UK Recruiting

Horde of in-state football talent converges on Kroger Field for UK-Georgia game

Wandale Robinson talks about Kentucky’s plan for him

Western Hills football star Wandale Robinson talks about UK's recruitment of him and how the Wildcats see him fitting in if he were to choose the local program.
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Western Hills football star Wandale Robinson talks about UK's recruitment of him and how the Wildcats see him fitting in if he were to choose the local program.

Two days after choosing Kentucky over a star-studded list of fellow finalists, Wandale Robinson was at Kroger Field with dozens of other top recruits before the Wildcats’ game against Georgia on Saturday.

Robinson — a do-it-all offensive player from nearby Western Hills High School in Frankfort — chose UK over Alabama, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Purdue on Thursday. His high school career ended the next day with Western Hills’ 78-74 loss to Lawrence County in the first round of the state playoffs.

The newest UK commitment had a combined 361 yards rushing and receiving (and four offensive touchdowns) in that game. Robinson — the Mr. Football frontrunner — finished the season with 206 carries for 1,973 yards and 30 rushing touchdowns, 31 receptions for 725 yards and 11 touchdown catches, plus four return touchdowns and 2 TD passes.

He said at his commitment ceremony Thursday that he was hoping to recruit some of his in-state peers to join him at Kentucky.

“Definitely. I’ll probably try to reach out to a couple of ’em,” he said. “I know a lot of ’em, so we already talk on a regular basis. … Just talking about different schools and things like that.”

Robinson had a captive audience Saturday.

The UK guest list for what amounted to an SEC East title matchup with Georgia made for the program’s biggest recruiting event this season. The Herald-Leader was told Saturday morning that the program was expecting approximately 175 recruits to be at the game.

Among those expected to be in attendance were Ballard linebacker Jared Casey and Moore defensive end JJ Weaver, both four-star recruits in the 2019 class. Casey is committed to Oregon but had UK on his short list before that, and Weaver is set to make his decision later this month — with the Wildcats emerging as a possible favorite in recent weeks.

In-state commitments Eli Cox, Demontae Crumes and Shawnkel Knight-Goff were also set to attend Saturday’s game.

Several talented in-state players beyond the 2019 class were on UK’s guest list, including Lexington Catholic quarterback Beau Allen, Bowling Green defensive back Vito Tisdale, Louisville Christian offensive lineman John Young, Male wide receiver Izayah Cummings, and Boyle County teammates Landon Bartleson and Reese Smith — all highly touted players in the recruiting class of 2020 with UK scholarship offers.

The out-of-state guest list is even bigger, and it included four-star commitment Moses Douglass and Ohio high school teammate Isaiah Gibson, also a UK commitment, plus UK quarterback commitment Amani Gilmore, who arrived in Lexington from Louisiana on Saturday morning.

Two major class of 2019 recruits were also scheduled to be in Lexington for official visits this weekend: Ohio defensive tackle Cavon Butler and Georgia defensive lineman Kamaar Bell.

Butler is already committed to UK but took a recent official visit to Michigan State and is also scheduled to be at Ohio State for an official visit later this month.

Bell is ranked as one of the top 25 guards in the 2019 class.

Staff writer Josh Moore contributed to this story.

(NOTE: Wandale Robinson later flipped his commitment to Nebraska). Four-star class of 2019 running back Wandale Robinson announces his initial college decision, choosing between UK, Alabama, Ohio State, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan.