KyPreps Recruiting Newsletter 3rd E: The 2019 class is heating up, slowly.
Since the last edition of the Newsletter not much has shaken out commitment-wise but new prospects are starting to emerge on the 2019 scene. Only two of the top ten recruits in the state have given a verbal pledge and of the 29 players in the state with D1 offers, only six have committed.
Nevertheless, there is plenty to report in the way of college visits, new offers, and new prospects who have emerged on the circuit.
Here's the run down on the top prospects in the Kentucky class of 2019.
JJ Weaver may have the most upside of any recruit in Kentucky. He's 6-foot-6 and carries 230-pounds on a frame with a lot of growth potential. His recruiting profile is also extremely attractive due to the fact he's going to enroll early and he can impact the game on both sides of the ball as an edge rusher/outside linebacker on defense or a tight end/red zone threat type of receiver on offense.
Weaver plans to commit on November 30th, his birthday. He will release a top-six by the start of Moore's football season in August. Between now and August he plans to take at least two official visits, with one being to the University of Georgia.
"Georgia is on me, it seems like I speak with coach Dan (Landing) the outside linebacker coach like everyday it seems," said Weaver. "I'm trying to take my first official visit down there this Summer, I want to take my mom and focus on the academic part of it when the campus is dead."
He also plans to take another official visit over the summer but doesn't know which school at this point. He also plans to camp at South Carolina and Auburn. South Carolina has a family tie to Weaver so he said an offer from the Gamecocks is improtant.
"My brother Deshaun Fenwick goes there so I'm definitely interested in South Carolina. The coaches said they like my film but they just want to see me in person and see what my get off is like," said Weaver.
Weaver is originally from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and he holds an offer from Miami.
"I'm definitely going to take an official visit to the U," exclaimed Weaver. "I'll probably take that one during the season."
Weaver was origianlly recruited by former defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski who has now moved on to the same position at Alabama, but Weaver said the Hurricane's are still in contact and the interest remains mutual.
Auburn is another school that has Weaver's interest after his 7on7 team visited recently and he plans to camp there this summer in hopes of landing an offer and scheduling an official visit. The same goes for Tennessee.
Local schools such as Purdue, Kentucky, and Louisville need not worry about landing an official visit.
"I've been to those schools so much and their staffs stay in touch with me all the time. Coach Pete (Nochta) from Louisville and Coach (John) Schlarman from Kentucky hit me all the time. Coach (Chris) Barclay from Purdue too. Man it's gonna be hard to decide where I'm going."
What it looks like: Weaver is one of the most genuine recruits I've ever spoken with and I believe that he is really going to struggle with telling all of these coaches no. That being said, he has a plan in place to narrow things down and all signs indicate that when he makes his decision it will be final. What that decision will be is anyone's guess at the moment. After speaking with Weaver it is clear he is wide open and has good relationships with all the coaching staffs recruiting him at the moment.
Bowles blew up back in February receiving offers from the likes of Alabama, UGA, OSU, USC, FSU, and Stanford. He also holds offers from Oklahoma, Penn State, LSU, Louisville, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Indiana, and Vanderbilt. He says he has a top-six that he will announce before the end of this school year.
During a brief conversation with Bowles, he mentioned a few schools he plans to visit soon and one he already visited.
"I visited Florida State about 3-4 weeks ago. I will for sure be attending Alabama's spring game and not 100% sure yet if I'll be at Clemson's the week before," said Bowles.
The Glasgow standout hasn't been offered by Clemson yet so if that were to happen, it should shake up his top-six or make it a top-7. One top ACC school he does have an offer from is FSU and he gave a glowing review of his visit to Tallahassee.
"FSU was amazing. Getting to know the coaches and what they were about was awesome. Their goal is to make you the best you can be. They aren't going to baby you. I want that blue collar coach that's going to make things tough. That's exactly what I see in them," explained Bowles.
The Glasgow stand out also mentioned UGA, Alabama, and a school who hasn't offered him, Clemson.
"I would like to mention my relationship with Georgia. I really enjoyed talking to coach (Kirby) Smart and (offensive line coach Sam)Pittman when I went on a visit there. Loved the atmosphere and the facilities. I know he is creating something special," said Bowles. "Also, I got to talk to coach (Nick) Saban a few weeks ago and I’m really interested in what they have planned for me. I'm hoping to get to talk to Coach Swinney next weekend because I confirmed with the O-line coach (Robbie Caldwell) that I will be at their spring game," added Bowles
What it looks like: Bowles knows what schools he has in mind and will make that public soon. From all the interactions I've had with him I would guess that Louisville, Kentucky, Alabama, FSU, and Georgia will be in his top-six.
His father played at Kentucky and his brother played at Louisville, he's camped at UK and has visited Louisville so if only as a matter of respect, I believe they make his top-six. He gave a glowing review of FSU and traveled down there on his own dime so that's my logic for picking FSU. Alabama always looks good in a recruit's top choices and he said he is definitely heading down for their Spring game, on his own dime, hence my pick for them.
Bowles also camped at LSU and has visited Ohio State, he also mentioned he may travel to Death Valley to take in Clemson's Spring Game.
It's too early to say anyone is a leader at this moment and Bowles does a good job playing his cards close to the vest. When I asked what schools were showing him the most love he hit me with "I am hearing from all the same schools on the regular. Really not slowing down much," but failed to elaborate or identify who the "same schools" were. He did rave about the FSU visit however so that let me know that card was in his hand. We should know more by the publication of the next KyPreps Recruiting Newsletter
Currently standing at 6-foot-8, 247-pounds, Cameron Jones is one of the most intriguing prospects in the state and he has seen a recent uptick in his recruitment with offers from WKU, Middle Tennessee State, Howard, EKU, and Austin Peay over the last two weeks. As I was typing this, Cincinnati offered him as he was on campus during an unofficial visit.
With six offers on his resume, Jones has expressed his desire to camp at Tennesse, Kentucky, Louisville, and Purdue this summer in addition to going to other schools further up north like Temple and Rutgers, if his schedule permits.
Sources from various schools have indicated they like the 6-foot-8, 247-pounder as and athlete but haven't ruled out the quarterback position. He has the ability to play quarter back, defensive end, tight end, and even offensive tackle. When reached for comment Jones stated he is open to play wherever he is asked.
Because of his physical prowess and work ethic (he used to weigh 285-pounds) Jones is one of the most interesting recruits in the state and he should add more offers throughout the process.
What it looks like: It's way too early to call this one. He could end up in the MAC as a quarterback or the Big Ten as a tight end or offensive lineman now that he is on record stating he is fine playing whatever position a school wants him to play. Jones could be one of the rare recruits who sees his offer list blow up during his senior season.
Things between the Rivals100 defensive end and the Wolverines are still somewhat shaky.
Herron remains committed but Stanford, Louisville, and Purdue are still showing a lot of interest. Adding to the turbulence is the fact Michigan took a commitment from 6-foot-5, 225-pound 3-star 2019 weak side defensive end Gabe Newburg on Monday. I haven't got Herron's thoughts on this development but in general, recruits don't like the team they're committed to to accept a commitment from a prospect who is the same year as them who plays the same position and has a similar skill set.
It seems like the decommitment writing is on the wall here.
The smart money is on Stanford to catch him if he flips,
What it looks like: He's committed to Michigan but I think the smart money is on Stanford to catch him if he flips. With that being said, hedge your bet with the local schools if the distance factor becomes a major issue around signing day. Stanford is on the other side of the continent and actually signing with Stanford may be a bridge too far.
Speaking of Michigan, Wandale Robinson, one of the most electrifying and dynamic high school players in the country, received an offer from Jim Harbaugh personally during a visit to Ann Arbor on March, 23rd.
While Michigan men (and women) have reason to be excited about Robinson, there is reason to pause. Ohio State will get his next visit on April 6th before he flies to the Opening in New York on the 8th.
While new offers from Northwestern and Michigan have piqued his interest in their programs, it currently appears Duke leads for Robinson and the interest is mutual.
The Blue Devils have him very high on their board even though they've already taken two commitments from wide receivers. The two receiver commits are outside guys and the Devils plan to take Robinson as slot in the 2019 class in a Jamison Crowder type of role, and Robinson is their top priority there.
What it looks like: Will other offers complicate things for Duke? Perhaps, but right now it appears the Blue Devils are in a very good spot for the 2019 Kentucky Mr. Football candidate.
Lacey has been committed to Notre Dame since July, 29, 2017. After many coaching changes Lacey still remains committed and that commitment remains firm.
"We are here in Pensacola now for baseball. Jacob is taking his official visit to Notre Dame next week! We are still hearing from Louisville and others but we're just letting things play out," responded his father David Lacey when asked for an update.
Just letting things play out? What does that mean? I asked if that meant the four-star South Warren defensive tackle would take any other official visits.
"Great question! Depends on how things go. We will know more by September," replied the elder Lacey.
Brian Driskell from Blue and Gold Illustrated (the Notre Dame Rivals affiliate) gave the following scouting report on Lacy as a player and his fit with the Irish:
"Lacey is a good fit for the Notre Dame defense thanks to his ability to play with power and disrupt the backfield. He plays all over the line for South Warren; he’ll line up at the nose, he’ll play the three technique and he’ll even move out over the offensive tackle. Power is the first thing that stands out about Lacey’s game. He has extremely strong hands and a powerful upper body. He can “bench” blockers and lock them out, which allows him to easily get off to the football.
Lacey needs to finish better at the ball carrier, but his ability to bully opponents into the backfield is really impressive. There are clips when he’s getting triple teamed and Lacey is still able to get a push and collapse the pocket. Lacey will need to work on bringing his hands with him quicker off the snap and he must improve his repertoire of moves, but the tools are there for his hands to be an elite weapon down the road.Lacey shows a good burst off the line and his closing speed is good. His short, stout frame can be even more of an asset once his pad level improves. Lacey shows the ability to lean into blockers and get around the edge when he gets a step to the outside, which allows him to get a push and while protecting his gap. He’ll need to reshape his body a bit and improve his lateral quickness, but his tools are really good."
What it looks like: Notre Dame is getting the first official visit and Lacey doesn't have any others planned at the moment. That means the ball is in Notre Dames court and even though other schools are still in contact, they haven't been able to get Lacey on campus for an unofficial visit, let alone pencil him in for an official. It appears Lacey is firm in his commitment to Notre Dame and the only way that changes is if they fumble the official visit next week.
The last two weeks have been busy for Barber. He visited Indiana the weekend of March 23rd followed by Purdue last weekend. He came away impressed by both visits and said they are tied at the top of his list and discussed the factors that stand out most about the two schools.
Indiana: "I like their up tempo style of practice," said Barber.
Purdue: "I like that the coaches are from Louisville and trying to build around a lot of Louisville kids. Another big factor is that Purdue is in need of defensive lineman while Indiana is stacked with them," added Barber.
"I feel like I've gotten close with both of the coaching staffs so it's still a very hard choice," he concluded.
Barber plans to commit in July after he takes his official visits to both schools. He also wants to take a trip to Yale before making a final a decision.
What it looks like: Barber kind of tipped his hand when he said both schools are tied but Purdue needs defensive lineman more than Indiana. I'm going with the Boiler Makers to land Barber in July.
Knight-Goff has gone off the radar a bit but via social media posts we are aware he's taken visits to Purdue and Indiana with his teammates. He's currently in Florida on Spring Break but I was able to reach out to a few sources and here is what I got.
When I asked his teammate Ricky Barber where Knight-Goff was in the process.
"Honestly I don't even know. He still has the in-state recruiting too (in addition to Indiana and Purdue) but he's gotta know it's almost decision time," offered Barber.
I also spoke with Anthony Richardson who used to coach him at Doss and has now taken more of a mentor/trainer role with Knight-Goff.
"I think his recruitment is wide open. He has not truly indicated where he likes or prefers. I know he is enjoying these visits. Shawnkell is a is a reltionships type kid. Whichever coach can develop that relationship of trust I believe will land him," advised Richardson.
Richardson has worked with Knight-Goff for a few years and offered insight on what type of athlete the three-star is and what he has the potential to become.
"He's definitely a unique football player. I think he's an outside/ Will linebacker, but safety is an option as well. He's a superior athlete who can cover but also rush the edge," remarked Richardson. "Genetics has him with low body fat but I told him that the next level weight program will definitely get him where he needs to be. He will be fine, definitely has the body to bulk up."
What it looks like: Knight-Goff is a low-key prospect and stays off the grid. When reached for comment Knight-Goff stated he plans on taking all five official visits, with that process ending in the summer or early in the coming football season.
"I’m looking at Louisville, IUS, Kentucky, Michigan, & Oregon as well as Stanford," said Knight-Goff in regard to what schools he was "feeling the most."
I am not sure if IUS was a typo for Iowa State or if he meant to type IU but he holds offers from both schools. He does not however hold offers from Michigan, Oregon, or Stanford. Process of elimination tells us Kentucky, Louisville, and either Indiana or Iowa State are in his top three.
This week Hudson was in Florida for a track and field event where he placed second in both the discus and shot, posting a personal record in the shot with a distance of 62-feet, 4.5-inches and what he called a "decent start" in his first outdoor discus event with a distance of 185-feet.
Since he was down in Florida he took a college visit tour to Florida, Ole Miss, and LSU. Without getting into the particulars of those visits he told me that nothing has changed as far as his leader board. Virginia Tech still holds the lead over a tightly positioned group of challengers made up of Louisville, Duke, and Notre Dame.
What it looks like: This may be a battle for second place as the Hokies have maintained the lead in his recruitment for the last four months. Louisville is coming hard and his sister is on the track and field team there plus he's close with offensive line coach Mike Summers so they are a legit threat. Notre Dame will get an official visit soon and they will get a chance to make up ground on Virginia tech but they are behind. Hokies head coach Justin Fuentes has established an early relationship with Hudson and that has been a major factor in their lead. Other head coaches will need to follow suit if they want to overtake Virginia Tech, but they will be a couple months behind.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban personally extend a scholarship offer to Wright on March 8th. That type of gesture makes an impact on a recruit.
While Alabama is the newest school with a big time coach to join the mix, Ohio State and Urban Meyer have been there since Wright's sophomore season. They were also one of the first schools to offer him a full ride. Every conversation I have had with Wright entails a mention of OSU and how Urban Meyer is in frequent contact with him.
Since I wrote this article, Wright has confirmed that Louisville has increased their contact with him, specifically wide receiver's coach Lonnie Galloway and headman Bobby Petrino.
What it looks like: I get the vibe from both Milton and those close to him that OSU leads at this time. No one has said that directly but the vibe from all conversations is that they have done the best job from day one and they continue to keep the pace. Purdue seems like they are a few paces behind. A recent article from UGASports.com stated that "Wright has curiously not heard, received not a single text, from Georgia since he was offered roughly a month ago." That was posted on March 15th. Wright and his family are big on relationships and coaching stability, which is another reason I give OSU the nod.
Last week on twitter, I was asked by Jared Casey's high school position coach to name the best linebacker in the 2019 Kentucky class. I knew what he was getting at but I just couldn't name Casey at this point because he hasn't played in a game since 2016 due to a shoulder injury suffered in the Spring of 2017. That being said, he is definitely one of the most intriguing prospect at the position in his class.
At 6-foot-4, 225-pounds, Casey is big and strong, with good length, and he can run. He just doesn't have any film. He does however, hold offers from Purdue, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Eastern Michigan. With a few good camp performances and mid-season film, he could easily see his stock sky rocket.
Unsurprisingly, Casey told me Purdue (the first school to offer him) is still high on his list. He plans to visit for their Spring game and said he is tight with linebackers coach Nick Holt and running backs coach Chris Barclay.
Surprisingly, Casey told me that he is very interested in Temple university in Philadelphia and plans to camp there this Summer in hopes of receiving and offer. He told me he has a good amount of contact with director of player personnel Reggie Garrett and recruiting coordinator Adam DiMichele.
Other schools in the mix are Toledo (they have offered), Wake Forest, and Indiana, who he plans to visit April, 3rd.
What it looks like: I'm going with Cincinnati or Purdue for now but if he blows up this summer all bets are off.
Caldwell County defensive back Trel Riley received his first offer over the weekend from WKU. He's a long rangy defensive back who is probably better suited as a free safety at the FBS level than a corner. What makes Riley attractive at safety is his ability to play center field with his length, range, and ability to track the ball.
Riley has a true DB mentality. He's aggressive but shows good discipline before the throw, combined with good ball skills. With 2019 3-star safety Clayton Bush already committed, the Hilltopers may have a dangerous safety combo on their hands they plucked from their own backyard. Both players can thump from the secondary.
What it looks like: Riley just received his first offer, so his recruitment isn't ripe for predictions. He travels quite often to different schools around the south and plans on attending a few camps this summer. That being said, WKU is a good fit for Riley and being that they were his first offer look for them to stay in the mix for him.
Eli Cox has been on Rivals' radar since last year's Adidas Three Stripe Combine where he earned an invite to the Rivals Three Stripe Camp after putting up impressive testing numbers. This year, as the 2018 Three Stripe camp looms colleges have taken notice. He now holds offers from Cincinnati, Western Michigan, Army, Cornell, Georgia State, and a few FCS schools.
"I plan to camp at Louisville and Kentucky, possibly Vanderbilt and Purdue as well. I also plan to visit other schools that have offered and make it back to some I have visited. Commitment wise, I'd like to have a verbal commitment by the start of next school year possibly sooner. Hopefully by the end of camp season ill have a top 3Look for Cox to climb up the state rankings and add more offers to his resume in the future, provided he doesn't commit before the Summer," said Cox.
What it looks like: Cox says that Cincinnati leads at the moment followed by Western Michigan and then Army. While he has a top-three right now, he's still fielding offers and wants to visit other schools. While he plans to commit around August, things could be shaken off if a new school jumps in the mix and really pushes for him. He was just offered by Ball State on Sunday as well so that deserves monitoring.
Jack Randolph holds offers from Louisville, Middle Tennessee State, Georgia State, and EKU. He says he wants to commit before Franklin-Simpson starts its regular season. He says that Louisville, Cincinnati, and Georgia State have been showing him and his family the most love. He commented that he really likes Louisville's Pete Nochta and Cincinnati's Gino Guidugli.
The Franklin-Simpson standout also gave high praise to Louisville offensive line coach Mike Summers.
"I love the way he coaches, I've really enjoyed talking to him," said Randolph.
Randolph also has a hometown connection to Cincinnati.
"Joker Phillips is from my hometown," informed Randolph. "I've also talked to coach (name) Crook, the offensove line coach. He is really old school as well (like coach Summers). He seems like a very straight up, cool guy."
The interest from Cincinnati is mutual as I have been informed he is a take from a source close to the program.
While he seems to have a good report with Lousville and Cincinnati, he is also looking to develop a bond with Kentucky and Western Kentucky.
"I am going to visit Kentucky and WKU in the next few weeks," mentioned Randolph.
He plans on attending the Rivals Three Stripe camp in Nashville as well as the Opening.
What it looks like: Randolph appears to have a tight bond with Louisville and Cincinnati at the moment. If Kentucky and/or WKU jump in the mix here and offer they would also be major players for Randolph's signature. The key in this recruitment is going to be which school makes him feel he's the bigger priority for them.
Dingle's recruitment continues to progress well and he just picked up a new offer from Middle Tennessee State University this week to add to his four offers from Ohio, Eastern Michigan, EKU, and Indiana State. He visited Cincinnati last week and while the staff likes him, he may have to camp over the summer to earn an offer.
What it looks like: Dingle just picked up a new offer so he will most likely take a visit to MTSU and meet with the coaches and check out the campus. He has already taken unofficials to Ohio and Eastern Michigan so they have to be in the running here. Watch for more offers to materialize this summer as he gets in front of college coaches.
Crumes committed to Louisville on February 18th. Before then he had an offer from Memphis, afterward he received offers from UK, Pitt, EKU, and USF. He also picked up an offer from Western Kentucky on April 4th. Although he committed early to Louisville, this has not stopped other schools from offering.
Crumes is a legit 4.45 prospect who can run by corners and take the top off defenses. He also shows good ball skills. He will have to bulk up significantly and improve his route running if he is going to make an immediate impact at the next level, but you can't teach the type of speed he possess.
What it looks like: His family are Louisville fans but he told me he grew up rooting for Kentucky. He also committed early in the process so I don't think this is a done deal especially if other offers continue materialize. Also, Louisville isn't pressed for receivers. If prospects at positions of need start to show interest and numbers get tight, will the 'Cards start to slow play Crumes? There are a lot of questions surrounding the talented Butler receiver and his recruitment will warrant further observation.
Robbins recently posted something on twitter about committing at the end of the "school year/summer" which means he's going to commit before the start of the 2018 season. He also said he plans on taking all five official visits before he commits. Robbins plans to enroll early so that's why he's close to shutting things down. Realistically, if he plans on taking all of his official visits, he will most likely commit at the end of the Summer rather than the end of the school year.
He holds Power-5 offers from Louisville, Vanderbilt, Duke, Indiana, Ole Miss, and South Carolina, in addition to a slew of group of five schools. He has been on record saying he plans to take official visits to Duke, Louisville, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Ole Miss before committing.
Some schools such as Vanderbilt like him as a running back, others like him as a linebacker. When I watch his film, I see a linebacker but ultimately when you have an athlete like Robbins who will enroll early, you just get him on campus in January and figure out what to do with him after hands on evaluation.
Robbins will visit Vanderbilt the weekend of April 20th. We asked why Vanderbilt received his first official visit and if anyone should read into it.
"They offered the first official visit and the date just lined up. I currently don't have a leader and I am 100% wide open," admitted Robbins.
What it looks like: Sources close to Louisville feel confident he will be a 'Card. That being said, he's going to take official visits and he has regularly gone on record saying academics is very important to him and Vanderbilt and Duke definitely have those in spades. While Louisville seems confident they will land Robbins, I am not comfortable calling them his leader and things need to develop more before anyone can honestly predict where he will sign.
2019 Lexington Catholic offensive lineman Sam Vaughn has jumped on the scene with recent offers from Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, and Miami of Ohio. He's 6-foot-7, and a lean 270-pounds. He's athletic and shows good footwork on film. He could use some work with his hand accuracy, and punch but he can really move and while he's needs to bulk up, he has the frame to add a lot more muscle weight.
I asked Lexington Christian Academy offensive line coach David Parks, who played for Kentucky back in the early nineties for a scouting report. Parks knows Vaughn because he works with a lot of the top offensive line prospects in the Lexington area in the off-season and Vaughn is one of them
"Good kid, great frame. He's a tall, athletic, multi-sport athlete which has kept him lean even at 280-pounds. He's raw in his talent, just now starting to train for the next level. He's just been "playing" to this point and needs to focus on the weight room, his footwork, and overall nastiness but he can move his hips and feet well enough to build on," opined Parks.
"Sam is just learning the (recruiting) process and is starting to get attention. As a '19 offensive tackle, he's behind the ball, but could be a nice sleeper if he develops the right way i.e., commits to what he needs to do," continued Parks. "He's really interested in the academic schools like Miami (Ohio) that's offered him as well as Duke, Wake (Forrest), Vandy, etc."
"He's got the right foundation, but the weight room needs to be his girlfriend for the foreseeable future," concluded Parks.
Vaughn will camp at Kentucky and Louisville this summer in hopes of showing the coaches he's worthy of an offer.
What it looks like: He's raw, but he's long and athletic and could end up emerging as one of the more heralded recruits in this class before it's all said and done.
Adam Derry, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound lineman from Beechwood High School holds offers from Middle Tennessee State, Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, and Western Kentucky.
Derry will camp at Louisville this summer in hopes of earning an offer. Derry is about a half inch short of 6-3 so he will have to camp at the Power-5 schools to earn offers this Summer. He also expressed interest in Kentucky and Purdue camps.
What it looks like: Derry said Western Kentucky is one of his leaders at the moment. He just received an offer from Middle Tennessee State after a recent visit and will give them a hard look going forward. He also holds Ball State in high regard. He didn't mention Eastern Michigan but I also forgot to ask about them. From the totality of our conversations I feel comfortable enough to say WKU leads at the moment.
The Rest of the Best:
6-foot-3, 2019 Ballard wide receiver Elijah Downing picked up an offer from Southeast Missouri. He also holds an offer from Eastern Michigan.
2019 Butler Tradition School corner back Emir Leonard picked up an offer from Indiana State.
2019 Caldwell County long snapper Mitchell Harralson picked up an offer from Western Kentucky.
2019 Logan County defensive tackle Caden McKinnis picked up an offer from Austin Peay.
2019 Lexington Catholic offensive lineman Marc Rumpke was offered by Air Force on March 6th.