One player who has skyrocketed up Kentucky’s 2018 board is four-star Cleveland Heights defensive end Tyreke Smith, who has picked up a wave of recruiting attention after shifting his focus from one sport to another.
The move from basketball to football is already paying off for Smith with 13 offers already and more expected to come during his junior season. Many of those programs contacted him on September 1, the first day that coaches were able to directly contact junior prospects, including the UK coaching staff.
“I talked to Coach (Vince) Marrow on Wednesday,” Smith said. "We didn't really talk long, he just wants me to come for a game. And he said there's a lot of love down there.”
Smith has taken visits to programs like Ohio State, Stanford, Michigan State, and Penn State over the summer. One of his first offers and a program he really would like to visit is Kentucky. The Wildcats have worked Smith hard to come down for a visit this fall, that looks like it could happen.
“I have a good amount of interest in Kentucky," he said. "That was one of the schools I wanted to visit and hear from. I want to get out there for a game or two. I'm thinking the game against South Carolina (on Sept. 24). Not really a specific reason, just works with my schedule. But I would like to see that matchup.”
In-state powerhouse Ohio State has been perceived to be the clear-cut leader for Smith, and he admits that the Buckeyes have his strongest interest at this time. But he also places the Wildcats as a solid No. 2 behind the Buckeyes.
“Kentucky just reached out to me," he said. "But they are definitely a school I am looking at.”
One factor in Smith’s recruitment that could potentially push Kentucky ahead of the Buckeyes is the growing relationship between Smith and Kentucky tight ends coach Vince Marrow. “I don't really have a good relationship yet because we just started talking to each other, but now that we are allowed to call and text each other, I feel that it's going to get better.”