Hello, there sports fans! It’s me, Shane, your fearless UK sportswriter, coming to you live from the sticks of East Tennessee talking about Kentucky football. Yes, Kentucky Football. In the early summer.
Wait, Shack Daddy, shouldn’t you be talking about Wildcat basketball? UK just put three more Cats in the league in PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, and Keldon Johnson via the first round of the NBA Draft last Thursday night and added Reid Travis to the Atlanta Hawks summer roster. Shouldn’t that take precedence?
Hold up, Coach Shack, shouldn’t we be talking about UK pitcher Zack Thompson being drafted in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals? That’s should be column worth for sure, right?
C’ mon Big Shack! Surely an article could be written about mountain legend and UK star sharpshooter Maci Morris achieving her dream by signing to play professionally in Italy? She’s most worthy don’t you think? You live a stone’s throw from Middlesboro for goodness sake!
Yes, Cat baseball and basketball fans, you are right on all counts. It has been a banner spring once again in Lexington by any measure. Professional leagues from around the world have descended upon the LEX to mine talent that we all have known has existed for many years there. To see our very best talent achieve their dreams is a wonderful thing.
Thankfully, many great writers I know from across BBN have reported some wonderful stories about the topics above. Look them up. You won’t be disappointed.
Today, though, I want to provide some vision and clarity about the current state of affairs at the Big Supermarket (Kroger Field) and the Nutter Center.
Truthfully, this is new ground for UK football by any measure. High ground.
You see, only if you are a blue-blood program like Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State or others does late spring-early summer mean anything. It’s this time of the year that those fans are talking about the lifeblood of their program, recruiting.
Usually, we hear about those elite recruits who have announced their commitments on social media and we as Cat fans think “what would it be like to be in those discussions?”
Well, BBN, wish no more. It’s here.
If you listen to local sports, read online, or follow social media, you have had to see the 2020 recruiting class at UK has been nothing short of scintillating. For the first time ever, it has become the new norm to see three and four-star recruits choose Kentucky as their school. We even have a five-star recruit coming in defensive lineman Justin Rogers. Five. Star.
Take a brief look at the 2020 class:
Justin Rogers, OG 5-star (Top OG in Class)
John Young, OT 4-star (in-state)
Juthan McClain, RB 3-star
Beau Allen, QB 3-star (in-state)
Earnest Sanders, WR 3-star
Torrance Davis, RB 3-star
Izayah Cummings, WR 3-star (in-state)
Andru Phillips, CB 3-star
Jordan Watkins, ATH 3-star (in-state)
Joshua Jones, OT 3-star
D’Eryk Jackson, LB 3-star
This class right now has entered the top 25 in America for 2020. The average rating of the group is 91% of a possible 100%. The fun part is the Cats coaching staff are not finished.
Led by recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow and coach Mark Stoops, UK is in several potential recruits' top schools list. Adding a few more three and four-stars could make this group a special class indeed.
Combine that with a very solid 2019 class coming to Lexington this season, it is really a special time to be a UK football follower.
Talk to you soon!
Shane Shackleford is a regional sportswriter from Speedwell, Tenn. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and A Sea of Blue.