Kentucky football recruiting: 5 takeaways after Day 1 of the Early Signing Period
Kentucky’s 2021 recruiting class won’t be one of the school’s largest or highest ranked. But the Wildcats have succeeded in locking down most of the top players in the state, and they have also reached outside the state to add some under-the-radar standouts at needed positions. Adding the 1st of what will likely be a series of transfers should help give a preview of what the 2021 Wildcats might look like. Here are 5 takeaways from Early Signing Day.
1. Transfers are coming
Whispers around the Kentucky program have quietly indicated that the UK staff expects a handful of significant transfers, and news of 1 has already arrived. One of Kentucky’s top signees was Bowling Green TE prospect Jordan Dingle. Kentucky announced Wednesday morning that his brother, former Georgia Tech LB Justice Dingle, will also become a Wildcat. The elder Dingle was 247sports’ 4th-highest-ranked recruit in Kentucky in 2018. Kentucky apparently plans to use him as an edge rusher.
2. The annual Signing Day surprise has arrived
No matter how public the recruiting process becomes, Kentucky usually finds a name or 2 to add to the board at the relative last minute. The 2020 Early Signing Day addition is Georgia WR Devonte Ross. Ross hasn’t even been evaluated by 247sports. He had committed to Marshall a month ago before receiving last-minute offers from Washington State and Kentucky. The 6-foot, 170-pound Ross is a sleeper-type athlete who could pay big dividends for Kentucky. It wasn’t that many years ago that UK stole Josh Allen from Monmouth shortly before Signing Day.
3. No mo’ Joko?
The other type of Signing Day surprise is the defection, and the only name being mentioned in those circles for Kentucky is JUCO LB Joko Willis. The word around the campfire is that Willis is unlikely to sign now, or even in February, with Kentucky. It’s not the type of situation that will be spelled out in public, but this feels more like a mutual parting of the ways than Willis ditching UK to sign somewhere else. Willis was one of the nation’s top JUCO linebackers, so his recruiting certainly bears watching.
4. The playmakers are coming
Given the issues with the Kentucky offense that brought about the firing of offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and his replacement with L.A. Rams assistant Liam Coen, there was undoubtedly a premium placed on playmakers at receiver in this class. The good news is that the playmakers are coming. The 2 biggest names are in-state speedster Dekel Crowdus and Alabama product Christian Lewis. Crowdus is 1 of 2 4-star signees for Kentucky, and Lewis missed that ranking by literally a couple of spots. Chauncey Magwood is an under-the-radar guy whom many close to the Kentucky program love, and the late addition of Ross can’t hurt.
5. Offensive line standouts
Kentucky’s other big recruiting area was the offensive line, highlighted by in-state 4-star standout Jager Burton, who was the top-ranked player in Kentucky and in UK’s signing class. Burton is the kind of prospect who will be on the field early and often for the Wildcats. Ohio prospects David Wohlabaugh and Paul Rodriguez lack the recruiting fanfare of Burton, but both are big, physical specimens who should plug into Kentucky’s O-line corps in the near future. As Kentucky will graduate a few standouts on the offensive line, it was a good time to load up.