High School Football

Lafayette sends Jedrick Wills to Alabama, three to UK on national signing day

Walker Wood, left and Jedrick Wills announced their commitments after school on football signing day at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Ky., on Feb. 1, 2017.
Walker Wood, left and Jedrick Wills announced their commitments after school on football signing day at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Ky., on Feb. 1, 2017. palcala@herald-leader.com

Lafayette’s senior football class helped the Generals make history on the gridiron by becoming the first Lexington school to play in consecutive championship games. On Wednesday, five members of that class signed to play at the next level.

Star lineman Jedrick Wills, a five-star prospect rated by Rivals.com as the 25th best player in the nation, officially signed with the University of Alabama on Wednesday morning but partook in a special afternoon ceremony in Lafayette’s cafeteria. So did quarterback Walker Wood, a member of the University of Kentucky’s fall signing class who was part of a seven-player group that enrolled at UK in January.

UK recruited Wills down to the wire but could not flip him from the commitment he made to the Crimson Tide on Nov. 15. Wills said it got “really, really, really crazy” down the stretch.

“It got pretty close down to the end,” Wills said of his college decision. “ ... The recruiting started to get really up-tempo again after it’d died down for a long time.”

He was happy to have the process come to an official close but acknowledged the bittersweet finality signing day meant for his and his teammates’ high school football careers.

“A class like this coming through Lafayette probably will never come through Lexington again,” Wills said. “Us group of guys are very close and what we did this season is something we’ll remember forever.”

Wood was as involved as anyone in trying to get Wills to UK. He didn’t know about his teammates’ final decision until a few hours before the signing ceremony.

“He kept it close to him and I’m really, really happy for him,” Wood said. “He’s going to a great program and we’ll get to play in the SEC together. It’s gonna be a pretty cool picture after a game with him in a ’Bama jersey and me in a Kentucky jersey. I’m excited for that down the road.”

The Wildcats couldn’t land Wills, but they didn’t leave Lafayette empty-handed. Lineman Alex Simpson and linebacker Branden Layne will join Wood on campus, both as preferred walk-ons. Former Lafayette star Landon Young started several games as a freshman at UK last year.

“That’s a Lafayette pipeline right up to Kentucky,” Wood said with a grin. “That’s good. It makes it more homey than it already is.”

Simpson, who was offered by several NAIA schools and at one time was receiving Division I interest, suffered an MCL tear during the season. He’s been back in the weight room and hopes to be near full strength soon.

Layne also had offers from NAIA and Division II schools but chose to walk on at UK instead.

“I think I made the best choice for me and I’m excited for what the future brings,” Layne said. “... I think UK’s got something special going on and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Lafayette wide receiver Quinton Brown signed with Lindsey Wilson. Several players from other city and area teams made their college decisions official on Wednesday.

Tates Creek’s Jackson Beerman, a wide receiver who helped the Commodores win a playoff game for the first time in 12 years, signed with Eastern Kentucky. He was joined by teammates Ebube Emeh and Xavier Johnson, who signed with Charleston (W.Va.) and Kentucky State, respectively.

Bryan Station defensive end Quinten Floyd, a three-year starter for the Defenders, and lineman Shane Burks joined Beerman as Lexington standouts who signed with EKU on Wednesday. The trio are the first Lexington players to sign with the Commodores since second-year head coach Mark Elder took over the program.

Lexington Catholic lineman Woodford Lankford, originally committed to Western Kentucky, signed with Toledo on Wednesday. The Knights’ Ben Buchignani signed with Georgetown College.

Henry Clay’s Evan Works (kicker) and Andrew Young (offensive tackle) both signed with Hanover College.

Scott County star lineman Colby McKee, son of Cardinals Coach Jim McKee, signed with Austin Peay. Fellow Class of the Commonwealth selection Landon White, a kicker at Madison Central, will sign with Eastern Kentucky as part of a spring signing ceremony Friday. Madison Central quarterback Zach Hardin will sign with Morehead State then as well.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

Class of the Commonwealth

Find out where each of the Lexington Herald-Leader’s 25 Class of the Commonwealth are headed:

Player

Pos.

High School

College

Has signed

Jackson Beerman

WR

Tates Creek

Eastern Kentucky

Yes

Cole Bentley

OL

Belfry

Louisville

Yes

Spencer Blackburn

QB

Trinity

Undecided

No

Geordan Blanton

Athlete

Johnson Central

Marshall (baseball)

Yes

Landon Board

RB

Owensboro

Undecided

No

Trajon Bright

RB

Mayfield

Murray State

Yes

Jamale Carothers

RB

Bowling Green

Navy

Yes

KeyRon Catlett

WR

Christian County

Purdue

Yes

Zack Dampier

QB

Danville

Georgetown College

No

Austin Dotson

OL

Belfry

Kentucky

Yes

Quinten Floyd

DL

Bryan Station

Eastern Kentucky

Yes

Steven Franklin

LB

Glasgow

Eastern Kentucky

No

Kyree Hawkins

RB/DB

Fern Creek

Undecided

No

CJ Hayes

WR/DB

South Warren

Michigan State

Yes

Dante Hendrix

WR

Cooper

Indiana State

Yes

Jake Johnson

WR

Pulaski County

Georgetown College

Yes

Woodford Lankford

OL

Lexington Catholic

Toledo

Yes

Colby McKee

OL

Scott County

Austin Peay

Yes

Collin Miller

WR/DB

Casey County

Undecided

No

Tanner Morgan

QB

Ryle

Minnesota

Yes

Jake Paulson

TE/DE

Louisville Christian

Minnesota

Yes

Kent Phelps

RB

Paintsville

Wofford

Yes

Landon White

K

Madison Central

Eastern Kentucky

No

Jedrick Wills

OL

Lafayette

Alabama

Yes

Walker Wood

QB

Lafayette

Kentucky

Yes

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