Lake Wales (Fla.) High School lineman Luke Hiers, rated one of the top centers in the nation, has decided to make his verbal commitment to the Wildcats public on Thursday, although he's had his mind made up for quite some time.
"I decided on Kentucky now because I love everything at UK," said Hiers, who confirmed that he let the coaches know of his intentions last season, but had been waiting to make a return visit to Lexington before finalizing it. He made two trips during the spring, including one for the Blue-White Spring Game, that solidified his choice.
"I love the school, the coaching staff, the fans… just everything," Hiers said. "Everything at Kentucky is going uphill."
Hiers (6-4, 295) is the fifth offensive lineman to commit to UK for 2015, joining Henderson County's Mason Wolfe, Alabama prospect Logan Stenberg, Washington, D.C., prospect Levon Livingston and Larry Wells of Ohio.
Kentucky has some good connections already with Lake Wales High School. Receiver Javess Blue originally played there, and current UK target Marcus Walker – who had originally given a verbal to the Wildcats – is a teammate. Hiers said he's working on getting Walker back on board as a solid commitment.
"My relationships with the coaching staff played a major role," Hiers said. "(UK assistant coach) Chad Scott was my main recruiter, and he was always honest with me on how I would fit in their fast-pace offense and how they needed an athletic center to lead the offensive line. Knowing he was honest and the recruiting pitch really sold me on Kentucky."
Hiers has also formed a strong relationship with UK offensive line coach John Schlarman, offensive coordinator Neal Brown and the rest of the staff.
When I told the staff I was committing today, they were really excited about me coming to join the Big Blue Nation," he said.