Though nearly all of UK’s football recruiting class of 2019 was cemented during the December signing period, there might still be a little suspense for the Wildcats on the traditional national signing day Wednesday.
With 21 signees already part of the program for next season, Mark Stoops and the UK coaching staff have no more than four spots to fill with additional 2019 recruits this week. Here’s what Wildcats fans should know going into national signing day:
The class so far
The 2019 cycle marked the second year of the December signing period, and Kentucky took advantage with the official addition of 21 players. Many of those prospects are already on campus as January enrollees — meaning they’ll get to join the team for spring practice — and the early group of signees filled several positions of need for the Wildcats moving forward.
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Though UK’s coaches have, unsurprisingly, been high on the program’s recruiting class so far, it’s not yet ranked among the top 25 nationally. Rivals.com has Kentucky’s class at No. 31 overall, ESPN ranks the Cats’ haul at No. 32, and 247Sports puts UK at No. 37 on its list. All three of those recruiting services rank the Wildcats’ class as the 12th best in the Southeastern Conference, placing it above only SEC East foes Missouri and Vanderbilt.
Still, it’s a respectable class for UK, and the quality of players remaining on the Wildcats’ radar could lead to a slight rise in their national ranking by the end of the week.
The four remaining UK targets who have received the most attention over the past couple of weeks are defensive backs MJ Devonshire, Jammie Robinson and Jay Ward, and four-star wide receiver Devonta Lee, who, until recently, was ranked by Rivals.com as a top 100 player nationally.
There’s a strong consensus on where all four of those players will end up Wednesday.
Barring a surprise, UK is expected to land commitments from Devonshire and Ward on national signing day, adding those two players to a defensive backs group that already includes junior college standouts Brandin Echols and Quandre Mosely, as well as high school recruits Taj Dodson, Moses Douglass and Jalen Geiger, who all signed in December.
Robinson is widely expected to choose South Carolina on Wednesday, while Lee — a high school teammate of UK quarterback commitment Amani Gilmore — is expected to stay close to home and sign with Louisiana State. Lee is scheduled to announce his college decision at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.
Signing days often lead to commitments from under-the-radar recruits, and the Herald-Leader was told recently that UK has been taking close looks at 2019 prospects in addition to Devonshire, Lee, Robinson and Ward, so the Cats might still have a surprise or two Wednesday.
The big day
The December signing period has almost completely stolen the spotlight from February’s traditional national signing day, which was previously a holiday of sorts for a certain segment of college football fans. There should still be some news on this signing day.
In addition to the likelihood of more commitments, UK Coach Mark Stoops and recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow are scheduled to hold a press conference at 2 p.m., when they’ll be able to officially comment on the new recruits and take questions on other matters related to the Wildcats football team.
With spring practice just around the corner, there should be plenty of talking points from Kroger Field.