In what was a recruiting tug-of-war, Kentucky had the strongest pull at the end as 4-star linebacker Chris Oats picked the Wildcats over Ohio State.
It once seemed like a lock that Oats would sign with Ohio State, but then the momentum shifted back toward Kentucky when Oats opted out of a late official visit with the Buckeyes. Kentucky was then seen as the favorite, and Oats validated that notion on National Signing Day.
The Cincinnati native is the 22nd-ranked outside linebacker in the 2018 class and the 325th overall prospect, according to the 247Sports composite. Oats is the third-highest ranked prospect in Kentucky’s class behind 4-star offensive/defensive lineman Marquan McCall and tackle Darian Kinnard.
— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) February 7, 2018
He’s from the same high school, Winton Woods, as senior safety Mike Edwards.
Oats’ decision to sign with Kentucky was crucial, especially after 4-star linebacker Xavier Peters — Kentucky’s former No. 1 commit — flipped to Florida State last month.
Kentucky rarely beats Ohio State in a recruiting battle. Oats often referred to Ohio State as his “dream school,” according to a story from The Athletic.
There were initial questions as to whether or not Oats would be a “take” for Ohio State, but then it became clear that he would’ve been.
Oats is the fifth Ohio prospect to sign with Kentucky in 2018. The Wildcats’ class is ranked 36th nationally and 11th in the SEC, according to 247Sports.