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KyPreps Newsletter: Unprecedented 2019 KY talent drawing the blue bloods

Wandale Robinson on his official visit at Michigan
Wandale Robinson on his official visit at Michigan (Wandale Robinson)

The 2019 Kentucky recruiting class has been making major noise on the national scene to the surprise of many, but not us (me) here at kentuckypreps.com. For three years now this class has been bubbling beneath the surface. Now however, as the June-July dead period is upon us the secret is out and while the well known names are visiting big time programs like Michigan, Alabama, and Ohio State, other players may still emerge as national recruits.

The commitments:

It's been two months since the last KyPreps Newsletter and some of the best prospects have come off the board. Virginia Tech beat out in-state programs Kentucky and Louisville as well as Notre Dame and Ohio State for Rivals250 OT Bryan Hudson from Scott County. Alabama snatched Tanner Bowles from Louisville and Kentucky as well as LSU and Florida State. The 'Cards haven't come up empty handed however as they did gain commitments from three-star duPont Manual runningback Aidan Robbins and LaRue County athlete Anthony Adkins and Franklin-Simpson guard Jack Randolph.

Kentucky landed West Jessamine center Eli Cox, who is the only in-state commitment so far for the 'Cats and yesterday pulled deep threat Demontae Crumes from Butler Traditional out of Louisville's back yard.

3-star athlete Cameron Jones, maybe the most intriguing prospect in the '19 class, committed to Cincinnati. Jones' story is interesting because he plays quarterback but projects as an offensive tackle. The Bearcats have ensured Jones he will get the chance to compete for a spot behind center but if he can't win out he's fine with converting to tackle.

The Drama:

South Florida usually has the drama market cornered but Kentucky has gotten into the business and business is good.

DeMontae Crumes kicked off the drama early by committing to Louisville early in February then backing off that pledge in April. Louisville was Crumes' second offer and he hopped on board quickly, a little too quickly it seems as his offer list increased rapidly after his commitment. Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, Pitt, and a few other programs offered. I spoke with him yesterday morning about where he was in his recruiting process and he told me the following:

"The last school I visited was Kentucky. I've been talking to Ohio State and Michigan about visiting and no I don't have a commitment decision as of right now," claimed Crumes. "(I plan on going to) Michigan for an official but Ohio State just for a visit. Should be soon on the OSU visit and the Michigan (visit) will hopefully be in some day after July14."

He gave me this information at 10:45AM. He committed to Kentucky at 7:13PM later that day. So all of this begs two questions, was Crumes simply trying to through this analyst off his trail, or did he truthfully not at the time of our conversation that he was going to commit to Kentucky? Things move fast on the trail and the wheels don't stop until the fax machine spits out a signed national letter of intent. Keeping the weirdness of this recruitment specifically and recruiting in general, the trained mind has to ask itself, is this Crumes final commitment or will he still take that official visit to Michigan he spoke off hours before committing to Kentucky? If he does, could a second decommitment and third commitment be in the cards for Crumes? Stay tuned.

Shawnkel Knight-Goff committed to Kentucky on May 18th, tweeting that the commitment was "just verbal for everyone who asked. (No papers were signed)." Then on May 31st he backed off his pledge to Kentucky with a two part tweet

After gracefully thanking Kentucky for their efforts in recruiting him, he continued to allow Kentucky to court him and took and official visit during the week of June 18th.

To the casual football fan who doesn't follow recruiting this may seem like a carnival but to us veterans of the game it's not unheard of for a recruit to back off an early pledge to reassess his market value then recommit to the school he pledged to previously. That being said, when you use the terms commit, decommit, and recommit when you talk about a prospect, there has definitely been some drama. Knight-Goff is an off the grid type of guy so we may not know his next move until his next commitment.

You can't say a state is in the drama business if there isn't some turbulence with the top prospect and the oxygen masks are out on flight Stephen Herron. Michigan has been offering players at his position all cycle and some think his commitment status is soon to change. It appears Stanford is the likely flip destination but Herron has gone on the record saying he wants to play for Michigan. Will the Michigan staff be able to convince Herron he is their top priority or is the number one player in Kentucky bound for sunny Palo Alto, California? Stay tuned but put your money on the flip.

Top prospects still on the board:

Milton Wright, JJ Weaver, Wandale Robinson, Jared Casey, and Ricky Barber have yet to make a decision and they all still have a lot to sort out before announcing.

Milton Wright announced a top-five of Alabama, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, and Purdue last week. His teammate, 2020 4-star OL John Young tells me that Purdue is the team to watch. The Boilermakers did have Wright on campus when he was competing at a track meet and the staff made a very good impression on him and his family. Since then, Wright has camped at Lousville and Alabama in June and plans to take a visit to Ohio State soon. I'm going to say Kentucky is last in that group with Purdue, Ohio State, and Lousville as the real contenders. A source told me Alabama likes him better at safety than wide receiver and I don't think that sits to well with him.

JJ Weaver has taken official visits to Purdue and Cincinnati plus an unofficial to Syracuse with a few of his Moore teammates and one of his coaches. I don't see Syracuse being a contender for Weaver nor do I see Cincinnati being a threat. What I'm hearing is that Purdue has made a major push and sits in a three way tie with Kentucky and Louisville.

Wandale Robinson is fresh off a Michigan official visit and the Wolverines definitely made an impression on the Western Hills star. The weekend before his official to Michigan e camped at FSU and Alabama. I have heard that he dominated at Alabama, which is backed up by the fact the Tide offered. You can never count Alabama out when it comes to a Kentucky prospect, but I still hold that Kentucky is my pick for final destination. That being said, he told me that his official visit to Purdue blew him away and they have to be considered a serious contender. He still has an official visit to Ohio State lined up so the Buckeyes are also very much in the game. If I had to guess his top-five, it would be Kentucky, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan, and Alabama, in that order.

After winning LB MVP at the Nashville Rivals Three Stripe Camp, Ballard linebacker Jared Casey picked up offers from Oregon, Kentucky, Syracuse, and Marshall. Casey has barely played a down of varsity ball in high school but he looks the part and can run.

Louisville is in hot pursuit of the hometown prospect but word is out that Casey may be looking to leave the state and schools like Oregon, Syracuse, and Cincinnati have peaked his interest. He has already visited Cincinnati a few times and plans to take an official visit to Oregon when they open their season at home against Bowling Green before taking an official visit to Syracuse during the season.

If I had to pick an instate school with an advantage I would say Kentucky is in a better spot that Louisville. I also have it on good authority that schools like Tennessee value him as a prospect but want to see how he looks on film before extending an offer.

Casey doesn't have a commitment date in mind and for good reason. If he puts together impressive mid-season film I can see him blowing up to a twenty-plus-offer prospect. If he struggles however, he may have to scramble to find a home.

Sleepers:

Daviess County WR Marquel Tinsley and Caldwell County DB Trel Riley are two prospects who could see their stock take off with impressive senior seasons.

Tinsley has received offers from FBS schools Middle Tennessee State and Bowling Green recently. If he can duplicate his impressive 2017 seasons production this year and a few higher group of five or power five schools miss on other players, Tinsley may receive a few larger offers.

Riley is an interesting case study of a prospect who dominates when he camps in front of coaches but doesn't receive offers. That is usually a sign of eligibility concerns. If he can pull his grades and ACT scores up this year I can see Riley playing at a power five program with no problems.