Florida DE sets official visit with Cats

Joker Phillips and Kentucky have lined up an official visit with a well-regarded defensive end prospect from the Sunshine State. Read more about him in this KentuckyScout feature.

The Wildcats have emerged as one of the leaders for Sarasota (Fla.) Booker defensive end Eric Mayes, who had a chance to speak with the UK staff on Wednesday and has made plans to head north to Lexington.

"I just got off the phone a few minutes ago with one of their coaches, Chuck Smith, and we have set up my official visit," Mayes said. "I'll be coming up there to check things out on Sept. 15.," the weekend the Cats will play in-state rival Western Kentucky.

"I'm looking forward to it," Mayes added. "I've gotten a lot of attention from Kentucky. I like their coaches. I like what they have to say about the way I could come in and make a big difference in their program. They say I could see playing time as a freshman and probably have a good shot at starting as a sophomore. That's pretty good at an SEC school."

Mayes (6-4, 240) had 10 sacks as a junior at Booker. He had five tackles and one sack last weekend in his season opener.

"Kentucky says they really like my quickness off the edge and ability to rush the passer," he said.

"They told me they need some more D-Ends like me."

In addition to UK, Mayes is taking a close look at Illinois, West Virginia, Iowa State and Purdue. He said he was also considering South Florida and Central Florida, but has decided he'd like to leave home for college.

"A new experience and some bigger conferences like the SEC and the Big Ten," he said.

Mayes does not currently list a favorite. He'll wait for his visits to determine that. A trip to Illinois is also on the horizon, likely in October, he said.

Asked what he'll be looking for during his UK visit, Mayes said: "I really want to see the city and the campus, what the surroundings are like, and how comfortable I would be there because it's so far away from home. Also, the vibe from the coaches and players and, of course, the academics."

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