CatsIllustrated - Is this Kentucky's hottest recruiting start under Mark Stoops?
football Edit

Is this Kentucky's hottest recruiting start under Mark Stoops?

If you're watching Kentucky's recent flurry of four-star football commitments and wondering if this is uncharted territory for the Wildcats, even during an era that has become known for unprecedented recruiting, you would almost be correct.

This is one of Kentucky's hottest recruiting start under Mark Stoops.

Here's how it stacks up with all of Stoops' previous classes.

Class of 2022

Total points on May 7th: 1,027

Kentucky's class is ranked No. 7 in the nation as of May 7th and following the commitment of four-star cornerback Alex Afari. The 'Cats have three commits who are ranked inside the Rivals250 and three additional four-star pledges.

OT Kiyaunta Goodwin (4-stars, No. 54 overall)

OLB Keaten Wade (4-stars, No. 156 overall)

OT Grant Bingham (4-stars, No. 246 overall)

ATH Destin Wade (4-stars)

DB Jeremiah Caldwell (4-stars)

CB Alex Afari (4-stars)

CB Andre Stewart (3-stars, 5.7)

ATH Treyveon Longmire (3-stars, 5.7)

TE Josh Kattus (3-stars, 5.6)

K Jackson Smith (2-stars, 5.4)

Class of 2021

Kentucky's 2021 recruiting class was not one of the higher ranked or more heralded classes of the Stoops era although we're years away from passing a real final judgment on it. It was a solid but modest start through May 7th.

Total points on May 7th: 480

WR Chauncey Magwood (3-stars, 5.7)

LB Devon Williams (3-stars, 5.7 — decommitted)

OT David Wohlabaugh (3-stars, 5.6)

OG Paul Rodriguez (3-stars, 5.6)

DL Kahlil Saunders (3-stars, 5.6)

QB Kaiya Sheron (3-stars, 5.6)

Class of 2020

This turned out to be Mark Stoops' second-highest ranked recruiting class after the 2014 haul. But really things didn't get cranked up until after May 7th. Five-star Justin Rogers committed in late May and things really got hot in December after the season when players had finished watching UK finish 10-3 and win the Citrus Bowl.

Total points on May 7th: 462

DL Lamar Goods (4-stars, No. 201 overall — decommitted)

QB Beau Allen (4-stars)

CB Andru Phillips (3-stars, 5.7)

OL Richard Leonard (3-stars, 5.7 — decommitted)

OL Gerald Mincey (3-stars, 5.5 — decommitted)

Class of 2019

Total points on May 7th: 456

Kentucky's 2019 class did heat up and rise in the rankings but not until late with additions from the likes of Jared Casey, JJ Weaver, and MJ Devonshire well after the period we're studying.

S Moses Douglass (4-stars, No. 231 overall)

DB Keontra Smith (4-stars)

LB Shawnkel Knight-Goff (3-stars, 5.7)

LB K.D. McDaniel (3-stars, 5.7)

OL Eli Cox (3-stars, 5.5)

Class of 2018

Total points on May 7th: 465

Kentucky's 2018 signing class was very deep with mostly three-star prospects, many from the Sunshine State. There were a number of early commitments but several did not ultimately sign with Kentucky.

WR BJ Alexander (3-stars, 5.7)

OT Darian Kinnard (3-stars, 5.7)

WR Shocky Jacques-Louis (3-stars, 5.7 — decommitted)

DL Davoan Hawkins (3-stars, 5.6)

WR Cadarius Gaskin (3-stars, 5.5 — decommitted)

DT Tyler Bentley (3-stars, 5.5 — decommitted)

Class of 2017

Total points on May 7th: 1,036

We're close to being able to say that Kentucky's 2017 recruiting class was the best Stoops has had, using hindsight. It's at least very close to the top. But it wasn't that way in the rankings, although it was regarded as another fairly strong haul. UK started this cycle very hot with both quantity and quality but the number of decommitments this year was significant.

WR Javonte Richardson (4-stars, No. 84 overall)

DE James Hudson (4-stars, No. 211 — decommitted)

QB Mac Jones (4-stars — decommitted)

DB Tyrell Ajian (4-stars)

CB Russ Yeast (3-stars, 5.7 — decommitted)

DE Alex King (3-stars, 5.7)

RB Mike Warren (3-stars, 5.6 — decommitted)

RB Bryant Koback (3-stars, 5.6)

QB Walker Wood (3-stars, 5.5)

LB Jamin Davis (3-stars, 5.5)

DL Quinton Bohanna (3-stars, 5.5)

OL Austin Dotson (2-stars, 5.4)

Class of 2016

Total points on May 7th: 1,069

The 2016 recruiting class will forever be known as the one that included Kentuckians Drake Jackson, Landon Young, and Kash Daniel, veritable faces of the program that are just now moving on in a couple of cases. This class should also be remembered as a time when Kentucky got off to a very fast recruiting start.

OL Landon Young (4-stars, No. 91 overall)

OL Drake Jackson (4-stars)

DB Tobias Gilliam (3-stars, 5.7)

CB Jordan Griffin (3-stars, 5.7)

DB Davonte Robinson (3-stars, 5.6)

LB Roland Walder (3-stars, 5.6)

WR Kayaune Ross (3-stars, 5.6)

RB AJ Rose (3-stars, 5.6)

LB Jaylin Bannerman (3-stars, 5.6)

WR Dakota Holtzclaw (3-stars, 5.6)

RB Benny Snell (3-stars, 5.5)

OL Luke Fortner (3-stars, 5.5)

WR Zy'Aire Hughes (3-stars, 5.5)

Class of 2015

Total points on May 7th: 296

In fairness, Jordan Jones committed on May 8th and that would have bumped this score but it was a very slow start in spite of this class turning out to be a very strong group in terms of real on-field contributions.

LB Eli Brown (4-stars, No. 133 overall)

OL Logan Stenberg (3-stars, 5.7)

OL Levon Livingston (3-stars, 5.5)

Class of 2014

Total points on May 7th: 458

This turned out to be Kentucky's highest-ranked class of the Stoops tenure, No. 18 in the final analysis, but May 7th was before things really got hot. A few days later Drew Barker would commit and that's when things really heated up.

RB Mikel Horton (4-stars, No. 150)

WR Thaddeus Snodgrass (3-stars, 5.7)

LB Dorian Hendrix (3-stars, 5.7)

TE Darryl Long (3-stars, 5.6)

DL Tymere Dubose (3-stars, 5.6)

So the final tally shows that Kentucky's 2016 and 2017 recruiting starts were ever-so-slightly better than the current 2022 commits in hindsight.

However, Kentucky has never had six four-star commitments at this point in the process. It only had five four-star players in the '16 and '17 classes combined on May 7th in those respective years. And there were so many decommitments from the 2017 class that it was pretty much blown up and started from scratch.