Cats Illustrated takes a trip down memory lane and recalls the recruitments of several current Gators who were courted by the Wildcats.
The Class of 2014's recruiting cycle was when Kentucky's football program reached the No. 1 spot in the national rankings and stayed there until September. Current Gator backup tight end Moral Stephens was one of the players who Kentucky looked at and courted for a long time. However, at the time there was some question as to whether he could play wide receiver or if he could realistically develop into a tight end. If you're Florida No. 2 tight end then you're doing something right, but there's no guarantee he would be Kentucky's No. 2 right now so this was not a big loss.
Stephens' coach told Cats Illustrated that he enjoyed his trip to Kentucky for a Friday night camp and there was some talk he could make a decision after that trip. But Stephens also kept his coach shielded from the inner workings of his recruitment and never tipped his hand much.
Lemons' recruitment was a roller coaster and that's not an exaggeration. At one point Kentucky was in Lemons' top three and the four-star prospect even announced that he was moving the Wildcats passed Ohio State on his list as his favorite. He would go on to commit to North Carolina before reopening his recruitment and ultimately landing with the Gators.
Here's a blast from the past of a write up from the House of Blue premium forum during Lemons' recruitment:
"I can also add that Lemons is not 'far and away' the running back that Kentucky wants to complement Michael Warren. He would certainly be a take if they can keep him (which is the key), but Bryant Koback's recent explosion in San Antonio puts him near the top of the list there or at safety, and I'm still getting some mixed signals about what position he could play. Some heavy hitters are going to be reaching out to Koback, which was bound to happen after he ran a sub-4.4 second 40-time at 200 pounds in Texas."
Kentucky ultimately parted ways with Warren and brought Koback into the fold.
Forsythe attended West Orange and that's the same high school that produced senior Kentucky wide receiver Garrett Johnson. Kentucky was actually the first SEC school to offer Forsythe and while that meant a lot to him in hindsight it mostly represented a turning point in his recruitment, as it led to more offers coming his way. As late as the spring before his senior season, however, Forsythe's leader was actually Kentucky.
Here's an update from the House of Blue that was posted during Forsythe's recruitment:
"Offensive lineman Stone Forsythe from Florida told me Kentucky is still his leader today, but he followed that up by saying that could change if "certain offers" come in. So take that FWIW. ... Just clarified that Alabama, Auburn, Florida, FSU and OSU would be game changers."
Strongside defensive end
Carter came out of the last recruiting cycle and Kentucky was one of the first schools to get involved with the then-Rivals100 prospect. The Wildcats offered Carter way back during the spring semester of his sophomore year of high school. Kentucky, Clemson, Florida and Miami were Carter's favorites early in his junior season but by the time he was ready to make his choice much later in the process Carter had narrowed his list to Florida and Clemson.