Boyd headlines UK’s ‘speediest recruiting class in recent years’

With a solid recruiting class already in the works, the UK football team waited anxiously yesterday morning to see if Aaron Boyd, a prized Lexington prospect, would commit to the Cats.

Boyd, a wide receiver from Henry Clay High School and brother of former UK quarterback Shane Boyd, narrowed his choices down to UK and Oregon before his news conference at 10:30 yesterday morning. As family members, coaches, high school teammates, teachers and fans waited for word of Boyd’s destination, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound receiver gave the audience a little surprise.

The senior picked up an Oregon hat and started to place it on his head. But as soon as the anticipation in the room disappeared, Boyd pulled out a black UK hat, choosing the Cats.

Boyd highlights a 20-man recruiting class that head coach Rich Brooks and recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders announced yesterday on NCAA National Signing Day.

Boyd is one of four wide outs in the 2008 class that also includes six high school seniors who have played quarterback at some point in their careers. The recruiting class, made solely of high school seniors, is one of UK’s speediest recruiting classes in recent years, Brooks said.

“I’m very pleased obviously that we were able to get maybe one of the most athletic and faster recruiting classes that we’ve signed since I’ve been here,” Brooks said. “As you know, five years ago one of my biggest statements is what our team needed was speed. This class has a lot of that in it.”

Among UK’s most heralded recruits are defensive back Winston Guy, wide receiver and defensive back E.J. Fields and quarterback Randall Cobb.

Cobb played multiple positions in high school and projects him to be a defensive back for UK.

Guy recorded 75 tackles, 7.5 sacks and forced two fumbles last season at Lexington Catholic High School; Fields recorded eight interceptions on defense at Frankfort High School in Frankfort, Ky.; and Cobb, a dual-threat quarterback, threw for 1,765 yards and ran for 793 yards at Alcoa High School in Alcoa, Tenn.

The Cats also signed several athletic linemen that could play either offense or defense, Brooks said.

Although the Cats added highly touted local recruits and quickness to help compete in the always-speedy Southeastern Conference, the incoming class was only ranked No. 50 by and No. 58 by, which ranks players on a scale of one to five stars, rated only three players in the four-star range and awarded zero five-stars.

But Brooks has never put much stock into rankings.

“When you talk about the star rankings on recruits, I never really get carried away with that,” Brooks said. “If you look at the guys that we just lost in our senior class and a lot of our guys that are playing at All-SEC levels on our team now, there weren’t a lot four- and five-star guys in those guys but they played like four- and five-stars.”

And though UK did not have a top-25 recruiting class, Miller Safrit, a recruiting analyst for, said UK put together a solid class.

“It is a good class,” he said. “From top to bottom I thought they did a good job of filling holes, especially at the wide receiver position.”

Boyd, helps fill the Cats’ biggest hole going into next year. With the loss of wide receivers Keenan Burton and Steve Johnson to graduation, UK will likely count on at least “one, if not two” freshman wide outs to play a significant amount of time.

“The people that are going to line up at wide receiver in this freshman class have the biggest opportunity to have an impact next fall because we have a hole there, we have a need there,” Brooks said.

Boyd, the No. 1 prospect in Kentucky by and, caught 55 passes for 1,157 yards and 15 touchdowns during his senior campaign. At his news conference yesterday morning, Boyd said he hopes to catch “70 to 80” balls next year.

While that number might be a little premature, he has a chance to compete for a starting spot, Brooks said. Fields could also be in the mix for playing time at the wide receiver position, Brooks added.

“(Offensive coordinator) Joker Phillips is going to get me the ball, and I trust him,” Boyd said.

Staff writer Travis Waldron

contributed to this report