UK Recruiting

Commitment by Craig Yeast's son kicks off banner day of Kentucky football recruiting

Russ Yeast, inset, is son of Craig Yeast shown eluding the Fla. defense (Reggie Davis) on his way to KY's first TD of the game, 1st quarter, Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, September 26, 1998.
Russ Yeast, inset, is son of Craig Yeast shown eluding the Fla. defense (Reggie Davis) on his way to KY's first TD of the game, 1st quarter, Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, September 26, 1998.

One of the University of Kentucky football program's newest additions out of Ohio is a name that will be plenty familiar to fans of the Wildcats.

Russ Yeast — the son of former UK wide receiver Craig Yeast — committed to the Cats on Tuesday, which was one of the biggest recruiting days yet for Mark Stoops and his coaching staff.

UK also picked up commitments from four-star teammates James Hudson and Michael Warren, both rising juniors from the state of Ohio.

ESPN and 247Sports both rank Yeast as a four-star prospect and one of the top 300 players nationally in the class of 2017.

All of the major recruiting services classify Yeast at the "athlete" position, though UK's coaches are expecting him to play wide receiver in college. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound prospect had 55 receptions for 12 touchdowns as a sophomore last season at Fremont Ross High School, where his father is the head coach. analyst Josh Helmholdt called Yeast a "student of the game," and a player who can make things happen on both sides of the ball.

"The thing that gets you most excited about Russ is that he's the son of a coach and the son of a record holder at Kentucky," Helmholdt told the Herald-Leader. "He knows football. He has a great football mind. And I think that comes out even more when you're watching him on film and you see the impact that he has on a game."

Craig Yeast led the Wildcats in catches in each of his four seasons in Lexington (1995-98), and he remains the program's all-time leader in receptions (208), receiving yards (2,899) and receiving touchdowns (28).

Randall Cobb is the only player in UK history that has scored more total touchdowns than Yeast, a Danville native who was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1999.

UK was the first program to extend a scholarship offer to Russ Yeast — back in June 2014 — and he picked up subsequent offers from Louisville, Maryland, Iowa, Illinois, Washington State and others. Ohio State, Michigan and Tennessee were among the other major programs showing an active interest in his recruitment.

247Sports ranks Yeast as the No. 207 overall prospect in the class of 2017 and the No. 11 recruit from the state of Ohio. ESPN pegs him as the No. 255 player in the country and the ninth-best player from Ohio. and both consider Yeast to be a three-star recruit.

He doesn't have the speed of his smaller father — Craig measured at 5-7 during his playing days — but Helmholdt said the younger Yeast's knowledge of the game makes him tough to keep track of as a receiver.

"He's a guy that will find those soft spots in the middle of zones, sit there and set up shop and have a field day," he said. "He's quick in short spaces. He can make people miss.

"He's not the big, A.J. Green-type receiver that will stretch the field vertically, but he is a guy that is going to move the chains for you, because he's going to get open."

Yeast's commitment came less than 24 hours after the Wildcats picked up a pledge from Mac Jones, a three-star quarterback in the class of 2017 who announced his own commitment to UK on Monday afternoon.

Warren — a running back from Toledo, Ohio — committed to the Cats a few hours after Yeast, and Hudson followed suit a little while after that.

Yeast and Jones were already looking toward the future with their social media posts Tuesday afternoon. Jones tweeted a picture of former UK quarterback Tim Couch and Craig Yeast, with the message: "This is us in a few years."

"Quarterback — that's a key position to have locked up early," Helmholdt said. "Offensive skill players want to know who they're going to be getting the ball from. So having a quarterback locked up is certainly a very positive early recruiting move, because it helps you recruit the rest of the positions across the field."

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