UK Recruiting

Crystal Ball checkup: UK’s chances with top remaining football recruits

What else would Kentucky like to add to 2019 recruiting class?

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops said Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, that he is leaving four or five spots open for the class of 2019 February signing date. UK announced 20 signings during the early signing period.
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Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops said Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, that he is leaving four or five spots open for the class of 2019 February signing date. UK announced 20 signings during the early signing period.

With national signing day coming up Wednesday, the recruitments of the top four football prospects on UK’s radar are starting to clear up in the minds of recruiting analysts.

For the past few weeks, the Cats have focused on a trio of defensive backs — MJ Devonshire, Jammie Robinson and Jay Ward — and four-star wide receiver Devonta Lee as they look for a strong finish to the 2019 recruiting cycle. UK signed 21 players in the December period, allowing the program to be more selective in the lead-up to the traditional national signing date.

Heading into Wednesday, it’s looking like the Cats will sign at least two of their top four remaining targets. All four are expected to announce college decisions on national signing day, and — though UK has four spots to fill — the Cats won’t necessarily sign that many to finish off the 2019 class. Here are the latest predictions on where UK’s top targets will end up:

MJ Devonshire

The Pittsburgh-area defensive back has spent the past week hosting in-home visits with college coaches, including Mark Stoops, and he took his official visit to UK the previous weekend. Pittsburgh and West Virginia appear to be the Cats’ main competition.

Kentucky exited the weekend tied with Pitt on Devonshire’s 247Sports Crystal Ball page, but the Cats have received the past six predictions there, including one from national analyst Steve Wiltfong late last week. Devonshire is the No. 49 cornerback in the 247Sports composite rankings.

Trending team: Kentucky

Devonta Lee

The highest-ranked recruit remaining on UK’s 2019 board — Rivals.com ranks Lee as the No. 126 overall player in the class — is a teammate of Wildcats QB signee Amani Gilmore, who has been trying to get his friend to join him in college. Hometown Louisiana State also wants the 6-foot-2 receiver as part of its recruiting class, however, and the Tigers enter the week as the overwhelming favorite among recruiting analysts.

All 20 picks dating back to the summer on Lee’s 247Sports Crystal Ball page have been in favor of the Tigers, and 10 of the 11 picks on his Rivals FutureCast page — including one from national analyst Mike Farrell and several more from regional analysts — are for LSU, which hosted Lee for an official visit this past weekend. Cats Illustrated analyst Justin Rowland logged a pick in favor of UK — the only such prediction on the player’s Rivals.com page — over the weekend, but flipped that pick back to LSU on Monday morning.

Trending team: LSU

Jammie Robinson

Publicly, the Georgia defensive back has a recruiting list of Auburn, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee, but the Gamecocks have cemented their status as the major favorite in recent weeks.

Robinson, who took an official visit to UK in December and has remained in close contact with the Wildcats’ coaching staff, landed an offer from South Carolina during his sophomore year and has been to Columbia for numerous recruiting visits. Every prediction on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page over the past year has been in favor of the Gamecocks, as have all 10 of the picks on his Rivals.com FutureCast page. Rivals ranks Robinson as a four-star recruit and the No. 24 safety nationally.

Trending team: South Carolina

Jay Ward

Originally one of the first prospects from the 2019 class to commit to UK, the Georgia defensive back stepped away from that pledge in November but has remained in contact with the Wildcats’ coaches and came to Lexington a couple of weeks ago for his official visit.

Ward — ranked by 247Sports as the No. 29 cornerback nationally and a four-star recruit — has a final four consisting of Florida State, Kentucky, Louisiana State and Texas A&M. A wave of predictions have gone the Wildcats’ way in recent days. UK now holds 100 percent of the picks on Ward’s Crystal Ball page and his Rivals.com FutureCast page, great signs for the Cats with a player they’ve coveted since the early stages of the 2019 recruiting cycle.

Trending team: Kentucky

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