2015 National Signing Day Wrapup
|Name||Highlights||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Cl.-Exp.||Hometown (Last School)|
|Josh Allen||Highlights||LB||6-5||210||Fr-HS||Montclair, N.J. (Montclair)|
|George Asafo-Adjei 1||Highlights||OL||6-5||315||Fr-HS||West Chester, Ohio (Lakota West)|
|Derrick Baity||Highlights||DB||6-3||180||Fr-HS||Tampa, Fla. (H.B. Plant)|
|Kei Beckham||Highlights||DB||5-11||170||Fr-HS||Trotwood, Ohio (Trotwood-Madison)|
|Alvonte Bell||Highlights||DE||6-5||260||Jr-JC||Miramar, Fla. (Everglades/Pearl River Community College)|
|Eli Brown||Highlights||LB||6-2||200||Fr-HS||Bowling Green, Ky. (Warren East)|
|C.J. Conrad 1||Highlights||TE||6-5||245||Fr-HS||LaGrange, Ohio (Keystone)|
|Kengera Daniel 1||Highlights||DE||6-5||250||Fr-HS||Raleigh, N.C. (Millbrook)|
|Therrell Gosier||Highlights||WR||6-6||210||Fr-HS||Pompano Beach, Fla. (Blanche Ely)|
|Jabari Greenwood||Highlights||WR||6-3||195||Fr-HS||Washington, D.C. (Gonzaga)|
|Greg Hart 1,2||Highlights||TE||6-5||240||So-Tr||Dayton, Ohio (Archbishop Alter/Nebraska)|
|Will Jackson||Highlights||DB||6-3||200||Fr-HS||Washington, D.C. (St. John's College High)|
|Jordan Jones 1||Highlights||LB||6-2||215||Fr-HS||Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney)|
|Sihiem King||Highlights||RB||5-9||185||Fr-HS||Colquitt, Ga. (Colquitt County)|
|Levon Livingston||Highlights||OL||6-7||250||Fr-HS||Washington, D.C. (Ballou)|
|Courtney Love 1,2||Highlights||LB||6-2||245||So-Tr||Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney/Nebraska)|
|Courtney Miggins||Highlights||DT||6-5||285||Jr-JC||Lithonia, Ga. (Miller Grove/Pearl River Community College)|
|Javon Provitt||Highlights||DT||6-3||305||Fr-HS||Warren, Ohio (Warren G. Harding)|
|Tavin Richardson||Highlights||WR||6-3||218||Fr-HS||Duncan, S.C. (Byrnes)|
|Logan Stenberg||Highlights||OL||6-6||330||Fr-HS||Madison, Ala. (James Clemens)|
|Marcus Walker||Highlights||DB||6-1||190||Fr-HS||Lake Wales, Fla. (Lake Wales)|
|Chris Westry||Highlights||DB||6-4||180||Fr-HS||Orange Park, Fla. (Oakleaf)|
|Mason Wolfe||Highlights||OL||6-6||325||Fr-HS||Henderson, Ky. (Henderson County)|
1 indicates player who enrolled in January and will participate in spring practice
2 indicates transfer from four-year school who will count toward the 2015 signing class
In addition to the signees, five players have confirmed their commitment to join UK as non-scholarship players in 2015
|Name||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Cl.-Exp.||Hometown (Last School)|
|Elijah Barnett||LB||6-3||220||Fr-HS||Lexington, Ky. (Henry Clay)|
|Blake Best||LS||6-2||247||Fr-HS||Suwanee, Ga. (Peachtree Ridge)|
|Alexander Brownell||LB||6-2||205||Fr-HS||Union, Ky. (Ryle)|
|Davis Mattingly||QB||6-4||225||Fr-HS||Louisville, Ky. (Male)|
|Sullivan Simpson||OL||6-3||280||Fr-HS||Lexington, Ky. (Henry Clay)|
Josh Allen, Linebacker, 6-5, 210, Fr-HS, Montclair, N.J. (Montclair) - Explosive prospect led the state of New Jersey in quarterback sacks ... A high school defensive end, his athleticism enables him to play linebacker or end in the collegiate ranks ... An all-around athlete, playing wide receiver as well ... Has been timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash ... Had 23 receptions for 425 yards and four touchdowns his senior season at Montclair, including an 80-yard grab ... As a defensive end, he had 75 total tackles with 21 tackles for loss plus 22.5 sacks ... Also had six passes defended and one fumble recovery ... Coached by John Fiore ... Played first three years of high school in Alabama before moving back to his hometown his senior season ... Helped Montclair claim its third-straight North 1, Group 5 Championship in 2014 ... Named All-Super Essex Conference first-team defense in 2014 ... Chose Kentucky over Buffalo and Monmouth.
Coach Stoops says: "Josh is a rangy athlete with great upside. He is a versatile player, there will be multiple options for him to play within our defense."
George Asafo-Adjei, Offensive Lineman, 6-5, 315, Fr-HS, West Chester, Ohio (Lakota West) -Physical offensive line prospect who brings SEC size to the Bluegrass out of Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio ... Two-year starter on the offensive line and also played some on the defense line ... Four-star prospect by 247sports.com and three-star player by Scout.com, Rivals.com and ESPN.com ... Scout.com ranks him the 27th-best offensive guard in the class of 2015 and the second best in the state of Ohio ... Rivals.com and 247Sports.com rank him the No. 21 overall prospect in the state of Ohio ... Scout.com says he is a "natural bender with the ability to pull and reach his target while keeping balance and getting great explosion from the hips along with his physical size and strength to overpower defenders" ... Was a 2014 All-Ohio first-team selection ... First-team All-Southwest Ohio in 2013 and 2014 ... Also first-team Greater Miami Conference ... Participated in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in January 2015 after being named a Semper Fidelis All-American ... Named the Anthony Munoz Foundation Offensive Lineman of the Year this past season ... Blocking helped guide Lakota West to the Elite 8 of the state playoffs as a senior, the best finish in school history ... His pass protection helped the team shatter the school's single-season passing record in 2014 ... Coached by Larry Cox ... "George's success had a direct correlation with his character," Cox said. "As great a football player he is, he is an even better human being. He is the hardest worker and strongest player we have had here in this program and that is broad ranging because I have players that have started for Texas, Alabama and Ohio State. He has only been playing football since his freshman season and has just scratched the surface of his potential. The sky is the limit for him and it has been very rewarding for me to see him go from a first-time player his freshman season to a High School All-American" ... Asafo-Adjei will rejoin former Lakota West teammates Mikel Horton and Kyle Meadows at UK ... Also wrestled in high school one season, winning several varsity meets ... Chose Kentucky over Louisville, Florida, Ohio State and Nebraska ... Name pronounced "ah-SAH-fo ad-JAY."
Coach Stoops says: "George is an extremely physical player and has the stature you look for in an offensive lineman. He's also very athletic for a player his size."
Derrick Baity, Defensive Back, 6-3, 180, Fr-HS, Tampa, Fla. (H.B. Plant) - First-team all-state as a senior ... Three-star prospect by ESPN.com, which ranks him as one of the top 200 players in the talent-rich state of Florida and 83rd-best cornerback in the nation ... ESPN.com scouting reports says he "Is a solid run support player. Recognizes run and will set the edge. Is not a vicious tackler but gets the job done. Baity is of very good height for a corner. Sees the game well. Is quick to react to the run and will easily stay in his back pedal when it is pass. Knows how to key through the line into the QB. Baity is a good prospect because of his physical tools" ... Florida High School Athletic Association 8A All-State First-Team Defense ... Had 66 tackles his senior season with three tackles for loss, four interceptions, which he returned 77 yards, and three fumbles recovered ... Had three interceptions, which he returned for 45 yards as a junior with one fumble recovery and 40 tackles ... All-around athlete that also played wide receiver and had success his senior season with 33 receptions for 730 yards and six touchdowns, including a season-best 77-yard reception ... Chose Kentucky after offers from Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville, Minnesota, South Florida, Syracuse, UCF and Wisconsin ... Name pronounced same as "Batey."
Coach Stoops says: "Because of Derrick's size and range, he is an extremely versatile defensive back. He comes from a great high school program."
Kei Beckham, Defensive Back, 5-11, 170, Fr-HS, Trotwood, Ohio (Trotwood-Madison) - First-team all-state player had nine interceptions as a senior, returning five for touchdowns ... A three-star prospect by all four major recruiting services ... Rivals.com lists him as the 20th-best player in the state of Ohio and the 44th best cornerback in the nation ... Scout.com lists Beckham as the fourth-best safety in the state of Ohio and 81st-best safety in the nation ... ESPN.com's scouting report of Beckham says he "Plays with acceptable strength as he can body position himself vs. WRs. Speed is good as he will close on a receiver quickly. He is athletic enough to be an early contributor" ... Added 34 tackles in 2014 with three fumbles forced and two fumbles recovered ... Strong senior season led him to Southwest Ohio Division III Defensive Player of the Year honors and was a first team all-state selection ... Justin Rowland from Rivals.com said this about Beckham in a scouting report, "Big players make big plays, and the difference between a great corner and a good one is sometimes the difference between an interception and a pass breakup. When Beckham had the opportunity to make a big play he made the best play that could be made, so he rose to the occasion" ... Selected as a Fox 45 Top 22, which picks the best 22 seniors prior to the start of the season ... Had eight interceptions his junior year with a pick six, 32 tackles and four fumble recoveries ... Helped his team to state title his freshman and senior seasons ... Picked Kentucky after offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue and others ... Name is pronounced "kee."
Coach Stoops says: "Kei has great ball skills. He's a big-play defensive back, as evidenced by his interceptions and his returns for touchdowns."
Alvonte Bell, Defensive End, 6-5, 260, Jr-JC, Miramar, Fla. (Everglades/Pearl River Community College) - Played two years at Pearl River Community College ... Had 16 tackles last season with two sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss and one fumble forced ... Had 12 tackles his first season in juco, adding two sacks and one tackle for loss.
High School: Explosive defensive end at Everglades High School in Miramar, Fla., where he was coached by Rodney Rumph ... The nation's No. 24 weakside defensive end by Rivals.com ... The No. 34 overall defensive end according to Scout.com ... "Bell is a raw athlete with speed, length, and quickness that attracts attention his way. He has long arms to get into passing lanes, he can move well in space, and he really pursues the ball well," according to Scout analyst Chad Simmons ... Was timed at 4.88 in the 40 with a 27-inch vertical ... Made 40 tackles as a junior, with his 18 total tackles for loss including 11 quarterback sacks ... Helped led the team to the Florida Class 6A regional quarterfinals his freshman and sophomore seasons ... Missed much of his senior season because of injury ... Began high school career as a basketball star before making the move to football ... Name is pronounced "al-VON-tay."
Coach Stoops says: "We're excited to get Alvonte back after signing him two years ago. He has great size and athleticism and is extremely quick off the ball."
Eli Brown, Linebacker, 6-2, 200, Fr-HS, Bowling Green, Ky. (Warren East) - Four-star recruit by all four major recruiting services ... Scout.com ranks him the No. 1 outside linebacker in the state of Kentucky and the second-best overall prospect in the state ... ESPN.com ranks Brown the 15th best outside linebacker in the nation and No. 244 in the ESPN Top 300 ... ESPN.com's scouting report says, "Brown is an athletic linebacker prospect with a lot of natural ability and upside. He can run, close and hit at an upper-tier level. May not be an immediate impact guy, but his upside is very high" ... Picked for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, arguably the most prestigious high school football all-star game ... Had a great senior season with 50 tackles, adding 10 tackles for loss, an interception, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery ... Also had 50 tackles his junior season with two tackles for loss, two interceptions and a fumble forced ... Solid running back for his high school team, rushing 83 times for 687 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014 and 132 times for 1,186 yards and 15 touchdowns his junior season ... Caught 14 passes his junior and season seasons combined for 192 yards ... Named to The Courier-Journal's 2014 All-State Football Team ... A 2014 Herald-Leader Class of the Commonwealth honoree ... 2014 Associated Press All-State first-team selection ... Helped his team to the state players all four years of high school, including the state semifinals his sophomore season ... Chose Kentucky over Ohio State, Penn State, Louisville, WKU and Vanderbilt.
Coach Stoops says: "Eli is an extremely athletic linebacker - great speed and change of direction. He's another great Kentucky player we're proud to have stayed home."
C.J. Conrad, Tight End, 6-5, 245, Fr-HS, LaGrange, Ohio (Keystone) - An athletic and explosive tight end ... A four-star prospect by Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com ... Three-star player by ESPN.com ... Considered by all four services to be one of the best tight end prospects in the nation, including ranked seventh by Scout.com, who says he "naturally catches the football well and tracks it and adjusts to passes" ... Helped lead his team to a conference championship in 2013, the first for the school since 1971 ... In 2014, Keystone went 8-2 and qualified for the Division IV playoffs for the first time in school history ... Lettered all four years and on top of playing tight end also played free safety, defensive end and split end his freshman and sophomore seasons ... Started varsity midway through his freshman season and ended his career with 180 catches for 2,436 yards, 32 receiving touchdowns and two punt returns for a touchdown ... Senior season ended with 55 receptions for 752 yards, 10 receiving touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and one punt return for a TD ... Included in those stats was an impressive performance in the school's first-ever playoff game, making nine catches for 114 yards and one touchdown, adding 12 tackles and two sacks on defense ... Had 47 catches for 579 yards and six receiving touchdowns as a junior and 59 catches for 924 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore ... On the defensive side, he had 170 career tackles and six interceptions ... Participated in the 2014 Columbus Nike Football Training Camp and won the MVP award for the tight ends and receivers group ... Earned an invitation to Nike's exclusive The Opening 2014 ... Was awarded the annual Lorain County Golden Helmet Award, which is presented to the county's top senior football player ... Only the second player in school history to earn the award, with the last coming in 1972 ... He was named 2014 All-Ohio second team, and the 2014 All-Northeast Lakes District, All-Lorain County and All-Patriot Athletic Conference first teams ... Selected as one of only 20 "Buckeye Bluechips" by the Touchdown Club of Columbus ... Named the PAC's Offensive Player of the Year and earned a PAC Scholar-Athlete Award ... All-Ohio special mention his junior season and All-Ohio third team his sophomore season ... Coached by Rob Clarico, who said, "C.J. is blessed with a lot of physical talent and add on his work ethic and that makes him a very special player. He is a natural leader and really works at that, but also spends time developing his craft. He never misses a workout and put in a lot of extra time to become a better player throughout the year" ... A four-year varsity letterman in basketball, helping the team to the conference championship his freshman season and earning several all-county, all-conference and all-district honors ... Honor roll student that was named to the scholar-athlete list every season, keeping a 3.5 GPA or higher ... Chose Kentucky over Ole Miss, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas and Duke.
Coach Stoops says: "We're very pleased to have C.J. He can be a complete tight end. He has great size and will continue to develop. He's a good pass catcher who can make plays in space."
Kengera Daniel, Defensive End, 6-5, 250, Fr-HS, Raleigh, N.C. (Millbrook) - Defensive end prospect only began playing football in high school and shows plenty of potential ... Battled injuries in high school that limited his stats but still posted 65 tackles and 19 sacks in 2014 ... Had 13 sacks and one interception in limited time in 2013 ... A three-star recruit by all four major recruiting databases ... Scout.com ranks him the fourth-best defensive end prospect in the state of North Carolina, while Rivals.com, 247Sports.com and ESPN.com all rank him a top-25 player in the state of North Carolina ... Versatile athlete played defensive end, linebacker, tight end and fullback in high school ... Two-year letterman who helped his team break the school's single-season sack record in 2014 ... Guided Millbrook to finish second in the conference and advance to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs ... Best career game came against Heritage High School when he had 12 solo tackles, including five tackles for loss and two sacks ... The Fayetteville Observer named him the No. 16 best recruit in August 2014, saying "Daniel is a pure speed rusher who comes off the edge like a rocket ... and once he gets his big hands on a ballcarrier, they're going nowhere but to the ground" ... High school head coach Clarence Inscore said, "First off, he is the ultimate team player and did everything that we ever asked of him, as you can tell by him playing defensive end, linebacker, tight end and fullback. He played defensive end mainly last year but we did put him in at tight end some and he caught a touchdown pass, which shows you how athletic he is. I think his best football is in front of him because he has only been playing football for three years and he is improving every day" ... All-around athlete also lettered two years in basketball at center/power forward ... Honor-roll student ... Was very active outside of athletics, working with an outreach club in high school that spent time over at a local middle school tutoring ... Chose Kentucky over Louisville, NC State, Virginia and Alabama ... Name pronounced "ken-JAIR-uh."
Coach Stoops says: "Kengera has great physical presence, with length and speed. He is extremely disruptive as he has the ability to create negative-yardage plays."
Therrell Gosier, Wide Receiver, 6-6, 210, Fr-HS, Pompano Beach, Fla. (Blanche Ely) - Three-star wide receiver by ESPN.com who is one of the top 200 players in the talent-rich state of Florida and the 165th-best wide receiver in the nation ... ESPN.com's scouting report says he, "possesses outstanding overall measurables. Long arms and legs. Possesses a wide catch radius on a frame that is capable of carrying more bulk. Is a galloping strider that builds to top end speed. Is a big, rangy athlete" ... Scout.com ranks him the 16th-best wide receiver in the state of Florida and 75th-best wide receiver in the 2015 class ... Fine athlete also is a star for his high school basketball team ... No. 33 in The Sun Sentinel's Top 50 seniors ... Named on watch list for The Opening 2014 ... Chose Kentucky over offers from Clemson, Marshall, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, South Florida, Syracuse and West Virginia ... Name pronounced "ther-RELL go-SEER."
Coach Stoops says: "Therrell can be an impact player - a big-time talent with size, speed and big-play ability."
Jabari Greenwood, Wide Receiver, 6-3, 195, Fr-HS, Washington D.C. (Gonzaga) - A three-star wide receiver prospect with great size ... Scout.com ranks him the top wide receiver in the Washington, D.C. area and the No. 7 overall player in the area ... Rivals.com ranks him the fourth-best player in the D.C. area and the 51st-best wide receiver in the nation ... ESPN.com's scouting report says, "He is tall and long with some functional strength and brings physicality to the game. There's a lot to like about Greenwood. He makes plays when the ball comes his way" ... Led high school in receiving each of his final three seasons ... Had 50 receptions his senior year for 754 yards and nine touchdowns ... Named All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference second team as a senior ... A 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl nominee ... Was named the team's Outstanding Offense Player of the Week in the team's 49-21 victory over Bishop O'Connell last season ... Had 30 catches for 487 yards and four touchdowns his junior season and 31 catches for 437 yards and four touchdowns his sophomore season ... Earned second-team All-WCAC honors as a junior and third-team honors as a sophomore ... Picked Kentucky over Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Iowa, Maryland, Pittsburgh and others.
Coach Stoops says: "With his size and physicality, he can be the presence you're looking for as an inside receiver. He has big-play capability in the pass game as well."
Greg Hart, Tight End, 6-5, 240, So-Tr, Dayton, Ohio (Archbishop Alter/Nebraska) -
At Nebraska: Played in nine game in 2014, mostly on special teams ... Redshirted his first year with the Huskers ... Named to Tom Osborne Citizenship Team in 2014 and Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll in the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014 ... Coached by Bo Pelini ... Active in the community, volunteered his time with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Uplifting Athletes, Husker Heroes, Husker Hotline and several local hospitals, elementary school and community rec centers while at Nebraska.
High School: Was a standout two-way player at Archbishop Alter High School in Dayton ... Behind his efforts, Archbishop Alter posted an 8-2-1 record in 2012 and reached the first round of the state playoffs ... Ended his senior season with better than 30 receptions for approximately 300 yards and three touchdowns ... All-around athlete who also played defensive end and had better than 60 tackles, including a league-leading 10 sacks and an interception ... Earned conference defensive lineman of the year honors and was a Division III All-Ohio choice ... Impressive junior season, helping the team to a 10-1 record ... Alter ended regular season with a perfect record in 2011 before losing in the first round of the state playoffs ... Coached by Ed Domsitz ... Coming out of high school, he was regarded as one of the top 30 tight end prospects in the country and one of the top 40 overall prospects in the state of Ohio.
Coach Stoops says: "Greg has the size and toughness needed to play tight end. He also brings some good experience from his two seasons at Nebraska."
Will Jackson, Defensive Back, 6-3, 200, Fr-HS, Washington D.C. (St. John's College High) - Combination athlete in high school, playing cornerback and wide receiver ... 247Sports.com lists him as an athlete and ranks him the 16th-best prospect in Washington D.C. ... Named first-team Washington Catholic Athletic Conference as a defensive back in 2014 ... Had 30 catches for 500 yards as a sophomore ... Chose Kentucky over offers from Western Michigan, Connecticut, Nevada, North Carolina State, Old Dominion and Toledo.
Coach Stoops says: "Will is a long, rangy corner, physical with great footwork. Having also played receiver in high school, he has good ball skills. It's exciting to have this kind of size in the secondary."
Jordan Jones, Linebacker, 6-2, 215, Fr-HS, Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney) - A four-star prospect by Scout.com and three-star recruit by 247Sports.com, ESPN.com and Rivals.com ... A top-20 player in the state of Ohio by 247Sports.com and ESPN ... Ranked as one of the top 40 best outside linebackers in the class by all four databases ... Strong senior season with 185 tackles, including 10 sacks, five fumbles forced and four fumbles recovered ... Also had a great junior season with 123 tackles, 10 sacks, five fumbles forced, three fumbles returned for touchdowns and 27 tackles for loss ... Was named to Big 22 Class of 2014, which honors the best 22 players in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania ... Named first-team All-Ohio Division IV as a junior and senior ... Was 2014 Division IV Defensive Player of the Year ... Started at linebacker and tailback in his two years at Cardinal Mooney ... Head coach was P.J. Fecko ... High school defensive coordinator Chris Amill said, "Jordan is a hard worker, probably the hardest worker that we have had come through Mooney. His explosiveness is really what stands out to me. He can move from sideline to sideline with ease and can gain on you in the blink of an eye, which should really help him at the next level. He is a special player because even if he does make a little mistake, his athletic ability, speed, quickness, explosiveness and relentlessness will make up for it" ... Played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Reynoldsburg HS in Columbus, Ohio, starting at running back both years ... Also ran track two years at Reynoldsburg, competing in the 100- and 400-meter dashes ... Played three years of basketball as a power forward ... Picked Kentucky after considering Miami (Fla.), Michigan State and Oklahoma.
Coach Stoops says: "Being from Cardinal Mooney (Coach Stoops' high school), Jordan is a player I've watched grow up. He has the size and speed you're looking for in a linebacker."
Sihiem King, Running Back, 5-9, 185, Fr-HS, Colquitt, Ga. (Colquitt County) - Swift running back was the Georgia Offensive Player of the Year as selected by the Georgia Sports Writers Association ... A three-star prospect by Rivals.com and ESPN.com ... ESPN.com's scouting report says,"(King) is an elusive threat at the RB position with quickness and speed. Goes from 0-to-60 in a hurry. Quick to get into second level and utilize his big-play speed. Displays powerful balance slipping arm tackles. King is a speedy all-purpose back with hybrid slot/RB skill set that could be ultra-productive in a spread offense. Best asset is his versatility and ability to motion out in the slot and produce in the passing game" ... ESPN.com ranks him the 74th best running back nationally and one of the top 100 prospects in Georgia ... Impressive senior stats featured 279 rushes for 2,090 yards in 15 games, scoring 37 TDs and totaling 11 100-yard rushing performances ... Averaged 139.3 yards per game while leading Colquitt HS to the Class AAAAAA state championship ... Rushed for 1,439 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior ... Three-year career stats feature 601 carries for 3,781 yards and 55 TDs ... Has an ability to be a threat in the passing game, totaling 94 catches for 796 yards and four TDs ... Played on defense as a freshman ... Coached by Rush Propst ... Chose Kentucky over West Virginia, Wake Forest, Washington State and Middle Tennessee ... Name pronounced "sah-HEEM."
Coach Stoops says: "Sihiem is an explosive running back who can make plays in space and as a receiver, leading his team to a Georgia state championship and being named the state offensive player of the year."
Levon Livingston, Offensive Lineman, 6-7, 250, Fr-HS, Washington D.C. (Ballou) -Three-star offensive line prospect by all four major recruiting services that played some defensive end as well ... Scout.com ranks him the No. 1 offensive tackle in the Washington D.C. area ... Rivals.com ranks him the ninth-best prospect in Washington D.C. area ... ESPN.com scouting report says, "flashes good pull/trap ability and if can maintain mobility as he add size, can possess good range as run blocker" ... A 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl nominee ... Had a great junior season with 19.5 sacks on defense and helped the Ballou offense rush for over 1,300 yards and advance to the state playoffs ... Strong junior season led to him being named second-team All-Metropolitan Area by The Washington Post ... Invited to compete in the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio in January 2014 ... Also named second-team All-Met after his senior season ... Picked Kentucky over offers from Charlotte, North Carolina State and West Virginia ... Name pronounced "luh-VON."
Coach Stoops says:"Levon has great size and length who will fill out physically. He's also athletic, with great footwork."
Courtney Love, Linebacker, 6-2, 245, So-Tr, Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney/Nebraska) -At Nebraska: Played in 12 games in 2014 with six total tackles, including one tackle for loss ... Sat out the 2013 season as a redshirt ... Was a standout on the practice field and earned Scout Team Defensive MVP honors that season ... Coached by Bo Pelini ... Also earned a 2014 Nebraska Student-Athlete HERO Leadership Award and named to the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team ... Was active in the community, volunteering his time with Uplifting Athletes, Husker Heroes, Make-A-Wish, Husker Hotline, and local hospital and community rec center outreach events.
High School: A two-time All-Ohio selection at Cardinal Mooney High School who posted impressive numbers as a senior, registering 110 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and nine sacks ... Also forced four fumbles and had two pass breakups, despite missing one game because of injury ... Was honored for his efforts as a first-team Division III All-Ohio selection for the second straight year ... Played a key role in Cardinal Mooney winning the Division III state title his junior season, recording 130 tackles with seven sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery ... Was Mooney's leading tackler in the state title game victory over Springfield Shawnee ... Strong junior season in 20111 led to first-team All-Ohio honors and Division III Co-Defensive Player-of-the-Year recognition ... Was regarded as one of the nation's top 30 linebackers by multiple recruiting services and was listed among the top 30 overall prospects in the state of Ohio ... Coached by P.J. Fecko ... Initially chose Nebraska over Florida State, Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Illinois and Indiana ... Rejoins former high school teammate Marcus McWilson at UK.
Coach Stoops says: "Like Jordan Jones, Courtney is a player I've watched grow up and we welcome him to our program. He has the size and physical presence to be an inside linebacker."
Courtney Miggins, Defensive Tackle, 6-5, 285, Jr-JC, Lithonia, Ga. (Miller Groove/Pearl River CC) - Strong junior college prospect that originally signed with Louisiana Lafayette out of high school ... Was a three-star recruit by ESPN.com out of high school before going to junior college ... Had nine tackles his freshman season at Pearl River and four tackles last season with two pass breakups ... First team all-region selection as a senior at Miller Grove High, playing for coach Damien Wimes ... Had 36 tackles with four sacks and 13 TFL as a senior ... Registered 40 tackles with eight quarterback sacks and 10 TFL as a junior to earn a spot in the RisingSeniors.com Junior Bowl ... Among JUCO players, 247Sports.com ranks him 44th overall and the eight-best defensive tackle ... Chose Kentucky over N.C. State and Mississippi State.
Coach Stoops says: "Courtney is an impact defensive lineman out of the junior college ranks. He has great size and quickness off the ball, the skills to come in and compete at a high level."
Javon Provitt, Defensive Tackle, 6-3, 305, Fr-HS, Warren, Ohio (Warren G. Harding) - A three-star defensive line prospect by Rivals.com, Scout.com, 247Sports.com and ESPN.com ... ESPN.com ranks him he 37th-best prospect in the state of Ohio and the 61st-best defensive tackle in the nation ... ESPN.com scouting report says, "Provitt possesses very good size at this stage with a build that can support additional good mass with time in a college weight program and allow him to play comfortable in the 300-pound range. Displays very good playing strength. Flashes a good initial burst." ... Helped a pass rush that only allowed 111.1 passing yards per game and only 24.6 points per game in 2014 ... Named to the 2014 Ohio High School Football Players Watch List ... Picked Kentucky over Cincinnati, Purdue and Toledo ... Name is pronounced "jah-VON PRO-vit."
Coach Stoops says: "Javon is a big, powerful defensive lineman who is also explosive. With his quick first step, he could be extremely disruptive."
Tavin Richardson, Wide Receiver, 6-3, 218, Fr-HS, Duncan, S.C. (Byrnes) - Three-star recruit ... ESPN.com ranks him the 12th-best player in the state of South Carolina and 72nd-best wide receiver in the 2015 class ... ESPN.com scouting report says he, "possesses height, length and bulk. Is athletics and rangy with good overall flexibility and body control given his size. Possesses really good, strong hands. Secures the football with purpose. Can contort his body and adjust to poorly thrown balls. Catches the ball with his hands extended away from his frame, but will cradle and use his frame to secure the ball in traffic if necessary" ... Rivals.com ranks him the ninth-best player in South Carolina and 20th-best tight end in the 2015 class ... Played in the prestigious Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas ... Had 43 receptions his senior season for 457 yards and five touchdowns ... Returned kicks in high school, including 21 kick returns for 457 yards his senior season and 10 returns his junior season for 836 yards ... Strong junior season with 63 receptions for 836 yards and eight touchdowns ... Had 600 receiving yards as a sophomore with four touchdowns ... No. 17 on High School Sports Report Top 100 Rising Senior List ... All-Region II-4A selection ... Named second-team All-Area ... Was named to the High School Sports Report All-Rookie Team in 2012 ... Chose Kentucky over offers from Central Florida, Arkansas, Florida, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Mississippi State and Ole Miss ... Name pronounced "TAY-vin."
Coach Stoops says: "Tavin is a big, strong wide receiver with great hands. He also excels at getting yards after the catch."
Logan Stenberg, Offensive Lineman, 6-6, 330, Fr-HS, Madison, Ala. (James Clemens) - A three-star offensive line prospect by all four major recruiting services ... Scout.com ranks him the second-best offensive tackle in the state of Alabama ... ESPN.com lists Stenberg as the 42nd-best prospect in the state of Alabama and the 134th-best offensive tackle in the nation ... ESPN.com's scouting report says, "massive o-line prospect with very good height and a lot of bulk packed on his frame. Displays very good playing strength. Has size and strength to engulf and maul defenders at times and will try to deliver a blow and as well as finish at times" ... Behind his strong blocking his high school team rushed for nearly 2,000 yards last season while totaling over 3,300 yards of total offense ... Named second-team all-state in 2014 by Alabama Sports Writers Association ... Cleared the way for his running back to rush for over 1,300 yards in 2014 and earn first-team all-state honors by the Alabama Sports Writers Association ... Played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game in 2014 and impressed there ... ... Chose Kentucky over offers from Southern Miss and Troy.
Coach Stoops says: "Logan has the size you look for, a physical offensive lineman who is also very athletic. He's a big presence."
Marcus Walker, Defensive Back, 6-1, 190, Fr-HS, Lake Wales, Fla. (Lake Wales) - A four-star recruit by ESPN.com that ranks him the 214th-best prospect in their Top 300 ... ESPN.com ranks him the 39th-best player in the talent-rich state of Florida and the 15th-best safety in the class of 2015 ... ESPN.com scouting report says, "Tall, athletic safety with very good height, length and a strong build. Plays with great functional strength and should continue to fill out well and develop. Runs well; closes fast and displays very good range. Speed and movements are somewhat straight-line but faster than his testing times indicate. Has good play speed" ... Rivals.com Justin Rowland says, "Explosive, ball hawk, physical. Describe him however you want. Walker can play. From an athletic and skills standpoint Walker is one of the best safeties Kentucky has had in the modern era. He's the definition of Florida speed," ... A Bright House Sports Network Top 20 football player in the Tampa Bay area at No. 17 ... Missed some of his senior season with an injury but returned and helped Lake Wales to the regional quarterfinals ... Had five interceptions his junior season ... Saw a lot of time as a kick returner and did well with nearly 600 all-purpose yards his junior season ... Named second-team all-state by Herald-Tribune ... Picked Kentucky after offers from Tennessee, Arkansas, Michigan State, Florida, Ole Miss, UCLA, Mississippi State and many others.
Coach Stoops says: "Marcus is extremely talented. He's a prototypical safety - great instincts, ball skills and a good tackler."
Chris Westry, Defensive Back, 6-4, 180, Fr-HS, Orange Park, Fla. (Oakleaf) - Three-star recruit by Rivals.com, Scout.com, 247Sports.com and ESPN.com ... Evaluated as a safety in high school, he also could play cornerback in college ... Scout.com ranks him the 17th-best safety in the state of Florida ... ESPN.com ranks him the 55th-best safety in the nation ... ESPN.com's scouting report says, "Westry has very good size for a DB. He is what the power conference schools look for in a DB. Long in body and arms. Plays with good strength as he continually defeats stack blocks to make the tackle. His top end speed is very good. Westry is the kind of player the big time power conference schools like" ... Had 34 total tackles his senior season with one interception and 12 passes defended ... Blocked two field goals his senior season ... Named Times-Union's 2014 All-First Coast honorable mention ... A Super 24 selection ... Picked Kentucky over offers from Auburn, Florida, South Florida, UCF, FIU, Ohio and Charlotte.
Coach Stoops says: "Chris has exceptional size for a cornerback and good footwork. He has the potential to develop into a shutdown corner."
Mason Wolfe, Offensive Lineman, 6-6, 325, Fr-HS, Henderson, Ky., (Henderson County) - A three-star prospect by Rivals.com, Scout.com, 247sports.com and ESPN.com ... Helped his team to the state playoffs all four years of high school, including the quarterfinals his freshman season ... Scout.com ranks him the No. 1 offensive tackle in the state of Kentucky and sixth-best overall player in the state ... Rivals.com ranks him the fifth-best player in the state ... ESPN.com scouting report on Wolfe says, "good height and bulk at this stage with room to rework body comp some and still add good mass to frame" ... His blocking helped Henderson County rush for 1,592 yards his senior season with 23 rushing touchdowns ... Helped the Colonels rush for 1,863 yards his junior season and 26 rushing touchdowns ... Named first-team all-state by The Associated Pressin 2014 ... Named to The Courier-Journal's 2014 All-State Football Team ... A 2014 Herald-Leader Class of the Commonwealth honoree ... Picked Kentucky over California, Louisville, Missouri and Purdue.
Coach Stoops says: "We're happy to have Mason, a great in-state player. With his size and length, he has tremendous upside."
In addition to the signees, five players have confirmed their commitment to join the Wildcats as non-scholarship players in 2015
Elijah Barnett, Linebacker, 6-3, 220, Fr-HS, Lexington, Ky. (Henry Clay) - First-team all-city selection ... Had 14 tackles for loss and 7.5 quarterback sacks ... Son of Oliver Barnett, member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame and the all-time sacks leader at UK.
Blake Best, Long Snapper, 6-2, 247, Fr-HS, Suwanee, Ga. (Peachtree Ridge) - Three-year letterman and team captain ... Winner of Gwinnett Touchdown Club Award ... Member of student leadership team.
Alex Brownell, Linebacker, 6-2, 205, Fr-HS, Union, Ky. (Ryle) - Member of Northern Kentucky All-Star Team ... Four-year starter ... Team captain.
Davis Mattingly, Quarterback, 6-4, 225, Fr-HS, Louisville, Ky. (Male) - Kentucky Class 6A Player of the Year ... Threw for 2,300 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior ... Had a 23-3 record as starting quarterback.
Sullivan Simpson, Offensive Lineman, 6-3, 280, Fr-HS, Lexington, Ky. (Henry Clay) - Two-time all-state and three-time all-city performer ... Team Most Valuable Player as a senior ... His father, Sam, played for Kentucky in the 1970s and his brother, also named Sam, played for UK in recent years and is currently a graduate assistant coach.
Head Coach Mark Stoops
COACH STOOPS: Exciting time. I feel very good about this recruiting class. As you all know and have been following, it's been a little bit of a grind. It's been a tough year in certain aspects and great in others.
I feel like we really hit on a bunch of guys we were looking for. Big thing that you'll notice with this group is great size, great length. We feel like we hit a lot of areas of need in the secondary, O-line, D-line. Overall, very pleased with this group.
I think hitting 13 defensive guys was important. I felt like we just continued to build, to build depth, to get the size we're looking for, to get the players in the secondary was important. So we're aggressive with defensive players. Signing 13 of them was important for us and for our future.
Offensively, four offensive linemen. It's always important to continue to build quality depth and get just solid class after solid class with offensive line. It takes time to develop those guys. So I feel very good with that group. I feel like, once again, with that class, with the offensive line, it was good to get size once again. We needed more girth. We need to be more physical. You hear me talk about that time and time again. So I feel good about the offensive line.
Another group that you see great length and great size is the wide receiver position. Two guys in the 6'3" range, one guy in the 6'6" range, and once again, we're starting to build a quality group of receivers. We have a good nucleus, a good group coming back for next year's team that's already on our campus, and with the addition of these guys, once again, they continue to build some size.
Tight end was another area of need, as you all know. So hitting on two tight ends was also important. And then with the late addition of the running back, with (Sihiem) King, I really felt like that was an important position to get somebody in that position. He's a guy that we felt like had big play ability and great speed. So he was a great addition to our class late throughout the process.
Once again, defensively, all areas, we needed each level of the defense. Signing four defensive linemen with great size was very important to us. Two guys that stand out to me right away is Alvonte (Bell) and Courtney (Miggins). Those guys are difference makers. It was very important to get those guys and to land them. We went through some good recruiting battles to land those guys. So I feel very good about the defensive line class and the size and the strength and the explosiveness of that group.
Linebackers, we've got to continue to build depth there. I feel very good about the linebacking group and the size and the athleticism and the speed of those guys.
The biggest area, probably the area where I feel like we hit, was the secondary. Y'all know, you've listened to me enough after each game, we had some bad matchup problems at times. We play against some guys in this league that have great size and great skill at the receiver position, and I felt like we really needed to upgrade and get some quality guys in the secondary, and I feel very good about this group. As you hear me talk after games and areas of need and continuing to build this program, you hear me talk about being physical, and it's not just on the O-line and D-line. When you're talking about physical and length, you're talking about all levels of your team. So I really felt like we needed to continue to improve that size and that physicality in the secondary and in the wide receiver position and linebackers and so on and certainly tight ends.
Overall, I feel very good about this group. I felt like it was key for us this last week, these last couple days, into last night and into this morning to close on a few guys. As you know, it gets very delicate when you try to hit that number perfectly. Heading into this recruiting class, we had 23 spots available. We could have signed up to 25, and you got to count on some attrition between now and next fall, but we actually had 23. That's what we signed. I feel very good about that. It gives us a little bit of leeway if we have some attrition throughout our team between here and the summer.
So once again, it was -- I think a lot has been written and a lot of people have followed it. We've gone through some ups and some downs, but overall, very pleased, very happy with this group. There are some very good football players that are going to be joining us and very excited to have them. So just overall very pleased, very happy. I really appreciate our staff. I feel like this group of coaches worked extremely hard. They work relentlessly, around the clock, did an awful lot of traveling, and really worked hard to hold this class together.
It's not like a lot of times you hear me talking after a game, a couple plays here, a couple plays there. Same thing, a couple players here, a couple players there push you one way or the other. But overall, very solid effort and really appreciate the efforts of our staff.
Q. Mark, have you ever seen a stretch like this -- or endured a stretch like this in your career? Where so many guys change course in a short window. Do you think that was related to the way you guys finished the season?
COACH STOOPS: I don't think a lot had to do with how we finished at all. As you say, if that would have been the case, I think we'd have had some turning early. I don't think it had a lot to do with that.
No, I haven't been around a lot that you had that much change within a seven-day span or so. I don't think we're alone. I think it's a situation that probably needs to be addressed on a national level, but, again, I'm not concerned about the guys we did not get. I'm very excited about the players we got.
Are there some issues? Are there some things that could be improved Nationwide? I think so.
Q. What do you know about the early signing calendar being under control?
COACH STOOPS: I think there's definitely a need. I don't know. I can't speak for everybody. I'd say the people I know and talk with, absolutely everybody is for an early signing period. Where and when is the big discussion. That's where a lot of people have different opinions.
I just know, generally speaking -- I don't want to speak for the other coaches in our conference. I just know from our meetings, just a general thought is people are not in favor of changing drastically our recruiting calendar, which means we're already got a lot on our plate, and you start doing things and having officials and things like that in the summer, spring, all that stuff gets very hectic, I think. The consensus in our league is we like the way it's laid out right now if you could just find some kind of happy medium with an early signing period.
My personal thought is it makes no sense not to. We recruit these guys for over a year, year and a half, two years. Whatever it may be. And if they give us their word and want to come to Kentucky, then give them the scholarship and let them sign it, and that protects both them and you.
I think sometime in December has been mentioned. That's what I'd be in support of. That gives you the entire season. If they want to come up -- and a lot of coaches in our league are afraid to move it up too far because we all are a little bit hesitant about hosting official visits all fall because we're busy enough with games, and then you take on -- I don't know if you do the families justice a lot of times because we don't have the time to spend with them, and a lot of people are opposed to that.
But the point is for us -- and, again, I can only speak for ourselves -- they're going to come in season anyway. If a prospect wants to come to a game on an official visit in the fall, then we say okay and bring them in, and we host them anyway. So we're dealing with it. We're dealing with the extra work as it is, and once again, that's what I'd be in favor of. Give them the time to come in in the fall. Give them the time to come in for a few weekends in December, and let them sign before Christmas and get it wrapped up. It only makes sense. They have our word that I'm going to give them a scholarship, and it would certainly save the university an awful lot of money, and it would save our coaches an awful lot of time.
Our coaches are flying all over the country -- I know not a lot of people are worried about that, but they're going all over the place, sometimes just holding things down. And the vast majority of these guys never even blinked. They've been very solid, and they've been great to recruit the whole time, but we never take anything for granted. So we're going in there each and every week, making sure things are buttoned down.
There's got to be a happy medium in there somewhere.
Q. What can you tell us about what happened in Richmond with the players?
COACH STOOPS: To be honest with you, just what you tell me. I don't know. I'm trying to gather the information. I've been reading a bunch of reports from what everybody said, and to this point, I don't know what's true and what's not. So I just -- I have certain information, and I just need to let the legal process go through its course. Right now nobody's been charged. I think there's a lot of people looking into it, and I need to get a little bit more accurate information on that and see where it goes.
Q. How many of these guys that you got late commitments from were you recruiting through the whole process, or did some of them pop up last minute?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, most of them we had a good fix on. So most of the guys, we knew about or our coaches have been in contact and following up and staying on them and things like that.
Q. Some of the fans might be surprised with some of the guys. Were you surprised with any of the commitments?
COACH STOOPS: I don't know about surprised. I was pleased with some things down the stretch. I'd be lying if I told you I was going to walk in here this morning and knew exactly how this was going to play out. You never take anything for granted. So I was pleased with some of the way we closed on some guys.
Q. A guy like Alvonte Bell, who committed to Kentucky, he didn't put up the best numbers in junior college. What did you see from him?
COACH STOOPS: The more quiet, the better. I didn't want anybody to know about him. We didn't talk about him. None of y'all knew about him. We didn't say a word about him, and that's the way I liked it.
He's a very good football player, very explosive. Our coaches have gone there and watched him practice and been around him. We feel like he's got a very bright future.
Q. What do each of the four early enrollees give you now that they're here on campus?
COACH STOOPS: Those guys have been very solid. They've been very good football players. Our strength and conditioning coaches have been very impressed with those guys. Physically, they're what you want. And with the four high school guys and the two transfers, all six of those guys have been nothing but good for our team. They're physically what you want. Mentally, they've been doing a great job. So it's been very good to have those guys on campus.
Again, all of our coaches that have been around those guys have been very impressed with them, both athletically and how mature they are.
Q. Players decommitting from the school. What's your stance on late in the process, a guy that's been committed to you for a long time, saying there's not room now or we want you to wait and come next year?
COACH STOOPS: I think you're probably going to see more and more of that. It's not something I'm comfortable with. I think y'all -- you probably know enough about me and how I try to be very fair and very direct. So for me, it's not something I'm very comfortable with because relationships are very important to me, and as I go and recruit and talk to a prospect and talk to their parents and give them my word that I'm going to take care of them, that's something very hard for me to do.
So when I go and say I'm going to take care of them and treat them exactly how I want my son to be treated, that's not how I want my son to be treated. So I don't know how I could say that and then do it. That's just me.
Q. What would you say to the Big Blue nation about the way things happened, [no microphone] how recruiting impacts you right now? What would you say to those people?
COACH STOOPS: Well, I'd tell them that we're fishing in the right waters. I think we're going after the right guys. So I think our staff has done a nice job of targeting and evaluating some very good players, and early on, sometimes when we go and target these guys and recruit them and sometimes get a commitment and a year later they blow up, I find -- I feel like the staff deserves some good credit for that because I feel like we're working extremely hard. We already worked hard on '16 (2016 recruiting class). We've been at it for months, but in particular, really zeroed in on it again this week and moving forward on 16.
But I feel like our staff does a nice job. We work very hard on identifying the right talent, and then we go after them. I told you from day one that we're going to compete and we're going to battle with the very best teams in the country, and we're going to win some, and we're going to lose some.
Q. Do you think the transfer players from Nerbaska will be able to play this fall?
COACH STOOPS: I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on it at that time. We'll submit the paperwork and the appeals and see if we can get him cleared to play. I have no idea. Probably wouldn't be right for me to guess on that.
Q. What do you think of the tight ends in terms of pass catchers? How much did you target C.J. (Conrad) for that?
COACH STOOPS: I think it was very important for us to target C.J. and to land him. He's a guy that we feel like can be a complete tight end. He certainly can run and catch, and you see him physically getting better already since he got on campus. I want to say he's gained the neighborhood of ten pounds already and is getting more physical. So it was very important for us to get a tight end, and we need to continue to recruit and develop tight ends.
Q. Mark, what are your expectations for (in-state signees) Eli Brown and Mason Wolfe?
COACH STOOPS: I think they are two very good football players, it was very important for us to get those guys, Mason and Eli. There's a good chance that they'll be redshirted, but talent-wise and size and everything, they're exactly what we're looking for, with the exception of Eli, of course, getting a little more physical, but he'll do that with no problem. He can run and change direction. He's very explosive and very talented. We're happy to have them.
Q. Mark, now that you have a recruiting class that's this strong, can you give us a feel as to where you think this program is at just from a physical point of view?
COACH STOOPS: I think we're much closer to where we want to be. I was commenting on one of the shows that we had here today about that as far as where do we go from here? So it's very exciting to wrap up this class. Everybody asks me all the time, what do I feel about this? We put a lot of hard work, and it's good to get it wrapped up. It's good to introduce them to our fan base and to the media and talk about these guys publicly, which is nice.
But what's really encouraging is to get back with our team and develop our team. Our guys have been working since we've been on the road, since we've been back after the break. Coaches have been on the road traveling and recruiting and hosting weekends and all that stuff, and our team has been busting our tail in here with our strength and conditioning team. The nice thing is we've been back on campus. When we were back on Fridays or this week, walking around the weight room and walking around the complex and seeing our guys, physically, it's much closer to what we want to look like.
So we feel very encouraged about where we're at and where we're headed. I think it's going to be a fun group to coach. They are anxious, and we are anxious to get with them and to have a very tough, demanding winter to continue to build the toughness that we need in this program.
So I think I feel very good about where we're headed.
Q. Mark, you guys have sold a vision really for the last three years to prospects coming in here, what this place can be. Is it important going into a fourth recruit class and a third season, to start showing some results?
COACH STOOPS: You're ready to turn it up already? Well, why not? It's important. You know that. I'll answer the question the same way, whether it's year one, year two, or year three, it's always important to go out and compete at a high level. It's important to win. That's always going to be the case.
I think, as I just answered, I think we're getting closer and closer to where we want to be. I know we're making strides, and we're going to continue to put our head down and go to work and get better.
Q. Re: Kengera Daniel
COACH STOOPS: I think K.G. is a guy that, much like a lot of these guys that I talked about is what you're looking for. First of all, he's a high character guy. He's got great size, great length. He's an unbelievable student. So he's the type of guy you're looking for in your program.
Q. Freshman offensive lineman, but having a guy here --
COACH STOOPS: George?
Q. Yes. Getting him physically ready to play spring ball. Is he one you looked at that you hoped could help you early?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah. George Asafo-Adjei is a guy who physically has everything you want. He's extremely mature and works extremely hard. You just look at him, you walk around the building and look at him, he looks as good or better than anybody we have on our team, and he's been here just a couple of weeks. So I think it's very important to have him here in the spring, and he will definitely help us, and he's definitely the type of inside physical presence that we've been looking for.
And the other guys, our other guys are getting better, as we know, but certainly it's good to have George here.
Q. re: Jordan Jones
COACH STOOPS: We'll see. We'll see how he does in the winter and how he does in the spring practices, but he's a guy that initially you would think that because physically he needs to mature a little bit and put on a little bit of strength and a little bit of weight. But talent-wise, he has everything you're looking for.
Q. Re: linebackers recruited last year
COACH STOOPS: It's important. I feel like Ryan (Flannigan) really played well at the end of the year. So he'll help us. And Josh (Forrest), obviously, as we talked about all through the fall, really showed some flashes of doing some really good things, but we need to constantly develop depth, especially at the outside linebacker position as well. So Denzil (Ware) is a guy we're very high on coming off redshirt that can really help us and hopefully be the body type and explosive like Bud (Dupree) was. Obviously, he won't be as seasoned as Bud, but a very talented guy.
Q. Re: new assistant coach
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I have. It's official with Andy Buh. I think Tony is going to give you a release. We just got some clearance today or got it official.
Q. Will he have the same responsibility? What will his role be?
COACH STOOPS: It will not be the same responsibilities, no. He will work with outside backers. I'm not giving him the special teams coordinator title because I want to give some of our other staff some of those responsibilities and not put it all on one guy. So Andy will coach on the defensive side of the ball. He will coach the outside linebackers. So Derrick Ansley will coach the whole secondary with me helping Derrick.
Q. And special teams is going to be a group effort?
COACH STOOPS: Special teams will be a group effort. Andy will be in charge of the kickoff and punt team, and some of the other units that I'm still working with some of the offensive staff. But there will be nobody with the title of special teams coordinator.
And I'm doing that because I believe in a lot of the coaches that I have on staff to handle the special teams, and I'm also doing it because I wanted to relieve some of that pressure of that person with all that work to do and to help get back in the defensive room and to help Coach Eliot and myself and just get another mind in there with Coach Ansley and Coach Brumbaugh.
The way -- you see it. Just do the math and look at all the teams we compete against, and things are difficult. There's offense that's are very complex, and there's a lot of good coaching. It was a position that I really was looking for a specific skill set in that hire, and I wanted somebody to bring some more experience and give us some help in the defensive room.
Q. With where your entire roster is at, do you anticipate redshirting maybe more of these guys this year?
COACH STOOPS: I don't know. Last year we were able to redshirt 16 of them, and I was very happy to do that. We're going to be very happy as we move forward. It's always a great balancing act right there because you hate to burn somebody's year and not use them as much as you'd like. So I still prefer to redshirt guys if you can. I think in the long run of your program, it's really going to help you.
So I feel really good about the 16 guys coming off of redshirt. I think they're all going to help us. So we'll see how many in this class we're going to redshirt.
Q. Does this mean you're going to be a little more hands on with the defensive backs?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, it does. I need to get in there. Working into year three, much more comfortable with just day-to-day operation and all the things. If I could just get Tony to relieve me a little bit and give me a little time in season. No, I think it's important for me to get more involved. I feel very good about where we're head the in the leadership of the defense with Coach Eliot I have total, 100 percent confidence in what's going on there and what's going on with Shannon (Dawson) on the offensive side of the ball. I feel very great about our coaches.
I just, for myself, it's just good for me, and it's good for our team to be involved.
There's a lot of things to look at as you work with your staff, and I've always coached the full secondary, and there's both good and bad to that. So I think the skill that you're looking for with breaking down safeties and breaking down corners, it's good to have two of them sometimes, and sometimes it's good to have one voice, but it's an awful lot of work. So I'll be in there to help with Derrick. That will be a lot for him, a lot for anybody, because it's a big group. When you get into nickel and dime situations, you're talking about coaching five and six guys.
But last year Coach Brumbaugh had a lot on his plate as well because, with certain packages, he had quite a few of those guys up there as well.
Q. Does that also sort of signify that you feel more comfortable to take the training wheels off of D.J. and say do this --
COACH STOOPS: D.J. has been in charge of that. He and I have always been on the same page philosophically. That doesn't mean we always have all the answers because things are very difficult. You've heard me talk about it time and time again. Sometimes when you're not as talented as you want to be, sometimes the first year you start throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks. The second year we got much better at who we're going to be and who we want to be, and I feel very good about the direction we're headed right now. Then it's all a matter of being coached, and that's why you need a bunch of bodies on the field to execute the things you want to do.
So we went through a transition, both with myself and Coach Eliot with some of the things we wanted to evolve to. I feel very good about where we're getting to and who -- exactly who we are. And I think Coach Eliot's done a great job of organizing that and putting that package together, and it will help us be very clear on what we're going to do as we move forward.
Q. Re: cost of attendance
COACH STOOPS: It did come up and certainly was something I addressed each time in the homes and things like that. As you can imagine, nothing but smiles there from the prospects because they're coming into it at a very good time.
Q. I know you're excited about the guys you do have, but take us back to Damien Harris' decision going into it and how you felt after he made his choice.
COACH STOOPS: Very happy for Damien. Obviously, wish he was here, but wish him the best of luck. I really enjoyed getting to know Damien and his family. He's a quality young man and a great football player, and he'll have a great future.
We were disappointed, but we moved on very quickly and went back to work. So it's part of it. I know this, just like I said many times, that I feel very good about the work that we put in to show Damien how important he was to us, and sometimes you're going to win some of those and you're going to lose some of those. It's part of the business.
But I felt like our staff and every legal time I was allowed to be in the school, I was in there. Every legal time one of our coaches were allowed to be in there, we were all in there for countless hours. We tried as hard as we could.
Q. Re: eligibility of transfers from Nebraska.
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, somebody asked me that earlier. I don't know if it's appropriate to talk about whether they'll be cleared to play or not because I don't know. We'll file an appeal and send that to them and see how it goes.
Q. Re: assignment of recruiting territories.
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, we do. We're shuffling some right now, but we'll restructure some things, some territory.
Q. It's too soon to tell?
COACH STOOPS: I don't want to get into that right now. You'll put me on the spot, and I'll be wrong.
Q. Recruiting the physical corner or a safety, does this class fit that mold?
COACH STOOPS: They definitely do. This secondary group is very versatile. You hear me use that word a lot, but it's true. With all the different packages, all the things you have to do. The bottom line is you've got to be a very good football player. The guys that could jump in and play corner, play nickel, play dime, even play a little safety, those are the guys you want, and I feel like this group is a lot like that, very rangy, very athletic, and very versatile.
Q. Re: did UK recruit taller players in the secondary because he saw that in UK's opponents?
COACH STOOPS: I'm sure they did. I didn't look at it that way. I've coached the secondary my whole life. So I know what we're looking for, but, no, it is. I don't know, to answer your question. I didn't notice it. But I know there's very good football players in this league, and that's what we're looking for. So I feel like, once again, I just love the range of this group. Very tall, lengthy guys that can run and change direction. So I feel good about that.
Q. Even with the defections, I think the recruiting rankings it's the fourth best class Kentucky's had in a dozen or so years. Do you like that you've got this program going but fans here might be grumbling over a class that you feel really good about because the expectation has been raised?
COACH STOOPS: Sure. I'm not worried about that and the expectations, you know that. We're going to recruit the very best players we can, and we're not afraid to compete. We're certainly not going to lay off anybody because some other schools are recruiting them.
Once again, we feel very good about this group, and I want to concentrate on the victories that we have in this group because there's a lot of guys in here that maybe -- I don't know who or whatever. I don't read all that. You may know that better than me, but I know there's a lot of guys in this group that we had to fight awfully hard to keep against some very good teams. So I'm very proud to have these guys come and join our program.
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