Three-star running back Khalifa Keith decommits from Kentucky


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops watches a replay during the Kentucky vs. Missouri football game on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri. UK won 21-17. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Drew Johnson, Reporter

Update: On Nov. 20, 2022, Keith committed to the University of Tennessee, confirming what was speculated in the article at the time of release.

“Ever since I decommited from Kentucky, my mind was already set on Tennessee,” Keith told GoVols247. “Nothing against Kentucky, (it has) great coaches, great staff and stuff like that, but I felt like Tennessee was where I was home at. It was home for me, it was home for my family.”


Khalifa Keith, a three-star running back from the class of 2023, announced via his Twitter that he has decommitted from Kentucky on Monday.

Keith originally committed to UK on July 4, 2022, choosing the Cats over schools such as Vanderbilt, Memphis and Toledo.

The Alabama native ran for 1,877 yards and 28 touchdowns in his junior season at Parker High School.

The decommitment followed a stretch of disappointing performances from the Wildcats that saw Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops and his crew lose three of their last five games.

Since his commitment, he has received offers from other schools such as South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi State, two of which defeated Kentucky this season.

“First and foremost, I want to thank God for the opportunities I have been blessed with and for putting me in the position to fulfill mine and my parents’ dream of me going to college,” Keith wrote on his Twitter. “I want to thank Coach Mark Stoops and his staff for extending me the opportunity to play for the Kentucky football program. After much thought, prayer, and discussion with my family and wisdom council, I have decided to decommit from the University of Kentucky”.

The decommitment is a big loss for the Wildcats, with the team now ranking 48th in the country in 2023 recruiting rankings, behind schools such as Colorado, Duke and Virginia Tech.

Kentucky also ranks 11th in the SEC in 2023 recruiting, beating only Vanderbilt, Auburn and Missouri.

Kentucky’s 2023 recruiting class also now has no running backs after the decommitment of Kaden Moorman last month.

With only 13 total commitments, UK has fallen far behind in 2023 recruiting heading into the early signing period and the Feb. 2 national signing day.

It currently seems as though Tennessee is the most probable landing spot for Keith as he is set to visit the Volunteers for the third time this season. (see update)

Keith was present for the Tennessee-Alabama game in Neyland Stadium in which Tennessee ultimately defeated Alabama 52-49.

The Volunteers currently rank 12th in the nation in 2023 recruiting with 11 four-stars and a five-star already committed.

While it’s not certain where Keith will take his talents next season, his decommitment from the Wildcats is certainly bad news for an already struggling recruiting cycle for UK.