Three days removed from officially locking up another highly touted recruiting class, the UK football program will look further into the future with junior day festivities in Lexington on Saturday.
Mark Stoops and his coaching staff will host at least three of their class of 2017 commitments, in addition to several highly touted and still-uncommitted prospects who will be seniors in high school next year.
“No rest,” Stoops said Wednesday. “We go back to work, get on it. … We were already in the office evaluating ’17 as a staff. We’ve been grinding on ’17. We have a big invite list that will come to the (basketball) game this week. We’re off to a great start in ’17, as you know.”
Kentucky already has six commitments for the class of 2017, and that group is ranked No. 11 nationally by 247Sports and No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference behind only Alabama.
Three of those players — Florida quarterback Mac Jones, Ohio athlete Russ Yeast and Lexington quarterback Walker Wood — are confirmed guests for this weekend’s junior day.
The highest-profile visitor on the junior day guest list is Lafayette offensive lineman Jedrick Wills, who is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 15 player and No. 3 offensive tackle in the class of 2017. He has scholarship offers from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Louisiana State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and several other top programs.
Wills is a friend and high school teammate of Wood and UK signee Landon Young. He attended several games at Commonwealth Stadium last season.
Other highly touted prospects expected to be on UK’s campus Saturday include Ohio athlete Javonte Richardson, Ohio cornerback Amir Riep, Michigan defensive backs Jaylen Kelly-Powell and Ambry Thomas, and Alabama safety J’Marick Woods.
Belfry High School standouts Cole Bentley and Ray Horton will also attend junior day. Bentley — an offensive lineman — had a stellar showing at the U.S. Army Combine in Texas last month. Horton, listed as a defensive tackle, has been on UK’s radar for a couple of years. The Wildcats’ coaching staff is monitoring both for potential scholarship offers.
Stoops said Wednesday that the program would sign a “lower number” of players in the class of 2017 than in years past, though he did not specify an exact number.
“There will be great quality in that class,” he said.
Former Michigan football player Brian Cole will also be at UK this weekend for an official visit.
Cole — a 6-foot-2, 200-pound wide receiver — was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 4 athlete and No. 101 overall prospect in the class of 2015. He caught one pass for the Wolverines as a freshman this past season and later moved to safety. He was also an active player on special teams.
Kentucky emerged as the leader for Cole after it was announced last month that he had left Michigan’s program. He would likely have to sit out the 2016 season and would then have three seasons of eligibility.
The Saginaw, Mich., native also had reported scholarship offers from Ohio State, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Nebraska and several other programs coming out of high school.
The Scout.com Top 300 rankings for the class of 2017 were released Friday, and Lafayette offensive lineman Jedrick Wills is listed as the No. 53 overall player and No. 7 offensive tackle nationally.
“During his sophomore year, he was a mauler and we loved his size and strength, and as a junior, we felt he showed a lot of improvement,” said Scout.com analyst Allen Trieu. “He was quicker and his defensive film was impressive as well. It is easy to see why there is a line of big-time programs coming after him.”