UK Recruiting

National signing day doesn’t quite go according to plan for UK football

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.

Highly touted football recruit MJ Devonshire committed to Kentucky on Wednesday, but the Cats missed out on Jay Ward, another top prospect who was expected to pick UK.

Devonshire — a 6-foot cornerback from the Pittsburgh area — landed a UK scholarship offer last month and quickly emerged as one of the Wildcats’ top targets to finish out the 2019 class. Rivals.com ranks Devonshire as a four-star recruit and the No. 32 cornerback nationally. He joins outside linebacker Jared Casey, safety Moses Douglass and jack linebacker JJ Weaver as the fourth player in UK’s class with a four-star ranking from Rivals.

Pittsburgh and West Virginia were seen as the Cats’ main competition for Devonshire.

Ward — a 6-1 defensive back from Moultrie, Ga. — committed to Louisiana State over fellow finalists Kentucky, Florida State and Texas A&M. A former UK commitment, Ward was widely expected to re-commit to the Cats and sign with Kentucky on Wednesday. Going into the day, 100 percent of the predictions on his 247Sports Crystal Ball and Rivals.com FutureCast pages were in favor of UK, but he picked the Tigers instead.

247Sports ranks Ward as a four-star recruit and the No. 29 cornerback in the 2019 class. Rivals.com gives Ward its highest three-star designation.

UK had already signed five defensive backs in the December period, a group featuring junior college prospects Brandin Echols and Quadre Mosely, along with Douglass and fellow high schoolers Taj Dodson and Jalen Geiger.

Kentucky’s defensive backfield will be in rebuilding mode after losing seniors Derrick Baity, Mike Edwards, Lonnie Johnson, Darius West and Chris Westry, all starters at various points in their UK careers. Mark Stoops acknowledged during the December signing period that defensive back was one of the program’s priorities in the 2019 class.

The other recruits on UK’s target list heading into the week — four-star wide receiver Devonta Lee and four-star defensive back Jammie Robinson — both signed with other schools. Lee picked LSU, and Robinson ended up at South Carolina.

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