dingle, Bowling Green: Four-star linebacker moved to Kentucky from Tennessee before his junior season and had scholarship offers from UK, Louisville, Tennessee and many others. He recently committed to Georgia Tech, citing academics as a primary reason for picking the Yellow Jackets.
3. Tahj Rice, Waggener: Four-star defensive tackle committed to Duke in the spring, also citing academics. He picked the Blue Devils over Louisville, Oregon, Southern Cal and Virginia Tech.
4. Rondale Moore, Trinity: Highly touted wide receiver missed most of last season due to an eligibility flap after transferring from New Albany, Ind., but he’ll be a favorite for Mr. Football honors this season. He recently committed to Texas, though look for UK and others to keep pursuing him until signing day.
5. Wyatt Smock, St. Xavier: Offensive lineman landed scholarship offers from hometown Louisville and others over the spring. He visited UK but never got an offer from the Cats. Smock has committed to Vanderbilt.
6. Kameron Butler, Covington Catholic: Three-star linebacker landed reported offers from Purdue, Vanderbilt and all three major service academies before ultimately committing to Miami (Ohio).
7. Cory Trice, Christian County: Three-star defensive back committed to Purdue in June and is the highest-rated of four Kentucky players in the Boilermakers’ 2018 class. Kentucky native Jeff Brohm is the new coach at Purdue.
8. Terez Traynor, Doss: Three-star wide receiver suffered a broken leg over the summer, and his progress was being monitored by UK’s coaching staff before he committed to Western Kentucky last week.
9. Tyrese Allen, Paintsville: Three-star defensive tackle committed to West Virginia, the first major school to extend a scholarship offer, in the spring. He was getting looks from UK and Louisville before that pledge.
10. Charles Allen, Doss: Three-star offensive lineman is the second Purdue commitment on this list. Brohm is expected to recruit the Louisville area hard in the coming years.
▪ The new ESPN 300 rankings for the 2019 class include six prospects from Kentucky: Trinity DE Stephen Herron (No. 82 overall), South Warren DT Jacob Lacey (No. 127), Scott County OL Bryan Hudson (No. 210), Louisville Christian WR Milton Wright (No. 218), Glasgow OL Tanner Bowles (No. 237) and Moore DE J.J. Weaver (No. 249). Herron (Michigan) and Lacey (Notre Dame) are already committed.
Herald-Leader staff writer Josh Moore contributed to this article.