Posting the Grades: By Position

This is an inside look and grading of the 2004 recruiting class.

Overall: As Ron Zook showed last season at this time, nothing cures a bad season like Signing Day. This year it was Rich Brooks' turn to quiet the naysayers with a quality class, as he signed perhaps the most successful recruiting class in recent years for the Wildcats. Most importantly, he opened pipelines in several places across the south that could help keep Kentucky progressing towards the future. He added depth where it was needed, speed at the skill positions, size on the line, and experience on defense. This class, coupled with last year's late signees, showed Cat fans not only that this staff can recruit; but recruit outside the state and beyond. Grade: B+

Quarterbacks: Joe Joe Brown
The highly publicized pursuit of Brohm and Heffner, severely overshadowed how truly special of a pick-up Joe Joe Brown was. Late or not, Brown will provide instant depth and athleticism to a team lacking in both. If he picks up the offense like the coaching staff expects him to, and works on his throwing mechanics, Joe Joe could very well unseat Andre Woodson and start as a red-shirt freshmen in 2005. Grade: B-

Running Backs: Rafael Little, Tony Dixon, and Shomari Moore
The Cats needed to add some fire-power to a group that was severly lacking in it last season. They found that spark in Rafael Little, whom the staff feels could come in and play right away at Kentucky. Tony Dixon and Shomari Moore will get their shot at possibly cracking the depth chart at the running back spot, but are projected to be moved to the secondary. Regardless, the staff addressed the speed issue with the addition of all three. Grade: B

Wide Receivers: Lonnell DeWalt, Scott Mitchell, Richard Lyons, and Aubrey White
Joker Phillips really needed an impact wide receiver and got their man in Lonnell Dewalt. DeWalt has the size, hands, and speed to play as a true freshmen. Don't buy into the rumors of him playing tight end, either. The Cats will create tremendous match-up problems by splitting him out wide next year. The staff also added Richard Lyons, Jr. and Scott Mitchell. Mitchell will have the biggest impact on the wide receiving corps next year that should be much improved from last season. Unlike past junior college additions, Mitchell will not be counted on to be the number one guy as soon as he hits campus. Lyons is the sleeper of the class and will turn a lot of people's heads. He can flat out fly and has the toughness to be All-SEC like Derek Abney. Aubrey White's eligibility has been questioned, but regardless he has got all the tools to be a stud at UK. He has the hops, the speed, and the quickness to be a real problem for defenses. Grade: B+

Tight Ends:Jamir Davis
Cats needed to find an impact player to step up last year and it showed how truly difficult it was when Eric Scott and Kurt Jackson both could not unseat Drobney and Gaffron. This year's addition of Jamir Davis should finally address the weakest part of the football team last season. With the addition of a true Tight End, the Cats will finally have the necessary blocking on the outside, as well as a target for short yardage passing downs. Grade: B+

Offensive Lineman:Kane Hannaford, Aaron Miller, Garry Williams, Micah Jones, and Ernie Pelayo
The Cats needed some beef on the line and they out-worked several good football programs to snag Micah Jones, Ernie Pelayo, and Kane Hannaford. Garry Williams and Aaron Miller also provide much needed athleticism and size on the line, but will need a red-shirt year before making an impact on the depth chart. Overall, the Cats really boosted the size on the line, but with more than enough playing time to offer, the coaching staff still have many question marks to address. How will Pelayo's knee hold-up? Can Micah Jones or Kane Hannaford contribute as a true freshman? I would have liked to see the Cats get another junior college offensive linemen. Grade: C-

Defensive Lineman: Nii Adjei Oninku, B. Jay Parsons, Myron Pryor, and Jason Leger
Oninku was an absolute steal and will perhaps be the gem of the class. He has already been talked up as the type of athlete that will thrive in Archer's system. Adding his ability to fly around as a defensive end, will greatly improve Kentucky's run defense in the future. Parsons certainly has the speed at the end and should cause havoc for offensive linemen as well. The defensive tackles are rather disappointing. The Cats reportedly missed out on Shukree Barfield, which disappointingly would have helped the class. Although Pryor is a great prospect, he needs to qualify and get on campus. As long as that is a question mark, this group won't receive high marks. Grade: C+

Linebackers: Tedd Bullock, Cedric Koger, Gabe Wallace, Johnny Williams, Ben McGrath
An extremely talented group with a lot of question marks. Of the five additions, Johnny Williams is perhaps the most talented. He has the speed to be a play-maker in Archer's system and the staff loves his hard-working mentality. With him alongside Joe Schuler, the future looks bright. Tedd Bullock and Gabe Wallace also fit the profile of outside linebackers whom have the speed to be tremendous prospects for Archer. Ben McGrath, once healthy, is a sleeper who could become a dangerous asset in the future as well. Koger should contribute almost immediately this year. Grade: B-

Defensive Back: Tony Dixon, Trevard Lindley, Shomari Moore, and Jarrell Williams Dixon and Lindley provide immediate speed to a secondary that continues to get faster with each passing class. Dixon's accolades as a running back have been well-documented, but he is well known in Alabama as a guy that can hit like a train. Lindley is the key for this group. If he runs as well as they say he does, for his size, he could be a real asset to the secondary. The gem is Jarrell Williams, whom could very well end up at quarterback. Williams has all the tools. Adding last year's speedster Roger Williams in the fold, and this group could be Kentucky's most lethal for years to come. Grade: A-

Safety: Marcus McClinton, Wesley Woodyard Easy grade here. These are by far the most talented kids in the class as far as defensive recruits are concerned. McClinton will bring the big-hit capability and intimidation Kentucky so desperately needs in the secondary, while Woodyard has the size and speed to be one of the most successful recruits Rich Brooks and his staff has recruited. Grade: A+

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