With the dog days of summer on the horizon, there isn't much happening in the realm of pro and college sports, outside of baseball. We are now in the 7-on-7 season of high school football and this is where the top prospects start committing, occupying valuable scholarship opportunities, and causing schools to scratch prospects from their boards and vice versa.
A handful of Kentucky kids have made their commitments this summer and others are on the verge.
Purdue is starting to build a pipeline in Louisville, which is no surprise considering head coach Jeff Brohm's Derby City roots, landing two top athletes from the area.
2018 Spencer County Athlete Kadin Smith committed to Purdue to kick off the summer.
Kentucky Preps received word that Smith would be visiting Purdue in early June from his personal trainer Chris Vaughn.
"We spoke with (coach) Brohm and the plan was to go up there and work out in front of the staff. So we went up there and Kadin put a 4.51 on the stop watch and the rest is history," said Vaughn.
Smith is a muscular 6-foot-1, 195-pound state champion track athlete who played running back, safety, and kick returner for Spencer County High School last year. Those duties will remain the same this season. With his unique skill set it is unclear at the moment as to precisely which position Smith will play in college but current speculation has him projected at free safety.
Further evidence to support a Louisville to Purdue pipeline is under construction is the commitment of 3-star Doss offensive lineman Charles Allen.
Allen "put the hammer down" for Purdue on June, 13th.
Doss head coach Phil Hawkins explained Allen's Purdue commitment as follows:
"Charles is a great kid and is very loyal. He's also very strong and when he gets his hands on defensive players they are finished,He will do very well inside at guard or center." said Hawkins. "I think he decided on Purdue because they seem to be very connected to him and coach Brohm does such a great job recruiting Louisville area kids that it seemed like a great fit for Charles. He is very excited to be a Boilermaker and we are very proud of him."
2018 Madison Southern Trey Livingood committed to Marshall on June 14, 2017. He's a versatile lineman who can be moved around the line. Livingood thrives in the wing-t offense. He's a mauler who blocks to the whistle and also shows good feet, hips, as well as accurate hand and hat placement while blocking downhill.
Livingood is a favored son in the A rival coach actually got the ball rolling for Livingood with the Thundering Herd, leading to his offer from Marshall.
"The head coach for Madison Central, our county rival, sent my film to the Marshall staff for me," acknowledged Livingood.
"I chose Marshall because I love the staff, fan base, and the school. It's an overall great fit for me," said Livingood on his commitment to Marshall.
2019 Christian Academy of Louisville WR/S/KR Milton Wright tops the list of the hottest prospects in the Blue Grass state since the Summer started.
Recently the elusive triple threat has picked up offers from Ohio State, Oregon, and Pittsburgh making him Kentucky's newest national recruit. He also picked up WR MVP honors at the Columbus, Ohio Rivals 3-Stripe camp back in May.
Wright already held offers from Louisville, Kentucky, Illinois, and Purdue locally, but the OSU, Oregon, and Pitt offers have given his recruitment a national flavor. Wright camped at Michigan yesterday and all indications were that he turned heads and an offer from the Wolverines shouldn't surprise anyone.
Regardless of how much he blows up on the scene over the next 19 months before signing day in 2019, it seems Louisville will be the team to beat. Wright is coached by legendary UofL QB Stefan LeFors at CAL who uses the same offense as Bobby Petrino, the 'Cards were the first to offer him in the Summer of 2016, and his family has ties to the local church where UofL's Chaplain holds Sunday sermons. Louisville will be tough to beat for Wright's services. The thing to watch is which teams develop the best relationships with the 2019 4-star going forward.
2019 Western Hills slot receiver Wandale Robinson is another Kentucky stand out his is on the verge of blowing up soon. At the beginning of the month Robinson picked up his first offer from Virginia after running a sub-4.4-forty and thoroughly thrashing the camp competition.
Louisville was the second to offer the Western Hills dynamo. He completely wrecked shop at the UofL camp. There was some confusion as to whether or not Robinson held an offer from Louisville but sources very close to Robinson and UofL both confirmed that he Cardinals recruiting coordinator Pete Nochta got out in front of things and let the Robinson family know their son held a committable offer. This was confirmed while Robinson was camping at Cincinnati. Oh by the way, I was there at Cincinnati and the coaches clocked him at 4.4 flat on their stop watches in the 40-yard dash.
Robinson is also an FBS level baseball player and considering Louisville's current run to Omaha and overall success on the diamond, look for the 'Cards to be a major factor in Robinson's recruitment as they can offer the two-sport athlete a position on two successful teams. I have confirmed that the UofL staff will be recruiting him as a two-sport athlete.
Watch for Illinois to offer him next, he camped there Friday and was his dominant self. The Frankfort, Kentucky star will also camp at Kentucky on July 15th, I would put him on offer watch there as well.
2019 South Warren DT Jacoby Lacey is also on the summer heat wave list, after the interior defensive lineman picked up an offer from Clemson on June, 7th. Lacey is one of four 2019 4-stars from Kentucky, joining Milton Wright, Bryan Hudson, and Stephen Herron and depending on who you ask, he may be the most college ready out of the bunch. Regardless of opinion however, when you pick up an offer from the defending national champs people take notice.
Lacey has a very impressive offer list that includes teams like Michigan, Penn State, Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan State, and last but definitely not least Notre Dame. In fact, Lacey has been a fixture in South Bend visiting Notre Dame on multiple occasions and the smart money says the Irish hold the lead for the 2019 4-star from Bowling Green, KY.
The 2019 Kentucky class is stacked with talent and one of it's biggest stars is Stephen Herron, Jr. an edge defender from the KY State champion Trinity Rocks. Herron received the crown jewel of his offer collection from the Stanford Cardinals on June 14th. This was the offer Herron needed in order to assess where he would play his college football and four days later on the 18th of June, he released his top-10.
Much to the chagrin of Louisville fans, the home town kid left the Cardinals out of his final cut while including the hated Wildcats of Kentucky. While this may seem to be a slap in the face, I don't believe neither the 'Cards or the 'Cats have a shot here. For my money, I'm calling this a two-horse race with Stanford and Michigan neck and neck coming around the first turn, with everyone else chasing from a distance.
Regardless of my opinion, one must consider that Herron (recently off a good performance at the Rivals 5-Star Challenge last weekend) took a trip down south to visit Alabama and Mississippi State.
"I spent the weekend at Alabama and really got to create more of a relationship with coaches like Coach Lupoi and Coach Ansley. I spoke with Coach Saban and even improved my relationship with him. Alabama is a great place to be and the direction they take to get to the top seems to be fairly simple," commented Herron on his time in Tuscaloosa.
"I was offered by Mississippi State shortly after Coach Grantham left last year from Louisville and since I was close to Mississippi Stare while in Alabama I took advantage of the time and had my first unofficial visit at Mississippi State. I really like the staff and what they're doing and they also had some of the best facilities in the nation," remarked the 2019 4-star.
Herron can give all the lip service he wants to other schools but I believe Herron, who scored off the charts on his SAT and holds a 4.0 GPA is going to a school with a reputation for wining football games as well as being an academic giant, hence my prediction of this being a Michigan vs. Stanford battle to the end.
Staying in the 4-star section of the 2019 KY class, Scott County OL Bryan Hudson picked up an offer from LSU on June 3rd. Hudson has been a national recruit for a while now as he holds offers from Florida, Alabama, Ohio State, and others, but the LSU offer was the first of the Summer for the big guy with the size 18 shoe. Coaches rave about Hudson's athleticism and versatility. The more he camps, the more offers he will generate. I see this kid everywhere from Louisville to FSU.
It is a mystery as to where Hudson will chose to attend school and his recruitment is far from over. I saw Hudson camping at Louisville today (June, 18, 2017) which speaks to his work ethic since he already holds an offer from the 'Cards and the only reason he would be camping there is to get better and build a report with Louisville offensive line coach Mike Summers. The same can be said for other schools as well. Hudson has been on the camp circuit from Ohio State to UK and everywhere he competes he draws rave reviews. Look for his recruitment to keep its upward trajectory moving forward.
Sticking with the 2019 class, the Big-12 came calling for Doss edge defender Shawnkel Knight-Goff recently as the Iowa State Cyclones extended an offer to the explosive defender, who destroyed bigger slower offensive lineman at the Columbus Rivlas 3-Stripe Camp when they failed to get a hand on him.
The only knock on Knight-Goff as an edge rusher is his weight, because once lineman got a hand on him he was stymied, but his explosive get off and ability to bend proved problematic. However, the 2019 athlete from Doss is far from a finished product and much discussion surrounds moving him back to outside linebacker and even as far back as strong safety. As crazy as it sounds to move a defensive end to the secondary, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder Junior is so much of a freak athlete that it's not even a stretch to consider such a thing.
Knight-Goff is a 2019 prospect with two years remaining to add weight to his frame and should end up as yet another national recruit in the 2019 Kentucky class.
2018 Pleasure Ridge Park Athlete Shannon Bishop AKA "Beanie" is a player to watch and he has been burning up stop watches on the camp circuit. At the Rivals 3-Stripe Combine in Columbus the 5-foot-10, 157-pound (Official Temple University measurement, I was there) CB/WR ran a 4.35. He picked up an offer from Eastern Kentucky following that on May, 18th.
Since then, the playmaking WR/CB/PR has hit the camp circuit and put 4.36 and 4.38 at Western Kentucky and Purdue. His performance at the WKU camp earned him his first FBS offer from the Toppers.
"The WKU camp went very well for me. I ran a 4.36 forty-yard-dash and I feel I did tremendous in one on ones as a corner, where I only allowed one pass completion out of twelve reps as a DB. Being offered was great, I've been following WKU for a while and they were my first FBS offer so I was excited," remarked Bishop.
Bishop is very grateful to WKU but his lock down showing at Purdue has put him in a strong position with the Boilermakers. He also recently put a sub 4.4 forty time on the Illinois coaches stop watches and made an impression on the Illini staff. Don't be surprised if Illinois comes calling for the PRP athlete, making them his first Power-Five offer.
Beanie is a triple threat athlete who can take the top off of defenses with his speed at wide receiver, shut down a teams best receiver on the field side, boundary, or slot as a corner, or take a punt to the house on special teams.
While I believe WKU sits in a strong position to land Bishop based on their early faith in him and the relationship between recruiting coordinator Jamie DeBerry and the Bishop family, I wouldn't be surprised to see teams like Louisville and Purdue try to jump on Bishop late in the cycle.
Also, don't count out Howard University. Bishop visited D.C. in March and has a good relationship with offensive coordinator Brennan Marion who holds the opinion that Bishop can be a big play receiver in his Go-Go offense.
The 2020 class is already pilling up offers
Louisville OL Coach Mike Summers has taken over the in-state recruiting duties at the University of Louisville and he wasted no time in offering 2020 North Hardin DT Octavious Oxendine. While Louisville may have been behind the 8-ball for the 2018 class, Summers refuses to repeat the errors of his predecessors. Other blue-chip players from the 2020 class who hold offers from UofL are Bowling Green ATH DeVitto Tisdale.
I believe that both Tisdale and Oxendine will be national recruits as well as Lexington Catholic quarterback Beau Allen who holds an offer from Kentucky.
I saw Allen at the Best of the Midwest and knew the Freshman signal caller would be a problem from jump street. He started at Lexington Catholic as a Freshman and his squad made a deep run into the playoffs last year, expect more from Allen and his squad in 2017.
2018 3-Star Doss WR Terez Traynor picked up an offer from Kentucky on June 11th at camp after going against some tough competition like 2018 Rivals250 DB Miguel Edwards and 2020 DB MJ Griffin from Michigan. Initially, it was though Traynor would commit to the Cats on the Tuesday thereafter but his commitment was pushed back to July 15th after a visit to Purdue.
So what's it gonna be for the dynamic athlete from Doss, Purdue or Kentucky? I have my money on Kentucky, Traynor's childhood dream school, but don't count out Purdue's influence on the Louisville playmaker from Louisville.
2018 Trinity slot receiver Rondale Moore blew up after running a 4.34 at the Nike Opening and dominating the competition thereafter. He has earned a spot at the Nike Opening in Oregon and a spot in the Adidas 3-Stripe Army All-American game. Rivals has him as an all-purpose back but that's erroneous, he's a slot receiver.
Shortly after his explosion on the scene that saw his offer list rise above the 35-team mark, the dynamic game Rivals 3-star has released his top 6 including Penn State, Texas, Kentucky, Purdue, Ohio State, and Pitt.
I've seen Moore perform more than any Rivals analyst because I have access to Aspirations Gym in Louisville where he trains and I can confidently say that he is one of the quickest players I have ever seen. His suddenness in and out of his routes makes him extremely difficult to cover on underneath routes. He can also line up at the field or boundary reciever and take the top off defenses with his explosive speed and leaping ability. I expect Trinity to base their entire offense around him while he racks up ridiculous yardage and touchdown numbers.
While many may speculate that Texas leads for Moore's services based on his visit this weekend, I stand firm in my prediction that he chooses Purdue where he will be the focal point of Jeff Brohm's spread attack. Watch for his announcement at the Army All American game.
So what's up with Jairus Brents you may ask, well here it is, his top ten will drop this week. Look for the 4.3-forty running, press coverage monster to list Michigan State, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Purdue, and Kentucky among his favorites. Those are the top five schools with the best chance to land the violent press corner. I expect Alabama, Florida and Wisconsin to be in his top ten but realistically, Michigan State, Pitt, and VT have been showing him the most love and with their tradition of putting defensive backs in the NFL, look for them to take the lead.
Brents is a tough kid to get a handle on, but I am in contact with him often so believe me when I tell y0u that Michigan State and Pitt are in the pole position here, but his recruitment is far from over. The Waggener 4-star is big on loyalty and will eventually go to the school that makes him feel like he is a priority.
2018 Bowling Green 4-Star LB Justice Dingle said he is about to narrow down his list to a final four sometime this summer. Dingle is originally from Tennessee and the Vols were his first offer so look for them to make the cut.
I spoke with someone very close to the recruitment of 2018 3-star OL Wyatt Smock recently and the vibe I get is that Vanderbilt leads Arkansas and Louisville by a significant margin.
Smock is a high GPA/SAT player with a mean streak. After speaking with one of his family members, I've learned that Kentucky was the offer Smock coveted but they have tight numbers and that offer may not happen until late in the process. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt provides the best fit academically and athletically for the 2018 mauler. I would be remiss not to mention the job UofL offensive line coach Mike Summers has done with Smock, whose family called the coach a "class act."
This looks like a strong lead for Vandy.
If you have read to this point you have strong constitution and a keen attention to detail. I have intentionally buried the lede to reward my loyal readers. In my opinion, the best prospect in the state of Kentucky is 2020 ATH DeVito Tisdale from Bowling Green. Tisdale is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound corner back/running back for the Purples. Think about that last sentence for a second, who plays corner and running back for a state championship squad? Linebacker and running back maybe, but corner and running back, that's a ridiculous skill set. Lisdale has offers from Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky, and Purdue.
I expect him to out grow corner, he is already an NFL sized player at that position going into his sophomore season. Tisdale is a freak athlete who may be somewhat raw as a corner but you can't coach his size, speed, and athleticism. I would also pay my paycheck from Rivals to see him match up with Milton Wright in press coverage.
Tisdale is one of the most physically gifted players on any roster in the Commonwealth and he is only going into his sophomore year, if you're a college coach and you are reading this, take heed, he will be a national recruit at this time next year.