What's the deal with Jordan Nevels? Are Kentucky commitments wavering? Who's leaning? Who's not? How important is the weekend of January 7th? Can the Cats finish strong for a second straight year? From Nelson County to Big Pun, we've got it covered. Find it all out in this Holiday edition of the Rumor Mill ...
Let me get this over with. I wrote two stories that have caused a lot of "talk" this past week and would like to explain further on both;
First the story on TC Drake, while fascinating, could be taken as nothing more then an indication of how far UK has come. At one point, the offering of a grayshirt to Drake may have been on the table, but since then it looks to be very much, "up in the air." I reported the news because I found it intriguing to see a prospect such as Drake offered in a program such as Nelson County. I saw it as a testament to the staff's ability to find talent in absurd places. At 6-foot-6, Drake is a beast of a man and although a considerably raw athlete in many respects, could grow into something special for somebody. It would surprise me, however, if his offer was still on the table.
Second, the story on Antoine Brown. The Portage (IN) running back's story was meant for entertainment purposes only and for people to see the side of recruiting that gives it a blackeye. It was not meant for people to put the UK coaching staff on trial. Having been around the game long enough and having been apart of a recruiting process myself, I not only sympathize, but would vouch for anyone on any three of the coaching staff's that parted ways a couple months ago. As a recruited athlete, it's not like these coaches weren't telling Antoine Brown the advantages to committing early and what the privileges of an early verbal meant. You are only kidding yourself if you think the staff did not make Antoine Brown aware that his offer could be taken off the table within seconds.
Okay now on to the Rumor Mill ....
What is up with Kentucky football recruiting and relatives? First, Brandon Logan heads to Michigan - now it appears that EJ Adams is all but done with UK as well. According to our sources, Adams is all but set to commit to South Carolina on his visit. Steve Spurrier has really opened his eyes and might have caused Adams to already pull the trigger to USC in order to secure his spot. The North Gwinnett star currently has a cousin on UK's football team in Eric Scott and his teammate, Ross Bogue, has already committed to Kentucky.
Speaking of Bogue, don't be surprised if Adams convinces the Wildcat committed Tight End to visit USC with him on January 7th. Spurrier's pass-happy offense could land his interest.
What is up with Jordan Nevels? The almost guaranteed Wildcat may have lost his chance at coming in the fall by waiting out the process. It appears now that Nevels is an almost shoe-in for a grayshirt if he decides to commit. The most recent rumor has Nevels taking two visits now in Central Michigan and Western Kentucky.
Former Wildcat target Jason Hill from Atlanta (GA) was previously a North Carolina commitment, but has since opened up his recruitment. It is yet to be seen whether or not the Cats will get a visit from the big fella, whom has an offer from Kentucky and is a teammate of current Wildcat commit James Alexander.
Things are not looking as positive as they did a couple months ago for the three Fresno City College offensive lineman. Despite a tremendous effort by Rich Brooks, that included trips to see each of their families during the first week of the open period, the idea of traveling so far away from home has been an up-hill climb. With Hawaii becoming more involved in the recruiting process as well, the Wildcats have fallen behind. No one will know for sure until a verbal commitment is made.
CJ Davis never made a commitment to UK (see quotes below). Davis told us only hours after he reportedly did, that he would have a decision at the end of the holidays and that right now UK was the school he would go to.
"I haven't committed yet," West Imperial Defensive Lineman, CJ Davis said. "Kentucky's gonna be the school though. I'm gonna commit before the end of the week probably. Check back with me after the holidays and I will probably have already committed."
No reason in getting down on the kid because he chose his words poorly in an interview elsewhere.
Most likely to land a recruiting coordinator job, someday in the future: Murray (KY)'s Tim Masthay. The best friend of Cory Zirbel is rest assuring UK fans, Zirbel will be with him on January 7th.
There is one cornerback in Alabama, whom has been kept pretty quiet for some time, that the Wildcats are strongly pursuing and while the interest was mild at one time, UK has suddenly been added by subtraction and could possibly garner his commitment. Stay tuned ...
January 7th-9th's current official list is not even close to what it will become. The staff is bringing in a decent amount of juniors to kick off the pursuit of 2006.
The Cats lone chance at landing Ballard's Earl Heyman is getting him to officially visit UK on January 7th-9th. The Wildcats need him in the seats to watch his reported "favorite" basketball team play.
Best news coming out of Louisville and this site: Seneca's Gary Williams has turned into a beast, taking his lifting, studying, and eating very seriously. I can only expect the staff to drop their jaws when they see him walk on campus.
Expect Kentucky to lose one or two commitments in the next few weeks. With so many commitments coming in, the staff is not going to shy away from an impact player, which might cause someone else to get "bumped" into a grayshirt. While most kids are receptive, others see it as an insult when asked.
Louisville's not the only school to have to deal with commits scheduling visits to other schools. As many as five current Wildcat commitments have scheduled visits to other places. Leading the way - Christian Johnson, whom will visit three other schools whom have offered him.
Big Pun's Who's Leaning for now:
ATH EJ Adams - South Carolina
DE Quintin Wesley - Mississippi State
DE Earl Heyman - Louisville
DT CJ Davis - Kentucky
DB Jordan Nevels - Kentucky
S Jonathan Casillas - UConn
DE James McKinney - Michigan
RB Brandyn Young - South Carolina
TE Careg Bonner - Louisville
QB Marcus Jones - Texas A&M
Per every family member and Michael Schwindel himself - UK is not recruiting the Hancock County star as a linebacker and is being asked to put on 15 pounds to become an SEC safety, not a 195 pound outside linebacker.
How tremendous of an advantage is it to have good basketball programs? Take a look at UK and UofL. There biggest official visit weekends of the year are surrounded by two of the biggest games of this year's college basketball season. Louisville's biggest weekend was Kentucky and the Wildcats are bringing in as impressive of a list to the Kansas game that could include not one, but possibly two, five star offensive lineman.
Which brings us to the importance of Tubby's Wildcats continuing to schedule top competition. Our current staff is selling kids on coming to the visit on the game as well - something previous staffs refused to do, thinking it would turn off kids into coming to UK, possibly making them think basketball was more important.
This staff sees it as a way to attract more kids to the table. For even if a kid was not totally interested in UK, the chance to watch two top 5 basketball programs battle it out on January 9th might be reason enough for kids to want to come to Lexington.
And as we've talked about it before, kids cannot see opportunity unless it's in front of their faces. If you can find any extra incentive to get young men on campus for an official visit - you do it.
In closing, The X-Mas Wish Commit award goes to Wheeler High School and Marietta (Ga) native, Boyd Coleman. Sorry guys, but while Columbia (SC)'s Mike Davis would be a nice stocking stuffer, the Cats will live without his commitment having quality depth with Tony Dixon and Rafael Little returning. Coleman is a must for UK because depth is a concern at defensive back and Colemon is as dangerous of an athlete on film as I've seen this year and his offer list reflects that. Plus Coleman's got two teammates that he'd love to have go with him.
Have a safe and happy holiday every body!