Kentucky has long struggled to find a recruiting foothold at the Bluegrass State's top high school program, Louisville Trinity, but that could change with the introduction of Mark Stoops as head coach.
It's been only 10 days since Stoops was named the new Wildcat boss, and he's already getting a warm reception at Trinity, where the UK program has gone almost two decades without landing a scholarship offensive or defensive player.
The Shamrocks, fresh off their third consecutive Class 6A championship, have at least one player who might like to change that trend.
"I haven't heard from coach Stoops yet, but I'm hearing they will be soon," said four-star Trinity running back Dalyn Dawkins. "I would love to meet him. It seems like people are pretty excited about him being there. He's got a great background."
As does UK's newly-introduced offensive coordinator, Neal Brown, who used a system similar to the one Dawkins (5-10, 180, 4.5) has played in with the Shamrocks. He rushed for 1,479 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior in the single-back, spread offense.
"They put up some huge numbers at Texas Tech," Dawkins said of Brown's time spent with the Red Raiders. "I think a lot of that was real similar to what we do here at Trinity. I look forward to talking to him and seeing if I fit what they want to do."
The coaching carousel has had a big impact on Dawkins, who is currently rated the No. 33 running back prospect in the nation by Scout. In addition to UK, several other programs that were recruiting him (Cincinnati, Purdue and Western Kentucky) have also undergone coaching changes.
"It's kind of like starting all over again," he said. "I know coach (Butch) Jones really liked me when he was at Cincinnati. I was kind of leaning toward them earlier. Now he's at Tennessee, so I'm waiting to see if I still fit into his plans. Coach (Willie) Taggart was pretty high on me at Western, and now he's down at South Florida. He says he wants me to come down and visit them."
Dawkins said he has only one official visit set up at this time, Colorado State on Jan. 18. The other four dates remain open, but he's strongly considering Illinois, South Florida and Cincinnati. The last one will be up for grabs if schools like UK or Tennessee make a push.
"I'm completely open right now," he said. "I'm just trying to find the best place for me. It doesn't matter where it is, although I would kind of like to stay closer to home. If that means I need to go away, though, I'll go away."
In addition to Dawkins, the Cats may be trying to make a late push for Trinity standouts James Quick (WR), Jason Hatcher (DE) and Ryan White (CB).
Trinity RB hopes to hear from Cats
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