The 2011 recruiting is pretty close to being finalized with the Cats having 14 verbal commitments. As one recruit told me, the staff expects to sign 18-20 players for the class. Considering the Cats want to sign two more offensive lineman, that would leave roughly two to four more scholarships for other positions. Joker mentioned last week the staff is starting to pull back offers as they want to have a few spots available for key players. Here is my positional breakdown for the class along with the key names to remember. While there are other recruits who hold offers, these are the most likely candidates to choose UK based on interviews and discussions. We’ll cover defense tomorrow.
The Cats currently have commitments from Max Smith and Theltus Cobbins. Smith projects as a quarterback at the next level and will enroll in December. Cobbins will compete at quarterback, but could switch to another position if he doesn’t progress like the staff hopes. I can’t imagine the Cats taking another quarterback in this class unless they can sign either DaMarcus Smith or Shamier Jeffery. Smith is currently committed to Louisville and Jeffery is still uncommitted, but being recruited by a ton of other SEC programs.
This is one area where the Cats can be picky for 2011. In last year’s class, the staff managed to sign Raymond Sanders, Miles Simpson and Brandon Gainer. There have been some rumors already that suggest Simpson will be moved to linebacker; however it hasn’t been made official yet. The staff stated Simpson would be a running back at UK on signing day last year. The only uncommitted recruit the Cats have extended an offer to is Ricky Lunford. The Cats are still pursuing Jerrell Moore who is committed to Louisville and Brandon Ford (Juco) has taken a visit to Lexington over the summer. Two other names to watch are Brandon Wilds and Devin Foster. Wilds camped at UK this summer and Foster was in attendance at the spring game. Neither holds an offer at this point, but could be options for the staff.
The Cats failed to sign a receiver in last year’s class, but have come out of the gates strong for 2011. The Cats currently have commitments Darien Thomas, Josh Forrest and Antonio Cannon. Some people feel Thomas could play Safety at the next level and Forrest has been rumored to play TE. However, based on interviews, all three will start out at receiver. Unless the Cats are able to add Collins Moore, Christian Jones or Shamier Jeffery, the odds of them signing another receiver are unlikely.
Joker likes to sign Tight End type bodies as he feels the player becomes more versatile for the program. The Cats currently have commitments from Jon Davis and Terrell Mitchell. While Davis could play multiple positions, Mitchell will be a tight end at the next level. Davis wants to play offense and UK will give him that opportunity. However, most feel Davis has the potential to be an All-SEC type linebacker due to his size and speed. The Cats have been evaluating Mitchell Henry and Mark Wathen as possible tight ends. Neither holds an offer at this point, but both could play other positions as well.
The Cats signed Tim McAdoo in the 2010 class, but most don’t expect him to qualify. The Cats have one commitment from Darrian Miller and plan to sign two more offensive line targets. The most likely candidates are Nick Martin, Zach West, Cody Robinson and Ray Ball. Two other names to watch are Zack Templin and James Lewis. Templin doesn’t have an offer from the Cats yet, but attended camp and many feel an offer could come at some point. Lewis committed to Vanderbilt over UK and others. With the coaching change at Vandy, the Cats could make another run at Lewis.