Kentucky football: Projecting the Wildcats’ 2017 recruiting class
LEXINGTON, Ky. — National Signing Day is just three weeks away and the final shape of Kentucky’s 2017 recruiting class will soon be formed.
Coach Mark Stoops and his staff have 22 commits but could add more names in the coming weeks. Here is SEC Country‘s look at the class.
*Indicates player is not currently committed to Kentucky’s 2017 class.
Danny Clark, 3-star (Akron, Ohio): Clark flipped from Ohio State in October and is Kentucky’s 5th-ranked commitment. A pro style quarterback, Clark is 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds, fitting the mold of Drew Barker. Tight ends coach Vince Marrow stayed after Clark even after he looked destined for the Buckeyes and it paid off in a big way for the Wildcats. Clark is an early enrollee and played for Archbishop Hoban High in Massillon, Ohio.
Walker Wood, 3-star (Lexington, Ky.): Wood was the first commitment in the class and stayed firm with the Wildcats. Now he might be trying to flip high school teammate Jedrick Wills from Alabama to Kentucky. Wood is an early enrollee.
Bryant Koback, 3-star (Holland, Ohio): Koback is the only running back commit in the class. A spot opened with Boom Williams’ decision to enter the NFL Draft, but Koback will be behind Benny Snell, A.J. Rose and Sihiem King heading into the spring. He’s rehabbing a broken leg. Koback is an early enrollee.
JaVonte Richardson, 4-star (Maple Heights, Ohio): Richardson has long been the No. 1 recruit in Kentucky’s class. A 6-foot-4 target, he has been committed to the ‘Cats since March and will join a deep receiving corps. He is the No. 31 receiver nationally.
*Danny Davis, 4-star (Springfield, Ohio): Davis is one of the top remaining targets for Kentucky and his decision could drag all the way into Feb. 1’s National Signing Day. He would be the second-best prospect in the class behind Richardson. 247Sports’ crystal ball prediction has Kentucky at a 75 percent chance to land Davis. Michigan State is the closest competition.
*Kevaughn Dingle, 3-star (Opa Locka, Fla.): Kentucky could close strong with its receiver class on National Signing Day. Dingle could be the last addition to the 2017 class and he’d be a big one. He de-committed from Miami on Dec. 15. Now, 247Sports gives Kentucky a 71 percent chance to secure his commitment.
Clevan Thomas, 3-star (Hollywood, Fla.): Thomas committed in July and projects as more of a slot target than Richardson. He’ll get a head start as an early enrollee.
Isaiah Epps, 3-star (Jenks, Okla.): There were initial questions if Kentucky was going to offer Epps when it was still in on higher-ranked receivers. School officials confirmed that Epps would indeed be a part of the class. He committed on Dec. 15 and will be the only player on the roster from Oklahoma.
Naasir Watkins, 3-star OT (Olney, Md.): The Wildcats are short on highly ranked offensive lineman but Watkins is tops among the commits. Watkins came in the wave of commits in the weeks following Kentucky’s win against Louisville.
Austin Dotson, 3-star OT (Belfry, Ky.): The tackle from eastern Kentucky has been committed to the ‘Cats since March. He’ll provide serious size at 6-foot-6, 305 pounds.
Sebastien Dolcine, 3-star G (Hollywood, Fla.): Dolcine gave the ‘Cats an early Christmas present when he flipped from Central Florida to Kentucky on Dec. 12. Credit offensive coordinator Eddie Gran for landing another Florida commitment.
Joshua Paschal, 4-star DE (Olney, Md.): Paschal was a key commitment for Kentucky and its best defensive prospect. He’s the 12th-rated strong-side defensive end in the class and, along with Richardson, a top-300 player nationally. Paschal’s December commitment led to a chain of good news for the Wildcats.
Jordan Wright, 3-star DE (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Kentucky’s class is stacked with defensive ends as Wright’s commitment came one week after Paschal’s. A 6-foot-5, 225-pound prospect, Wright is also a pretty good basketball player and could provide a lot of athleticism on the edge.
Phil Hoskins, 3-star DT (Highland Community College, Kans.): Kentucky’s defensive line is the position group in most need of reinforcements. Hoskins, who is from Toledo, Ohio, could be a quick fix up front. He is one of two JUCO prospects in the class.
Alex King, 3-star DE (Mason, Ohio): Add King’s name to the list of potential impact players at the defensive end spot. He’s been committed to Kentucky since March and was another Ohio get for Marrow.
Quinton Bohanna, 3-star DT (Cordova, Tenn.): Bohanna is a clog in the middle at 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds. He picked Kentucky over Louisville and Cincinnati and has been committed since February.
Christopher Whittaker, 3-star DE (Hollywood, Fla.): Another commitment from Florida and another defensive end for Kentucky’s 2017 class. Whittaker, like Dolcine, flipped from Central Florida to Kentucky in December.
Jamin Davis, 3-star (Lincolnton, Ga.): It’s a sparse class for linebackers as Davis is the only commit listed at the position. Stoops and staff might try to secure another linebacker commit for the class. Davis is the No. 61 overall linebacker in the class. He’s an early enrollee.
Yusuf Corker, 3-star CB (Stockbridge, Ga.): Corker was another Christmas present commitment for the Wildcats. He’s the No. 4 commit in the class and a top-40 corner in the country. Kentucky beat out Tennessee and Michigan State to get him.
Lonnie Johnson, 3-star S (Garden City Community College, Kans.): Johnson is the second of Kentucky’s junior college commitments and is expected to slide to corner. He’ll provide immediate depth behind Chris Westry and Derrick Baity.
Michael Nesbitt, 3-star CB (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Nesbitt committed just before the 2016 season got underway and has been firm to Kentucky ever since. He’s the 78th-ranked cornerback in the country.
Cedrick Dort, 3-star CB (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.): Dort picked Kentucky over Cincinnati in August. He’ll provide depth to a strong class of corners. Dort is an early enrollee.
*Lynn Bowden, 4-star (Youngstown, Ohio): Leave it up to a kid from Stoops’ hometown to be Kentucky’s top remaining target. Bowden seems to be a strong lean toward Kentucky and he’d be the top-ranked prospect in the 2017 class. Big Ten schools Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State are the strongest competition. He could play any skill position on offense or find a spot at corner on defense. Bowden is expected to announce on Jan. 25. According to 247Sports, Kentucky at a 74 percent chance to land Bowden.
Tyrell Ajian, 4-star (Mansfield, Ohio): Ajian is the No. 3 prospect in Kentucky’s incoming class. He picked the ‘Cats over Notre Dame. Ajian is expected to find his place in the defensive backfield but it’s unclear if he’ll play corner or safety.
Joshua Ali, 3-star (Hollywood, Fla): Ali projects as a wide receiver for the Wildcats but his position isn’t set. He is another Gran-led Florida commitment. He’s a top-100 player in the Sunshine State.