High School Football

UK offered Jairus Brents when he was 13. Now a senior, he remains undecided.

Waggener quarterback Jairus Brents hands the ball off to running back Brandon Jones against Lexington Christian at Lexington Christian Academy in Lexington, KY., on Saturday, August 19, 2017.
Waggener quarterback Jairus Brents hands the ball off to running back Brandon Jones against Lexington Christian at Lexington Christian Academy in Lexington, KY., on Saturday, August 19, 2017.

Each of the top 10 high school football recruits in the state of Kentucky’s class of 2018 has decided where he will be playing his college ball. That is, all but one.

Jairus Brents, a 5-foot-10, 178-pound senior at Waggener High School in Louisville, is a four-star recruit and the twenty-fifth ranked defensive back nationally according to 247Sports. But he has not committed to a college.

Lexington got a look at Brents on Saturday night when Lexington Christian hosted Waggner. The Eagles handled the Wildcats, 40-14, but Brents put on a show in the loss, essentially acting as the entirety of Waggener’s offense and defense.

“Jairus Brents is top-notch, heck of a player, one of the best in the country in just being a playmaker,” LCA Coach Ethan Atchley said.

Playing quarterback, Brents passed for 111 yards and a touchdown, but he particularly displayed his athleticism when he scrambled. On most plays, he ended up dodging linemen in the pocket and running across the field laterally to pick up a few yards, often juking multiple players at once. He rushed 24 times for 157 yards and one touchdown.

Brents spent the majority of the evening dancing around would-be tacklers, but he also displayed some power in the second half when he lowered his shoulder and easily deflected LCA sophomore Josh McClurg to gain a first down.

“It was my last resort, so I had to,” Brents said. “If I need to, I can lower my shoulder.”

As a defensive back, where colleges project him, he flew around and wreaked havoc when he could. He only registered five and half tackles — two for loss — but he always swarmed the ball and broke up a couple of passes. On one play, LCA quarterback Logan Nieves threw a ball ostensibly out of Brents’ reach, but he stepped back, leaped and nearly intercepted it.

“I baited the underneath route and he tried to throw it over my head, so I backpedaled and jumped. I didn’t come down with the catch. Very, very, very disappointed in myself,” Brents said of the play.

According to 247Sports, Brents has a staggering 34 scholarship offers (among them UK, which offered him when he was 13 years old), but he has not narrowed down his list or indicated which schools he is considering. After the LCA game, however, he gave a few hints.

First, Brents is not a fan of cold weather and the snow, seemingly eliminating northern schools.

“It’s going to be warm,” Brents said of where he will end up, although he noted distance from home is a non-factor for him.

He also does not want to sit and wait around; he would like to be an impact player next season.

“I’m trying to go somewhere where I can get on the field as a true freshman and be important to the team and make plays,” he said. “I’m not trying to go to a college where I have to sit out or redshirt.”

He also revealed that he has a preference for the type of defensive scheme he plays. Teams with heavy zone defenses might not be as attractive to him.

“I wanna play a lot of man, so that plays a big part,” Brents said.

Academically, Brents should be all squared away.

“Right now, with the ACT, I’m not going to Harvard,” he joked before adding: “My ACT is good enough to get into any college that’s offered me so far.”

Jairus Brents(2)
Waggener quarterback Jairus Brents runs down field against Lexington Christian at Lexington Christian Academy in Lexington, KY., on Saturday, August 19, 2017. Michael Reaves

On Saturday evening, LCA looked sharp in its victory. Nieves passed for 169 yards and rushed for 81 more and Dillon Wheatley notched 49 rushing yards and two scores. The Eagles ran their hurry-up offense well and did a solid job tiring out the Waggener defense, including lineman Tahj Rice, a Duke commit.

However, the Eagles offense was not the most impressive spectacle. Jairus Brents was.

“He’s a do-it-all kid, man,” Atchley said. “As tough a kid as I’ve ever schemed for. As big a playmaker as I’ve ever seen. “

A major program will gain that playmaker next year. But as of now, no one — not even Brents — knows where that will be.

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