LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Kentucky received its 20th commitment for the 2002 football recruiting class on Sunday as Louisiana defensive lineman Lamar Mills gave his verbal after visiting Lexington this weekend.
Mills (6-1 1/2, 280, 4.8) recorded 80 tackles and seven sacks this season for Archbishop Rummel High School in Metarie, La., despite missing three games with an ankle injury. He picked the Cats over San Diego State, Memphis and Cincinnati among several other offers.
"The biggest factor for me is I've always wanted to play SEC ball," Mills said. "That's the best of the best, you know. It's also a program that I think it getting things going in the right direction. They have a lot of potential, and I wanted to be part of that."
Mills said the NCAA sanctions levied against Kentucky last week had little influence on his decision-making process.
"They were up front with me and explained what had happened," he said. "The part about the bowl game is disappointing, but it's just one year, and there's no guarantee you're going to be in a bowl anyway.
Mills said the bigger influences were the UK players, coaching staff and campus.
"I had a great time up there, and I loved the people," he said. "My host was Ellery Moore. He was really cool, a great guy. We got to know each other, and talked abot playing the D-line together. I'm looking forward to that.
"The campus and all their facilities were great, too. I was impressed by the practice facilities and stadium there. It just seemed like they had everything I was looking for."
He was joined on his official visit by Mississippi offensive lineman Jared McGowan (6-4, 300), who told Mills that he liked his visit as well, but has not reached a decision yet. He is also considering offers from Mississippi State and Troy State.
Mills, who said his latest max bench press was 355 pounds, projects as a defensive tackle/nose guard for the Cats. But he noted that UK assistant Chris Lancaster also said he could get a look at defensive end due to his footwork and quickness.
He's also a very good student, carrying a 3.3 GPA and is on track for full academic eligibility to play as a freshman.
"That was another big thing for me," Mills said. "They told me if I come in and show I can get the job done, I'll play right away. I'm excited about that."
Mills' brother, Bennie, is a defensive lineman at Florida.