Football staff awaiting signing day



By Nick Gray | @KyKernelGray

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With the commitment of Niceville (Fla.) offensive lineman Nick Haynes on Sunday, UK’s 2013 recruiting class consists of 20 players, leaving five spots for what the NCAA calls “initial counters.”

The NCAA allows for 25 “initial counters” for FBS teams in a given year to be given full scholarships and count toward the 85 man scholarship limit. An initial counter is an athlete who is given financial aid from the institution that is countable against the scholarship limit.

SEC schools, namely Alabama in 2010 and 2011 and South Carolina in 2011, have been criticized for “over-signing”. That is, more recruits will sign national letters of intent than there are scholarships. Then, players who are not able to receive a scholarship due to the lack of scholarships available are encouraged by coaches to walk on or greyshirt (enrolling in the winter semester instead of the preceding fall semester), which is a designation usually for those who struggle academically.

UK has not been criticized publicly for such practice, but as the program elevates their recruiting pool under head coach Mark Stoops, the Cats will be involving themselves in recruiting battles against other schools who are straining their scholarship supply.

Justin Rowland, a recruiting expert on, says he is okay with over-signing if the intent is well-placed.

“Over-signing is a bad thing when it is done deceptively; when a school convinces a kid he has a spot then at the last minute asks him to wait a year,” Rowland said. “There is a national misconception that the SEC greatly benefits from this. That’s off base because the SEC now has some really strict rules with stiff penalties. I see no problem with over-signing if kids know they have to wait a year and coaches honor their word.”

As for who will fill the five remaining spots for the Cats, Stoops and his staff will be on edge at 1 p.m. Tuesday when Franklin County (Ky.) three-star wide receiver Ryan Timmons makes his decision. Timmons’ top three are UK, Florida and Ohio State, and each school visited Timmons at his home last week.

Florida already has five committed wide receivers in the class of 2013 according to Rivals. The Cats have three receivers committed according to Rivals, but one is a junior college player (Javess Blue) who has two years of eligibility remaining.

Ohio State has 23 commitments overall, but only two receivers are committed to the class, and one (Corey Smith) is from the junior college ranks and will have two years of athletic eligibility left.

The issue with the Buckeyes would be scholarship penalties that date back to the 2011 NCAA Infractions report which forced the 2012 undefeated team to forgo postseason play. Ohio State will be 3 scholarships short of the 85 man scholarship limit as a result.

No matter where Timmons lands, he will be a puzzle piece for three programs trying to assess their situations as National Signing Day closes in.