Did UK unearth a potential gem with latest 2017 DL commitment?
Based upon the commitment list for Kentucky’s 2017 class, head coach Mark Stoops had a clear plan heading into this cycle: Address the defensive line.
UK received a commitment Monday from Florida DL Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald. Hailing from Victory Christian Academy in Lakeland, Abadi-Fitzgerald chose the Wildcats over offers from Florida, UCF, Rutgers, USF, and FIU.
— abule abadi (@abizzle42) January 31, 2017
Abadi-Fitzgerald’s commitment gives Kentucky seven defensive line pledges in this class. One can never have enough depth along the defensive front — particularly with the run-heavy, physical offenses the Wildcats square off against in the SEC on a routine basis.
Abadi-Fitzgerald is certainly a raw prospect. He likely will need a redshirt year to sharpen his skills from a technical standpoint. With that said, he has two things one cannot teach: Size and athleticism.
According to KentuckySports, the 6-foot-7, 250-pound defensive end came to the United States in middle school from Nigeria. He first played football as a high school freshman — before stopping for his sophomore and junior seasons in order to focus on basketball.
However, he decided to then come back and play football as a senior.
If you’re going to take a gamble on a prospect, these are the two main characteristics you look for. Couple that with the fact Abadi-Fitzgerald plays on the defensive line, and it’s a no-brainer.
It’s also worth pointing out that Kentucky was able to beat out SEC East foe Florida for his services.
This commitment certainly qualifies as a feather in Stoops’ cap.