Kentucky has added a 17th verbal commitment for the 2002 football recruiting class.
Mike Aitcheson, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound lineman from Miami's Killian Senior High School, committed to the Cats over the weekend. A first-team all-county selection and third-team all-state honoree, he picked UK over N.C. State, Iowa, West Virginia, Rutgers and Syracuse.
"I felt like it was a good fit, I liked all the coaches and facilities there, and I really liked the idea of playing in the SEC," Aitcheson said. "That was really important to me. I wanted to play in the best conference."
Aitcheson played both offensive tackle and defensive end for Killian. He was recruited by most schools to play defense, but UK's need for depth on the offensive line factored into his decision.
"Coach Morriss played offensive line in the NFL for 15 years. Knowing he would be my position coach made me feel good," said Aitcheson, who is noted for his excellent footwork and technique. He has been timed at sub-5.0 in the 40.
Kentucky now has four offensive linemen committed for 2002: Joe Brady (Beechwood), Hayden Lane (Snellville, Ga.), Travis Slaydon (Harlingen, Tex.) and Aitcheson. Johnson Central's Paul Webb may also be evaluated on both sides of the ball, although he was primarily recruited as a defensive lineman.
The Cats have 18 players currently committed with 16 scholarships for 2002 and one from 2001 available. Kamaal Ahmad, a juco linebacker from Oklahoma, signed as the holdover from 2001. The team will continue to recruit despite reaching its limit for this year. Several players reportedly have not yet achieved academic eligibility.