LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky doesn’t have a scholarship player from Louisiana on its roster, but that might change when the full 2019 class signs by February.
Michael Smith was hired in late January as Kentucky’s new receivers coach, and the New Orleans native known for being an ace recruiter in Louisiana during his Arkansas tenure has brought those ties to Kentucky.
At least nine Louisiana prospects in the 2019 class have been offered by Kentucky since Smith’s hiring. Many of them were recruited by Smith while he was on Bret Bielema’s staff at Arkansas.
Several Louisiana prospects were in Lexington last weekend for Kentucky’s junior day, including three teammates from New Orleans Edna Karr High School: 4-star cornerback Devin Bush and 3-star running backs Ahmad Antoine and Ronnie Jackson.
— Coach O (@BigOsworld) February 23, 2018
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU and Louisiana recruiting for SEC Country. He has noticed Kentucky’s presence in a state that it traditionally has avoided.
“Since joining the staff in Lexington, [Smith] has re-connected with several of the same prospects he recruited at Arkansas and has dished out a slew of new offers to some of the top prospects in Louisiana overall,” Spiegelman said. “We will see what transpires from Kentucky’s new assistant hire, but the early visits are already a strong sign.
“Smith did a fantastic job of prying some good talent out of The Boot during his time with Arkansas and looks to replicate that same success with Kentucky.”
In Smith’s five seasons as Arkansas’ receivers coach he landed 14 signees from Louisiana. Only five Louisiana natives were on the Arkansas roster when he arrived.
Walk-on linebacker William Nalty of Metairie, La., is the only Louisiana native listed on Kentucky’s 2018 roster. Kentucky hasn’t signed a Louisiana prospect since Bookie Cobbins in the 2011 class.
2019 Louisiana prospects offered by Kentucky
4-star ATH Christian Harris (Baton Rouge)
4-star CB Devin Bush (New Orleans)
3-star RB Ahmad Antoine (New Orleans)
3-star RB Tyreese Jackson (New Iberia)
3-star CB Donald Clay (New Orleans)
3-star OLB/WR Makiya Tongue (Baton Rouge)
3-star CB Gregory Brooks (Harvey)
3-star QB Travis Mumphrey (Marrero)
3-star RB Ronnie Jackson (New Orleans)