football Edit

JUCO DB could provide immediate help for UK

Last week, Kentucky's coaching staff offered Northwest Mississippi C.C. defensive back Brandin Echols.

It's easy to understand why.

Echols, who already had an offer from Ole Miss, is likely to enroll early at a four-year school at the start of 2019, and it's no secret Kentucky could use an influx of ready-to-play secondary talent in this recruiting cycle.

Buy one month, don't pay again until September 1st, 2018

Brandin Echols (NW Mississippi CC)

Cornerbacks Chris Westry, Lonnie Johnson and Derrick Baity will all be gone after the 2018 season. So will safeties Darius West and Mike Edwards.

There are younger players on the roster, but the roster turnover in the defensive backfield will be enormous following the 2018 season, when the Wildcats field one of the most experienced secondaries in the country.

To address that looming turnover, Kentucky took a letter of intent from JUCO defensive back Domonique Williams from the 2018 class. But the Wildcats appear to be looking for more help from the junior college ranks. Enter Echols, a 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback who was a non-qualifier coming out of high school but seems to have done everything he needs to do to put himself in a great position for his future now.

"I hadn't been talking to (Kentucky) at all but the morning they offered, I had just been talking to my coach about it at Burger King," Echols said. "We had been talking about my recruiting and how Kentucky had called my coach the day before, asking what type of person I was, and then Kentucky had me call them so they could offer me. It surprised me because we were just talking about it."

Kentucky only offered recently and when that happened was the first time, and only to date, that the UK staff has spoken with Echols directly.

"When I talked to them they were like, 'We watched your film, broke it down and looked at it as a coaching staff, and we wanted to offer you,'" Echols recalled.

In terms of communicating and building a relationship Kentucky might have some ground to make up on Ole Miss. While Echols said he's in no hurry to set up visits or shut down his recruitment, he has been talking to the Ole Miss staff "on a daily basis sometimes," and he has "a good relationship" with secondary coach Charles Clark.

Because Echols was not a qualifier coming out of high school he has to wait a full school year at Northwest Mississippi before he's able to take official visits. He said he believes he will be able to start doing that closer to the summer, with the plan on graduating in December. That would still allow him to be an early enrollee somewhere.

In addition to Kentucky and Ole Miss, Echols told Cats Illustrated that he has heard the Memphis coaching staff is interested as well.

While he has not scheduled official visits to UK or Ole Miss, he said he would be excited to take trips to both places.

Echols acknowledged he wanted to go to LSU when he was in high school.