"Kentucky definitely has a chance to enter my top five," said Gaines, who recently listed Alabama, Michigan State, Auburn, Florida State and Nebraska as his leaders. "Their football program is on the rise, and the fan base is fanatic. I like that a lot."
Gaines (5-11, 175) has a connection to another UK target.
"I'm really close to Marcus Walker," he said of the one-time Wildcat commitment who has recently narrowed his list to UK, Michigan State and Arkansas. "We've talked in the past about playing together in college. We are very close friends and Coach (Chad) Scott at UK is handling both of our recruitments.
"If Kentucky were to land my boy Marcus Walker, they would most definitely get one of my official visits."
Gaines said he'd like to take some official visits in the fall before breaking down his leaders any further. He does not have a hard timetable for a decision, but thinks it could be sometime in September.
Asked what the key factors will be in his ultimate decision, Gaines cited playing time and "a school that feels like home."
As a junior, Gaines recorded 75 tackles (51 solo) with one forced fumble and one interception. He also had 728 all-purpose yards in splitting time at quarterback, running back and wide receiver.