By Nick Gray | @KYKernelGray
Cardinal Mooney (Ohio) High School safety Marcus McWilson committed to UK Monday, one day after announcing his de-commitment from Nebraska.
McWilson had pledged his commitment to Nebraska last February and took his official visit Sept. 29, but de-committed after his visit to Lexington this weekend. UK tight ends coach Vince Marrow recruited the six-foot, 195-pound safety when Marrow was an assistant for the Cornhuskers, and continued to do so for the Cats since head coach Mark Stoops brought him onto the staff, according to Rivals.
McWilson is rated at four stars by both Rivals and Scout. Rivals rated McWilson as the 18th best safety in the country, as well as the 10th best player in the state of Ohio. Scout ranks him as the 16th best safety in the nation in the class of 2013.
The official visit last weekend was a big impact on his decision, McWilson said.
“Kentucky opened up my eyes and showed me there was more out there,” McWilson said. “I felt great (at UK). I felt like I had a great opportunity and I am ready for it.”
McWilson was also impressed by the passion of UK’s fan base, both on social media and in person last weekend.
“The fans welcomed me. They have a big impact,” McWilson said. “They want you to succeed. Everyone wants you to succeed in what you do no matter whether you’re playing basketball, soccer, football, track or lacrosse. They’re going to be a part of that.”
Stoops and Marrow both went to Cardinal Mooney High School, like McWilson. He said the coaches sold him on new opportunity at a big stage.
“I’m in the best conference, I think, that’s out there in the SEC. To me, to be the best player you have to beat the best players,” McWilson said. “We’re all excited about the program. We are excited about the legacy we are getting ready to begin with coach Stoops and everyone else. Everyone wants the football team to succeed and I think it’s time we do.”
McWilson also said Nebraska recruited against the Cats, saying that “UK is a losing football program” and that UK “is not a goodplace to go.”
“It didn’t impact me,” McWilson said about the effect of the Cornhuskers recruiting against UK. “I’m my own person.”
He cited Franklin County athlete Ryan Timmons, Trinity defensive end Jason Hatcher and Lincoln (Fla.) linebacker James Hearns as other recruits he’d like to see sign and play with him at UK..
McWilson said he would not visit anywhere else and plans to sign with the Cats next Wednesday on National Signing Day. He is interested in studying child psychology in college.
He had a final message for the people who speak negatively about UK football.
“To all those people out there that say Kentucky is never good, I’ll let the haters hate,” McWilson said. “They don’t impact me in my judgment of where I’m going to school or what I play for. I play because I love the game. I play for myself, my coaches and the guys who are right next to me. I know they are playing for me on the inside.
“Of course, I want to win, and that’s what I’ll do.”