UK Recruiting

Stoops secures commitments from two 2016 recruits

Kentucky couldn't get past top-ranked Mississippi State, but the night wasn't a total loss. Coach Mark Stoops landed commitments from two talented recruits for the class of 2016 following Saturday's defeat, including one pledge from the son of a former Wildcat.

Ashland Blazer running back Quinton Baker and Ohio linebacker Roland Walder both announced their commitments after attending the game.

Baker — the son of former UK running back Al Baker — is considered the No. 29 running back in the junior class by Scout.com. He has run for 1,284 yards and 14 touchdowns so far this season.

Al Baker ran for 1,534 yards and 15 touchdowns from 1986-90, leading the Wildcats in rushing as a senior. He is 16th on UK's career rushing list.

Kentucky now has commitments from four of the top five in-state players in the class of 2016, according to the 247Sports rankings. That recruiting service considers Baker the No. 3 junior in the state. UK commitments Landon Young, Zy'Aire Hughes and Davonte Robinson are ranked second, fourth and fifth, respectively.

The state's No. 1 junior — Woodford County offensive lineman Drake Jackson — was also at Saturday's game and has publicly said that UK is the favorite in his recruitment.

Rivals.com ranks Walder as the No. 16 inside linebacker in the class of 2016. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound prospect is a high school teammate of cornerback Kei Beckham, who is committed to UK for 2015 and also attended Saturday's game.

Walder is UK's first commitment from Ohio for the class of 2016. The Cats now have six total pledges for that class.

Madison Southern running back Damien Harris was in Lexington for his fifth UK home game this fall. Harris wore a black "Go Big Blue" T-shirt and mingled with UK staff members and other recruits on the field before the game.

Harris no longer needs crutches to get around and is expected to return to the field for the state playoffs in two weeks. He suffered a sprained MCL earlier this month.

North Carolina commitment J.K. Britt and Pittsburgh commitment DaVon Hamilton were among UK's other recruiting guests Saturday. Both three-star seniors are considering the Wildcats despite their commitments elsewhere.

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