Four Downs: Kentucky Wildcats football recruiting targets who could give class a boost

In this edition of All Wildcats' "Four Downs," we take a look at football prospects who could help take Kentucky's 2017 recruiting class to a new level. The Cats currently have 12 verbal commitments are are expected to sign a smaller class than usual with approximately 18-20 players in it.

1. Jedrick Wills, OL

The four-star Lexington (Ky.) Lafayette standout is considered the best player in the Bluegrass State and may be coming down to yet another head-to-head battle between Mark Stoops at Kentucky and Nick Saban at Alabama. The Wildcats head coach flexed his recruiting muscles two years ago when he kept five-star John Hardin defensive tackle Matt Elam at home instead of heading south to Tuscaloosa, but since that time the Crimson Tide boss has countered by stealing Army All-American running back Damien Harris out of Madison Southern and flipping one-time UK quarterback commitment Mac Jones of Florida. Uncle Mo' is clearly with the Tide right now, but the Cats could get back into strong contention if Wills holds off on an early decision and they have a strong season. Word around Lafayette is that Wills needs to see UK win at least six games this season, and even that may not be enough. The addition of the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Wills would provide a huge boost to the Cats' recruiting class, currently ranked only No. 51 nationally by Scout and featuring no prospects rated higher than three stars.

2. Charles Reeves, TE

Kentucky lost a tight end early in fall camp when former three-star signee Darryl Long elected to transfer. That left the roster a bit thin at the position, although the remaining players have star power in the form of sophomore C.J. Conrad, junior Greg Hart and freshman Justin Rigg. The Cats will certainly be looking to bolster this position with the remaining scholarships available for 2017, and Reeves would be an ideal fit. The four-star prospect from Ohio actually committed to UK early in the process, but re-opened his recruitment heading into the summer. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Reeves is ranked No. 5 at his position nationally by Scout. Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse have also been in the mix.  If new UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran goes as good a job of getting the ball to the tight ends this season as we believe he will, it could help the Cats reclaim Reeves.

3. Thayer Munford, OT

A big man with a perfect big man name. The Cats currently only have one offensive lineman on the commitment board for 2017, the unheralded Austin Dotson out of Belfry. They're not going to be able to sign a five-plus type of O-Line class that you typically strive to compile, but they certainly need more than one. Like Wills, Munford is physically imposing at 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds. Whereas Wills is known more as a "brawler" at this stage, perhaps best suited for right tackle, Munford is an advanced pass protector for his age with good feet, long arms and a nice punch. The Massillon, Ohio, stud is rated the No. 25 offensive tackle nationally by Scout and is being pursued by Alabama, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indiana, and Pittsburgh, among others.

4. Lynn Bowden, ATH

Yet another highly regarded Ohio prospect, Bowden caused a stir when he made an unofficial visit to Lexington in conjunction with UK's July camps. Many analysts believe the 6-foot-1, 190-pound athlete could star at either wide receiver or defensive back. The Cats already have two receiver commitments and three defensive back commitments, but that would not deter the staff from adding Bowden if the playmaker wanted to add his name to the list. He's ranked among Scout's Top 200 national prospects and also carries offers from programs like Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee, West Virginia, Cincinnati and Indiana.

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