UK Football

UK football recruiting: Top prospects flock to campus, Russ Yeast cuts Cats, and more

Mark Stoops and the UK football coaching staff hosted some of the Wildcats’ top recruiting targets during a series of weekend camps.
Mark Stoops and the UK football coaching staff hosted some of the Wildcats’ top recruiting targets during a series of weekend camps. cbertram@herald-leader.com

There were no new UK football commitments as of Sunday night, but the Wildcats’ big recruiting weekend succeeded in getting some of the program’s top targets on campus.

Most of UK’s 10 commitments from the class of 2017 made it to Lexington for the series of camps Saturday and Sunday, and that group included Rivals 100 national recruit JaVonte Richardson, one of the Cats’ top-ranked pledges in recent years.

Highly touted quarterback Jarren Williams — the team’s only commitment for the class of 2018 —made the trip from Georgia, bringing several high school teammates with him for the Sunday Night Lights Camp at Commonwealth Stadium.

Just as important was the guest list of uncommitted recruits.

Mark Stoops and the UK coaching staff hosted, to name just a few: four-star athlete Lynn Bowden, four-star defensive lineman MJ Webb, four-star safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell, highly touted running back Morgan Ellison, top defensive back target Ahman Ross and offensive lineman Thayer Munford, who recently earned a scholarship offer from Alabama. Several talented class of 2018 recruits were also in town.

Webb — a 6-foot-3, 275-pound prospect from Madison, Ga. — posted a photo with his arm around Stoops’ shoulder Saturday, along with a message asking Twitter followers if he should be “Stoops’ next troop.” (The UK coach would like that very much.)

Bowden came to campus amid speculation that he might commit to the Cats during the trip, though that had not happened by the time he left Lexington on Sunday evening. 247Sports national analyst Steve Wiltfong is now predicting that Bowden will ultimately commit to the Cats.

A 6-1, 185-pound Ohio native, Bowden can play several different positions and is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 3 athlete nationally and the No. 82 overall recruit in the class of 2017. He has scholarship offers from Michigan, Penn State and Tennessee, but Kentucky is emerging as a frontrunner in his recruitment.

Off the list

Former UK commitment Russ Yeast — the son of Wildcats great Craig Yeast — is no longer listing Kentucky among the top schools in his recruitment.

Yeast, who announced last month that he was backing off of his commitment to the Cats after originally pledging to the program last summer, released a new list of his top six schools Sunday, and UK was not on it.

The three-star athlete from Greenwood, Ind., is now considering Louisville, Iowa, Auburn, Mississippi, Northwestern and Illinois. The 5-foot-10 player projects as a wide receiver or defensive back in college.

Latest on Wills

Lafayette offensive tackle Jedrick Wills did not attend UK’s big recruiting weekend, instead taking trips to two of the other schools on his list.

Wills — a five-star prospect and a top-20 recruit nationally — visited Georgia on Friday and Alabama on Saturday. He’s planning a visit to Michigan later this week, and he took trips to Notre Dame and Tennessee last month.

Florida and Louisiana State are the other two schools on his current list.

Wills is UK’s top remaining recruiting target in the class of 2017, and he’s visited the hometown campus several times over the past couple of years. He’s expected to narrow his list to five schools sometime soon.

Rivals.com ranks Wills as the No. 3 offensive tackle and No. 17 overall recruit in the country.

In Card country

Former UK commitments James Hudson, Michael Warren and Russ Yeast all visited Louisville on Friday for the Cardinals’ big summer recruiting event, but none of them committed during that trip.

There was buzz earlier in the week that indicated Warren — a highly touted running back from Ohio — would commit to the Cards if he received a scholarship offer at their camp, but that didn’t materialize.

Louisville did pick up weekend commitments from three-star linebacker Dorian Etheridge, three-star safety Lyndarious Strange and two-star defensive back Anthony Johnson.

The Cards’ 13-player recruiting class is now ranked No. 42 nationally, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. (UK’s 10-player class is No. 45 in those rankings).

Ben Roberts: 859-231-3216, @NextCats

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