UK Football

‘Huge’ cornerback recruit from Florida is UK’s latest football commitment for 2018

Four-star cornerback Stanley Garner tweeted a photo of himself in UK gear during a recent recruiting visit to Lexington.
Four-star cornerback Stanley Garner tweeted a photo of himself in UK gear during a recent recruiting visit to Lexington.

Oversized cornerbacks from the state of Florida have paid off for UK in recent seasons, and the Wildcats will be bringing in another one in the class of 2018.

Four-star cornerback Stanley Garner — a 6-foot-3, 180-pound prospect from Fort Lauderdale — announced Wednesday night that he has committed to Kentucky, giving the Cats another major talent in a recruiting class that was already ranked in the Top 25 nationally.

Garner chose UK over fellow finalists Alabama, Clemson, Louisville and Michigan, and he had reported scholarship offers from all of those schools.

He’s the first high school defensive back to commit to UK for 2018, and he’ll join a roster that already features two other tall, talented Florida cornerbacks, Derrick Baity and Chris Westry, who are both returning starters at the position and will be seniors next year.

Garner fits the same mold.

“He’s huge. The first thing you notice about him is his length,” Rivals.com analyst Rob Cassidy told the Herald-Leader. “It’s impressive that he still can play corner, and I think that’s why we’re higher on him than some other people. He’s every bit of 6-3, if not 6-4, and he almost looks longer than that because of his long arms. But he still moves like a corner and covers well.

“I think when somebody sees a kid the size of Stanley, it’s natural to want to put him at safety just because of how big he is. But he really covers well, and I think he’ll be able to play corner in the SEC.”

Rivals.com ranks Garner as the No. 31 cornerback nationally in the 2018 class. He received a ranking bump from that recruiting service earlier this year after showing improvement on the field during Florida’s 7-on-7 season.

“He’s become so much more fluid,” Cassidy said. “Last year, he had the body but he was still trying to figure out how to get used to it. How to backpedal — when you’re that big, it’s kind of tough to get used to it. He made some impressive strides in the offseason. I saw him at a number of 7-on-7s this summer, and I thought he looked great.”

Garner is UK’s 17th commitment for the 2018 class, and the Cats’ incoming group of recruits will now be ranked No. 18 nationally by Rivals.com, moving ahead of Southeastern Conference rivals South Carolina and Mississippi State in those rankings. In the SEC, only Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana State and Texas A&M have more highly touted classes than UK at this stage in the recruiting cycle.

Kentucky’s only other commitment at defensive back is junior-college standout Dom Williams, though the Cats could pick up another commitment — from three-star high school cornerback Jamari Brown — on Thursday.

One catch to Garner’s commitment is that he recently said he plans to take official visits to all five of his finalists despite the pledge to UK.

“That’s the just how recruiting goes these days,” Cassidy said with a chuckle. “But, you know, maybe after he’s committed they’ll talk him out of that.”

UK football commitments for the class of 2018

Player

Pos

Ht

Wt

Hometown

Rivals

Scout

ESPN

247Sports

Marvin Alexander

WR

6-3

175

Hollywood, Fla.

***

***

***

***

Brenden Bates

TE

6-5

220

Cincinnati, Ohio

****

***

***

***

Tyler Bentley

DT

6-3

295

West Chester, Ohio

***

***

***

***

Stanley Garner

CB

6-3

180

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

****

***

***

***

Davoan Hawkins

DE

6-5

250

Hollywood, Fla.

***

***

***

***

Akeem Hayes

WR

5-10

175

Hollywood, Fla.

***

***

***

***

Darian Kinnard

OL

6-7

335

Cleveland, Ohio

***

****

****

***

Marquan McCall

OL/DL

6-3

280

Detroit, Mich.

****

****

****

***

Xavier Peters

OLB

6-4

225

West Chester, Ohio

***

****

****

****

Chance Poore

K

6-3

200

Anderson, S.C.

***

**

Alex Reigelsperger

DE

6-5

235

Huber Heights, Ohio

***

***

****

***

Chris Rodriguez

RB

6-0

200

McDonough, Ga.

***

DeAndre Square

OLB

6-1

200

Detroit, Mich.

***

****

***

***

Keaton Upshaw

TE

6-7

225

Lima, Ohio

***

***

***

***

Dom Williams

CB

5-11

185

Knoxville, Tenn.

***

***

**

Jarren Williams

QB

6-2

207

Lawrenceville, Ga.

****

****

****

****

Quintin Wilson

OL

6-3

290

Cincinnati, Ohio

***

***

***

***

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