Monday, June 14, 2010

2011 Recruiting Outlook

As the UK coaching staff continues to pursue players for the 2011 class, many people are curious how the scholarship situation will work out. Let’s face it, the Cats are projected to have a smaller than usual class in 2011. Here are a couple of points to make before trying to figure things out.

First, the Cats will graduate 10 seniors after this upcoming season. Second, there are some juniors who have played very little who will likely graduate and free up a scholarship or two. Will Fidler is a good example of someone who graduated on time and decided to pass up their final football season due to a redshirt season. Third, there is always some attrition. Some leave for family reasons, health concerns, grades, etc. This past year both Eric Adeyemi and Kyrus Lanxter were examples of players who left the program for various reasons. Remember, the numbers always work out.

With that said, here’s where the Cats currently stand for the 2011 class. The staff has received commitments from nine players. Depending who you listen to, Max Smith would make number ten. Because Smith graduated in 2010, it appears he would be a grey shirt for 2010 and not count against the 2011 class. Either way, he should be on scholarship in 2011 so it’s one more scholarship that has to be taken into consideration.

Everyone knew the offensive line, defensive line, wide receiver and quarterback positions were priorities in the next class. The Cats have addressed some of their needs already, but still have work to do. Below are the current commitments:

1. Jon Davis (TE/ATH)
2. Darrian Miller (OL)
3. Glen Faulkner (DB)
4. Darien Thomas (WR/ATH)
5. Josh Forrest (TE/WR)
6. Theltus Cobbins (QB)
7. Antonio Cannon (WR)
8. Clint Tucker (DL)
9. Terrell Mitchell (TE)

Based on what we know, the Cats still need to sign at least one more offensive line recruit. I’ve been told by recruits the staff wants to sign three in the next class. The staff will need to sign at least one more interior defensive lineman and potentially another receiver. Both Darien Thomas and Josh Forrest could play other positions at the next level. For argument sakes, let’s assume with Max Smith and Theltus Cobbins commitments the Cats don’t take another quarterback. The Cats still need to address linebackers, defensive ends, running backs, and secondary players in next year’s class. I continue to hear the Cats could sign 17-20 recruits in the next class.

The Cats will also have to factor in transfers for 2011. Terrell Combs will go on scholarship next year and I have received conflicting stories on Ryan Wallace’s scholarship situation. Any player that attends prep school and decides to sign with UK again will count toward the 2011 class or any grey shirts from 2010 will impact the number of available scholarships. We should know more by the end of summer on the signees not qualifying or using a grey shirt. Like I said at the beginning, THE NUMBERS ALWAYS WORK OUT!

Let’s assume the Cats can take ten more commitments in the 2011 class. In addition to the current commits, who else would you like to see the Cats sign come February?


  1. Yeah, I know, I am anonymous on here, so it is unfair to say what I have been saying all along, but, that having been said (insert smiley face)my opinion has not chnaged: We need an absolute MINIMUM of 2 more OL, and i would like to see 3 more. of course, they cannot be just big bodies -- I would like to see us sign AT LEAST 3 OL who can really play. We have one now and appear to be in good with a couple of others.

    After that, I would turn my attention to the interior of the DL. Again, we have one, but i would like to see at least 2 and probably 3.

    I think it would not kill us to skip DE and LB this year -- excpet for Mr Dawson, of course.

    I am concerned about TOO MANY TE-types. We already have a bit of a potential logjam at that position and that does not even include the incoming freshman Smith, Robinson and a couple of other frosh. Now, we have commits from 3 more TEs, although admittedly, a couple fo them could switch positions.

    I would take no more than 1 RB. And, if we get a REALLY GOOD WR, that would be OK, but other than that I do not see WR as a position that needs to be addressed in THIS class.

    In short, if I were to sum up my own post, I would take all the QUALITY OL and DT I could find, and beyond that, just the best players available, regardless of position.

  2. Wow, this is going to be hard, but I'll give it a shot. I think we may end up with 22-24 guys in this class, but I'll keep it as close to 20 as I can. Here's what I'd like to see:


    Well, counting Max Smith, that would put our class at 24 guys. Guess I couldn't keep it at 20 after all. If UK could land all of those guys, that would make for an unbelievable class.

  3. It is being reported on a twitter that Idomwonyi is leaving, he isn't on the depth chart so that makes sense to me.

  4. Great job Aaron and commenters--by far the best UK football site out there!

  5. Nice assessment, Aaron. You make some very interesting points, and I agree with your conclusions.

    Earlier this month, I took a stab at projecting Joker's 2011 signing class. Basically, my thoughts are similar to yours. See "Projecting UK's 2011 football recruiting class"....

    As you point out, 10 senior UK scholarship players are scheduled to graduate a year from now. That's a small senior class, but I believe roster attrition will unfold pretty much as you have suggested above and allow Joker to sign more prospects.

    I believe Jon Davis will be developed as a "Sam" LB, and Theltus Cobbins as a DB. It remains to be seen where the coaching staff will develop Darien Thomas, but I am listing him as a WR for now.

    I am not yet convinced Terrell Mitchell will be a member of this class when the rubber hits the road.

    We won't know which class Max Smith is in for accounting purposes until we see how many scholarships are actually used by other 2010 prospects who get cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse and enroll at UK in August. Max could redshirt or grayshirt, but he will probably grayshirt due to scholarship numbers.

    I am projecting the priority positions in the 2011 class to include WR, OL, DL, and LB. I disagree with the poster above who suggested light recruitment of LBs this year. IMO, Joker needs 3-4 LBs in this class. I think Joker will sign a 2011 class of 18-20 prospects, something like this:

    (current UK verbals in parentheses)


    QB (0-1)

    RB (0-1)

    WR (3-4) (Antonio Cannon; Darien Thomas)

    TE (1) (Josh Forrest)

    OL (3-4) (Darrian Miller)


    DE (1-2)

    DT (2-4) (Clint Tucker)

    LB (3-4) (Jon Davis)

    CB (1-2) (Theltus Cobbins)

    S (2) (Glen Faulkner)

  6. ^ I Just don't see Jon Davis on defense. He's got way too much potential on the offensive side of the ball, particularly in a TE and H-Back type of role. He'll be a special player on UK's offense that will be utilized in a number of ways.

  7. FWIW, I think Jon Davis starts out on offense. While he looks like someone who could play LB, he told me personally he wants to play on offense. Now once he gets on campus for a while things could be different. He is a very special athlete. Joker just needs to make sure he signs him in February.

  8. I have no doubt Jon Davis could be an effective offensive player, and I understand Jon would like to play on the offensive unit. But positional needs are ultimately going to have an influence on Davis' position. A lot depends on Alex Smith. If Smith comes in this fall and makes the kind of impact at TE that a lot of people believe he will make, that will definitely affect the way UK's staff views the future of the TE position. I realize Smith and Davis would be different types of TEs. There is also the issue of using two Tes simultaneously in some sets. And, of course, Joker will let Davis start out at his favorite position. But in the final analysis, Joker rarely uses two TEs at the same time. Some of that may be due to the quality of players in UK's recent TE rotations, but some of it is schematic. In Joker's offense, a third WR is a lot more useful than a TE, because Joker is the master of using slot receivers effectively (see Randall Cobb).

    Additionally, looking ahead another year or two, "Sam" LB has become one of the primary "need positions" on Joker's defensive recruiting board.

    So I would not bet my house that Davis stays at TE, especially if Smith has an impact freshman season at TE in 2010. Of course, this will have to be determined on the field in practice.

  9. IF Davis is willing to redshirt, Smith would be a junior before Davis saw the field. That would not be so bad.

  10. With respect to Messenger's comments as to the prospective positions of our current verbals, I think he's right but for switching Jon Davis and Forrest. Forrest is the one who more likely winds up at LB, IMO.

  11. Josh Forrest will not be a LB. He doesn't have a LB build, and his hand-eye cordination and leaping ability lend themselves to an offensive skill-position. Ridge Wilson is the tallest LB at UK since Dustin Williams. Josh is almost two inches taller than Ridge. He doesn't fit the LB profile.

    Josh will stay on the offensive unit. If he doesn't fill out, he is a WR. If he fills out, he is a TE.

    As for Jon Davis, I certainly believe he would be a weapon on the offensive unit. He's a little short for a TE, but his athleticism could be exploited as a so-called "H-back". But here's the thing. UK's football program is on the brink of taking the next step in the SEC East Division, but UK's LB rotations just aren't up to SEC standards. This is the biggest current weakness on UK's roster. LBs are the difference between average SEC defenses and great SEC defenses. Currently, the only SEC-caliber LB on UK's roster is Danny Trevathan. I will probably add Qua Huzzie to that list by October but, first, Qua must prove he can keep blockers off his body despite his small stature. In any event, UK's "Sam" LB rotation is already a weak spot on the roster, and Jacob Dufrene will graduate a year from now. IMO, Ridge Wilson will never be more than a situational player, and I think spring drills really framed the problems they are having with Ridge. But Jon Davis has a classic "Sam" LB body type and athletic skill set. No one else on Joker's current recruiting board fills that positional need. (And don't say Lamar Dawson. Lamar is a "Mike" LB all the way, and there is no assurance UK will sign Lamar anyway.)

    UK already has Alex Smith to play TE. If Forrest fills out, he will be another good one. And we might even see Terrell Mitchell at UK, although I'm still not convinced about that.

    At any rate, Jon Davis would solve their problem at "Sam", and that problem must be solved if UK's defensive unit is to step up and get the job done in SEC play. So, JMO, but I think "Sam" will turn out to be Jon's eventual position. If you think of it in terms of needs and available athletes, it's fairly obvious what needs to happen in the "Sam" rotation.

  12. We need Off Linemen & Def Linemen really bad. I have a feeling we won't hold on to Tucker, one of our Def linemen committs. He is a soft verbal.