Mark Stoops believes Kentucky’s seniors deserve some credit
A few days after welcoming nearly a dozen recruits on campus for official visits, Kentucky’s football coaches will find out for sure what the bulk of their 2019 signing class will look like.
The early signing period for high school seniors and junior college prospects begins Wednesday, and the Wildcats will go into it with 21 commitments for the class of 2019.
Though recruits who want to sign early with a college will have until Friday to do so, all of UK’s likely additions are expected to make things official Wednesday, and Coach Mark Stoops and his assistants will be permitted to make public statements on those players once they’re signed.
The class so far
A commitment from three-star junior college defensive tackle Elijah James on Sunday afternoon was the Cats’ 21st for the 2019 class, which so far features four players with four-star rankings from Rivals.com: Ohio safety Moses Douglass, Louisville defensive standouts JJ Weaver and Jared Casey, and junior college wide receiver JaVonte Richardson. Richardson actually signed with the Cats out of high school and spent one season at UK before heading off to Iowa Western Community College.
Also part of the class are three additional players who have earned the highest three-star designation from Rivals.com: Florida quarterback Nik Scalzo, Louisville wide receiver Demontae Crumes and Georgia linebacker KD McDaniel, who has been committed to UK since February.
Crumes, Casey and Weaver join Doss defensive lineman Shawnkel Knight-Goff and West Jessamine offensive lineman Eli Cox to give the Cats a total of five in-state commitments for the 2019 class. UK signed zero in-state players last year.
Kentucky is expected to sign a full 25-player recruiting class in the 2019 cycle, so that means additional commitments will be coming for the Wildcats, possibly as early as Wednesday.
Junior college cornerback Kelvin Clemmons — a three-star recruit and the No. 70 juco player nationally, according to Rivals.com — is expected to announce his college decision Wednesday, and the finalists are Kentucky and South Florida, which hosted Clemmons for an official visit over the weekend.
Two of UK’s highest-profile guests this past weekend — four-star wide receiver Devonta Lee and four-star defensive back Jammie Robinson — are high on the Wildcats’ wishlist, though neither is expected to announce a college decision this week. Kentucky also hosted uncommitted, three-star safety Taj Dodson for an official visit over the weekend.
Former UK commitment Jay Ward — a highly touted defensive back from Georgia — is still on the Wildcats’ radar, though he, too, is expected to hold off on a final college announcement.
The players who don’t sign this week will have to wait until the regular signing period starts Feb. 6 to make their commitments official.
What to watch
It’s shaping up as a relatively stress-free signing day for the Cats, but — as followers of football recruiting know all too well — there’s always the possibility for surprises.
Of UK’s 21 commitments so far, Ohio defensive lineman Cavon Butler has been the biggest question mark in recent months. Several college powers have continued to recruit him, and, until recently, many analysts were predicting he would ultimately flip to Ohio State. That now seems unlikely. Michigan State is still getting some buzz as a possible landing spot, however, and Butler will be one to keep an eye on heading into his final decision Wednesday.
Louisville standout JJ Weaver (Moore High School) had publicly mentioned the idea of holding off on an official signature until the February recruiting period, but he is now expected to sign with the Wildcats on Wednesday.
If all of UK’s 21 commitments do indeed sign on the first day of the early period, any additional news — such as a commitment from Kelvin Clemmons or one of the other available recruits — would be of the positive variety.