UK Recruiting

Kentucky climbs recruiting rankings with commitment from N.C. defensive end

Kengera Daniel is the No. 16 weakside defensive end in the senior class in Rivals' rankings.
Kengera Daniel is the No. 16 weakside defensive end in the senior class in Rivals' rankings. Photo provided

Another of Kentucky football Coach Mark Stoops' biggest recruiting targets for the class of 2015 has announced his commitment to the Wildcats.

Three-star defensive end Kengera Daniel picked the Wildcats on Wednesday over finalists Alabama, Louisville, North Carolina State and Virginia. Rivals.com ranks the 6-foot-6, 250-pound prospect as the No. 16 weak-side defensive end in the senior class.

Daniel is UK's 16th commitment for next year and joins Florida standout Jason Strowbridge as the second defensive end in the class. The Cats lost a commitment from defensive end Darius Fullwood in September.

UK special teams coordinator Craig Naivar was Daniel's primary recruiter, but it was a group effort that led to his commitment. Stoops and defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh pitched in with the recruitment, as did freshman defensive back Kendall Randolph, who played youth football with Daniel and spent a lot of time with the recruit on his most recent visit to Lexington.

Daniel, from Raleigh, N.C., was one of several uncommitted seniors in town for the Cats' upset victory over South Carolina this month.

He joined Ohio defensive backs Andrew and David Dowell, South Carolina wide receiver Tavin Richardson and Madison Southern running back Damien Harris on the guest list that night.

The Dowell twins committed to UK the next day, and now Daniel has joined the class. The Cats seem to be in good shape with both Richardson and Harris, though neither player is expected to announce a college decision anytime soon.

A clean sweep of those players — five of Stoops' top targets for 2015 — would be a major recruiting statement. With Daniel's commitment, UK moved up eight spots to No. 20 in the Rivals.com class rankings for 2015. The Cats passed Oregon, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech, among others.

Daniel is the first recruit from North Carolina who has committed to Kentucky as a scholarship player under Stoops. Freshman walk-on wide receiver Ryan Kendall is the only North Carolinian on the UK roster.

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