UK Athletics

Juco signees Stephen Johnson II, Naquez Pringle officially join Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky on Tuesday formally announced the signings of junior college players Stephen Johnson II and Naquez Pringle.

The juco duo joins Kash Daniel, Gunnar Hoak, Dakota Holtzclaw, Drake Jackson and Tate Leavitt as the Wildcats' other mid-year enrollees as part of the 2016 class.

UK released full bio information and quotes from Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops on Johnson and Pringle:

Stephen Johnson II, Quarterback, 6-3, 190, Jr.-JC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (Los Osos/Grambling/College of the Desert) – Dual-threat quarterback ...Rated as a three-star recruit and the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the junior college rankings ... Is coming off a dynamic season at the College of the Desert (Calif.) after a pair of seasons at Grambling … Redshirted the 2013 season ... Completed 59 passes for 723 yards and six touchdowns while carrying the ball for 91 yards and another score in the first four games of his redshirt freshman season in 2014 ... Suffered a high ankle sprain midway through his redshirt freshman season at Grambling, which sidelined him for a month ... Transferred to College of the Desert in Palm Desert , Calif., and played for head coach Jack Steptoe ... In 2015, threw for 3,210 yards and rushed for an additional 429, while leading the Southern California Football Association in passing yards per game (321.0) and passing touchdowns (34) ... Added eight rushing scores for the Roadrunners in his impressive sophomore season ... His 2015 total yardage and quarterback rating was first among all quarterbacks in Southern California ...Recruited out of high school by Doug Williams at Grambling.

Steptoe says, “He’s a complete guy. Not only that, he’s a great character kid. Stephen has no problem with mechanics. He’s got a great touch pass. He’s got a great zip pass. ... He has great football intelligence. He’s amazing to watch, man, but he’s a very humble kid. Players elevate to him. It’s real simple: when the going gets tough you want to put the ball in Stephen’s hands” …  Named Mountain American Conference's Offensive Player of the Year after leading College of the Desert to a 6-4 record and share of the league title for the first time in more than a decade... Named to the Region IV All-California first team ... Totaled 1,712 passing yards and 34 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons at Los Osos High School ... Chose Kentucky over offers from Hawaii and Arkansas State.

Personal: Born in Inglewood, Calif. ... Son of Stephen and Paula Johnson … Major is economics.

Coach Stoops on Johnson: “We are extremely excited to add Stephen to our team.  He is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback who has all of the skills to compete in the SEC.  He will be able to learn the system and compete with the other quarterbacks in spring practice and as a junior he brings experience and a wealth of talent to our program.”

*****

Naquez Pringle, Defensive Line, 6-2, 330, Jr.-JC, Georgetown, S.C. (Carvers Bay/Itawamba CC) – Three-star defensive lineman out of Itawamba Community College (Miss.) … Had 21 tackles and a tackle for a loss, adding a fumble recovery in 2015 for Itawamba … Is rated as the 25th best defensive tackle and the 31st best prospect in South Carolina by 247sports … Totaled 19 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one interception and blocked two kicks as a freshman for Itawamba … Coming out of high school, ESPN rated him as a three-star recruit, No. 66 at defensive tackle and the 20th best prospect in the state of South Carolina … As a senior at Carvers Bay, had 66 tackles and six sacks, earning invitations to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and the 2013 Under Armour All-American Combine … Starred on both sides of the ball for Carvers Bay and after an injury to the starting kicker, stepped up and served as the team’s placekicker.

Was coached by Nate Thompson at Carvers Bay who says, “He makes you look good. He works hard. He makes others work hard and makes them believe they can do what they want to do” … Had offers from Clemson and South Carolina out of high school.

Personal: Born in Georgetown, S.C. ... Son of Ben and Nakeya Armstrong … Major is physical education.

Coach Stoops on Pringle: “We are excited to have Naquez in the program. He is an extremely powerful and fundamental interior defensive lineman who was heavily recruited out of high school. We are very pleased he was able to enroll at Kentucky mid-year and that he will be able to work out and participate in spring practice. He will add much-needed depth to our defensive line.”


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