LEXINGTON, Ky. — All seven of Kentucky’s projected early enrollees have indeed arrived on campus, the school announced Friday morning.
Here’s a briefing on each player from the 2017 class who will get a head start with spring practice.
The pro-style quarterback from Akron, Ohio, is Kentucky’s top-ranked early enrollee and the 5th-ranked player in the Cats’ 2017 class.
Clark was originally committed to Ohio State and the decision was serious enough to lead him to get a tattoo of the school’s scarlet block “O.” But tight ends coach Vince Marrow never stopped recruiting Clark and it paid off in a big way as he flipped to Kentucky in late October.
The 6-foot-4, 223-pound quarterback is built similarly to quarterback Drew Barker, and his skill set could be reminiscent of the former starter. Clark likely will redshirt in 2017, as he’ll at least be behind Stephen Johnson, Barker and Gunnar Hoak on the depth chart.
What Mark Stoops says: “Danny is an exceptional leader, competitor and winner, having led his team to two state championships.”
Koback is the lone running back in Kentucky’s 2017 class. The 5-foot-11, 191-pound back is the No. 9 prospect in the incoming class and another Ohio recruit pulled in by Marrow.
The Wildcats’ backfield is a little more open with Boom Williams’ departure to the NFL draft. Koback will look to be in the mix with Benny Snell, A.J. Rose and Sihiem King.
Koback broke his leg in a high school game in September and said he wouldn’t begin running until he got to Lexington so the medical and training staff could monitor him. There’s no word on what his availability will be during spring football.
What Mark Stoops says: “Bryant is a great kid and a home run threat on the field. He is an electric runner, with excellent vision and top-end speed.”
Thomas is the 11th-ranked incoming prospect and second-best receiver of Kentucky’s class behind JaVonte Richardson. Thomas, a Hollywood, Fla., native, is one of seven Florida commitments in the 2017 class.
Thomas committed in July and chose Kentucky over Vanderbilt. He’ll be fighting for a spot in a deep group of returning receivers including Garrett Johnson, Dorian Baker, Tavin Richardson, Blake Bone and Kayaune Ross.
What Mark Stoops says: “Clevan is an exciting wide receiver, an extremely tough competitor who has shown the athletic ability to play multiple positions. His father was a great player at Florida State and I see a lot of the same qualities in Clevan.”
Johnson is one of two junior college commitments in the class, and while listed as a safety, he could slide over to corner to begin his Kentucky career.
From Garden City Community College in Kansas, Johnson was the No. 70 JUCO prospect in the class and fourth at his position. He could bring immediate depth behind starting cornerback duo Chris Westry and Derrick Baity.
Johnson, at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, fits the mold of the big corners Stoops has come to like. The Gary, Ind., native picked Kentucky over Georgia, West Virginia and Memphis.
What Mark Stoops says: “We’re very excited to add Lonnie. He has great size and athleticism, with the versatility to play multiple positions.”
There’s a lack of linebackers in Kentucky’s incoming class, as Davis is the only one listed among the 22 commits. It would make sense for Stoops and Co. to make a push at another before National Signing Day, but for now the pressure is on Davis.
The Ludowici, Ga., native has been committed to Kentucky since March. He held offers from Louisville, Georgia Tech and Purdue. Davis is listed at 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds. It’s unlikely he’ll enter the rotation in 2017, but a redshirt year could have him ready to go after that.
What Mark Stoops says: “Jamin is a prototype will (weakside) linebacker, a very athletic player with great length. He is an exceptional person and leader.”
Wood, from down the road at Lexington’s Lafayette High School, is one of the more interesting commitments in the class. Wood was a dynamic high school quarterback, but it was unclear if he’d be able to play the position at the college level.
That’s no longer a question as the Cats plan to give him a shot. He doesn’t fit the pro-style system offensive coordinator Eddie Gran has set up, but his strengths could be well used in the wildcat formation.
Wood is the 4th-ranked prospect from the state and he’s surely doing his best to flip high school teammate Jedrick Wills from Alabama to Kentucky.
What Mark Stoops says: “Both of the quarterbacks in this class have similar qualities – Walker is an exceptional leader, competitor and winner. He’s a dual-threat quarterback who can be the most dangerous when a play breaks down.”
Dort is one of four cornerbacks in the 2017 class including Johnson if he does indeed slide over from safety. Dort, a 3-star prospect from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is another Gran-led commitment from the Sunshine State.
Dort is a bit smaller than other Kentucky corners on the roster at 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds. He chose Kentucky over Cincinnati.
What Mark Stoops says: “Cedric is a great cover corner. I’ve been familiar with that school for a long time and Cedric comes here from a winning program.”