Rivals250 talent on UKs radar
The release of the Rivals250, both powered by Under Armour, gives Cats Illustrated a great opportunity to glance at Kentucky's efforts with the nation's top rising juniors.
We'll go position by position and break down the Rivals100 and Rivals250 talents with Kentucky offers and try to decipher each situation; where Kentucky stands and what the forecast looks like.
Most of Kentucky's best quarterback options, in terms of the likelihood of landing the players, are outside the Rivals250 and in the three-star range. There are a couple in the Rivals250 that are giving the Wildcats a look.
Chase Brice of Georgia is one, although he may be looking to stay in the Deep South or the Southeast. Sean Clifford of Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier camped at Kentucky and picked up an offer from Shannon Dawson. Clifford ranks No. 157 in the Rivals250 after strong showings at Rivals' events.
Kentucky's coaches like some backs outside of the Rivals250 quite a bit, but Nos. 179 and 228 are Ty Chandler and Mohamed Ibrahim, both with offers from UK. Both are players that the staff would love to land.
Chandler's stock has started to take off but he gained some early familiarity with Kentucky. Ibrahim is a player whose offer list has not caught up to his ranking yet. He hails from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel, a school Kentucky has recruited in the Mark Stoops era.
Both are more of the all-purpose than every-down variety.
Princeton Fant of LaVergne, Tenn., is ranked No. 199 in the initial Rivals250 rankings and he visited Kentucky this spring with a big group of players from Tennessee. He gave Cats Illustrated a favorable review after that trip and said he was excited about the facility renovations and was excited to see the finished product.
Danny Davis of Springfield (Ohio) and Jaylen Harris of Cleveland Heights (Ohio) both cracked the Rivals250 and both hail from familiar high schools in the Buckeye State where Vince Marrow's name is well-known.
Harris is an imposing 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, while Davis isn't as big but has explosive ability. Harris' recent Ohio State offer makes that situation more difficult for UK.
The big recruiting storyline of the 2017 class is the emergence and rise of Lexington (Ky.) Lafayette offensive tackle Jedrick Wills. The big man can be a tackle or an interior lineman and his stock has absolutely skyrocketed. He's a five-star, ranked the No. 13 player in the nation, and could ultimately be the player with the most NFL potential from the Commonwealth, at least at this stage of his development, in many, many years.
The 6-foot-4, 316-pound lineman has dominated in camps, from regional events to the Rivals Challenge in Baltimore, and Kentucky's in great shape with him. His relationship with Landon Young and also Drake Jackson, among others, can only help UK's chances.
Kentucky has offered several other Rivals250 offensive lineman but not enough is known yet about their interest in UK to warrant specifics.
Kentucky has offered Rivals100 or Rivals250 defensive tackles Fred Hansard, Camaron Spence and MJ Webb. Hansard hails from New Jersey, a place Andy Buh has been and will be recruiting. Spence has since transferred to IMG Academy in Florida, a place every school in the country recruits. And Webb is from Georgia. So all of those players will be hearing from the Wildcats and seeing UK assistants at their respective schools.
At defensive end Cats Illustrated has made mention of Corey Malone-Hatcher's history in the Commonwealth, on his dad's side. He's not related to Jason Hatcher. The 6-foot-3, 246-pound Michigan prospect acknowledged some interest in UK at the Rivals Camp Series.
The nation's No. 220 prospect is Olney (Md.) Good Counsel's Joshua Paschal, who is the younger brother of TraVaughn Paschal, who played for Kentucky. He had visited Kentucky four times as of late 2014.
Speaking of Good Counsel, let's keep it there, because the school is home to Rivals100 linebacker Jordan Anthony, who also has an offer from Kentucky. So does Rivals250 linebacker Jacob Phillips of Nashville, Tenn., who has visited Kentucky multiple times and has said he will return to Lexington again in the future.
Kentucky was in the game very early with Phenix City, Ala., native Markail Benton and he has visited Kentucky in the past, although pulling him out of the Deep South might be difficult. Derrick Ansley is also making a run at Norcross, Ga.'s Robert Beal, a long, rangy, explosive linebacker with a world of upside.
Most of the top-rated players with Kentucky offers here appear to be long shots. But Gentry Bonds of Murfreesboro, Tenn., is a four-star cornerback with great size at 6-foot-2, and he likes Kentucky. He's visited before and will likely return.