UK football scores 20 recruits during first early signing day


Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops talks with Kentucky fans prior to the game against Virginia Tech on Saturday, December 16, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 93-86. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

UK football head coach Mark Stoops and recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow met with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the signees for this year’s recruiting class.

Up to this point, the Cats have signed 20 recruits. The breakdown of the class consists of a quarterback, three wide receivers, two tight ends, three defensive backs, three defensive linemen, two offensive linemen, two linebackers, a center, a running back, a punter and kicker.

Geographically, the recruitment process stood out from previous recruiting classes. The state with the most UK recruits was Florida, which had 8. Kentucky also had two recruits from Michigan for the first time in a long time, but there were no native Kentuckians in the class.

“Eddie Gran has a lot of connections in Florida, especially in south Florida, so that helped us find a lot of guys down there. Kentuckian players are still a priority of ours as well,” Stoops said.

The talk began with the discussion of quarterback recruit Terry Wilson. Stoops was fond of the Garden City Community College star.

“Terry’s film does not lie, and he was a joy to recruit. He will fit well into our offense,” Stoops said.

With quarterback Stephen Johnson having graduated, Wilson will look to compete to take his spot.

Another high point of the discussion was the signing of tight ends Brenden Bates and Keaton Upshaw. Marrow described signing the two tight ends as being similar to “hitting a home run.”

“If you compare Brendan to CJ (Conrad), he is like CJ in the sense that he is a team player,” Marrow said.

Recruited by power five schools, the two tight ends will look to provide explosive strength in the receiving and blocking game.

When discussing the wide receivers, Stoops did not hold back on how content he felt about the three stars. All Florida natives, Marvin Alexander Jr., Akeem Hayes and Bryce Oliver are guys who look to bring a lot to the table.

“Bryce was a really big commit who is a strong young man, and I told Eddie we need to bring in Marvin,” Stoops said. “We look for some receivers who are dynamic, and we look some guys who stretch the field along with outside guys.”

Stoops compared running back Chris Rodriguez to Benny Snell, saying “he is just like Benny.” He also mentioned linebacker Ashtan Pierre as being a versatile, explosive player who is good on his feet.

All in all, Stoops and Marrow feel very pleased with the progress they have made.

“If you told me we would have 20 signees by this morning, I would not have believed you,” Marrow said. “It’s been a very exciting day.”

Stoops went on to mention that he feels that this class has an identity.

Stoops said he hopes to have two to four more players signed by the Friday deadline.