Where Kentucky stands with the state's top 2019 prospects

Justin Rowland, Publisher
Cats Illustrated

Earlier in the week Cats Illustrated took a closer look at where Kentucky stands with the Top 15 players in the Commonwealth from the 2018 class.

Now we look down the road a little more and explore the Cats' standing with 2019 players.

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Kentucky has verbally offered only three in-state players from the 2018 class. Mark Stoops' staff has already offered six in-state sophomores (2019).

While the 2018 class has 15 players ranked as three-star prospects by Rivals.com, it's the 2019 class that it seems the Wildcats really prize.

Strongside defensive end

0 STARS


Louisville

RR:

Ht: 6'4.0"

Wt: 225.0

Class: 2019

-

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



WHERE KENTUCKY STANDS: There's no doubt that Herron is one of the state's best players. He was one of the better defensive ends that Cats Illustrated saw at Kentucky's summer camps and that was even while he was still relatively raw and needing to continue growing into his thinner physique. But he has good length, range and a really nice first couple of steps. So it's not a surprise that Kentucky's staff values him.

At that summer camp Cats Illustrated spoke with Herron's parents and both seemed to be very supportive of their son regardless of the decision he's ultimately going to choose, whether it's Kentucky or somewhere else. That's normally a net push as a factor with an in-state kid, or maybe even a negative (as many fans would love for parents to push their son to stay close to home), but in the case of an elite Louisville kid like Herron the family's open-mindedness and supportiveness probably helps Kentucky more than it hurts.

Herron is already pretty familiar with the UK program and is only going to visit a lot more over the next couple of years.

All that said, this is a kid with offers from Georgia, Louisville, Michigan, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee and others, so it would be foolish to assume that Kentucky is any more than one good option among many right now for Herron. There's a long fight ahead and Kentucky's play on the field this fall is going to probably be key. Herron will want to see how the defensive line develops under first-year UK assistant coach Derrick LeBlanc.

One potential X-Factor is Herron's relationship with 2018 Trinity athlete Rondale Moore. The two are close and even visited Kentucky with one another the last time they were in Lexington, so what happens with Moore (who's a year older than Herron) could have some kind of impact. Then again it might not.

Offensive tackle

0 STARS


Georgetown

RR:

Ht: 6'4.0"

Wt: 290.0

Class: 2019

-

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



WHERE KENTUCKY STANDS: In some respects Hudson is a lot like current Kentucky freshman tackle Landon Young. They were both offered at roughly the same points in their high school careers. They're both in-state kids who would seemingly have a lot of interest in playing at Kentucky. They're both strong track stars who are familiar with UK.

Then there are differences. Hudson's got a more compact build and maybe not quite as much physical growth potential as Young (but he's a lot bigger compared to Young at the same point). Significantly, Hudson didn't commit right away when Kentucky offered, whereas Young didn't wait around and pledged very early as an in-state high schooler.

It's clear that Hudson has a lot of interest in Kentucky. He visited quite a bit last year and he's already visited a couple of times this year. He's got a good relationship with guys who are already at Kentucky. But it's not a slam dunk because Hudson is taking his time and seems to be waiting to see what comes his way.

Hudson's latest offer is from Rutgers, which seems like an odd offer for a young Kentuckian but makes sense when you consider that Hudson was up that way for the New Balance Nationals Indoor Track Meet. He was able to visit Rutgers and their staff was obviously thrilled with the first impression that he made.

Our early projection would be that Kentucky is the odds-on favorite to land Hudson, but he hasn't said that yet.

Weakside defensive end

0 STARS


Louisville

RR:

Ht: 6'3.0"

Wt: 210.0

Class: 2019

-

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



WHERE KENTUCKY STANDS: Normally it would seem that Kentucky would have an uphill climb recruiting a young kid from Doss in Louisville, and one that the Cardinals will heavily prioritize as well. But Kentucky got an early start and Knight-Goff has been around the program. Cats Illustrated saw him at a Kentucky camp this summer and he certainly looked the part for someone who wasn't even a high school sophomore yet. His coach raved about Knight-Goff's potential and indicated that Kentucky would be a serious player in his recruitment. That was certainly a positive sign at the time. Kentucky offered Knight-Goff shortly after that camp.

Phil Hawkins, Knight-Goff's coach at Doss, has done a good job of making sure he gets around to different schools. He took him to Notre Dame last fall. He's likely to continue to make sure he gets to Kentucky.

Knight-Goff reportedly had a fantastic trip to Louisville very recently. Kentucky is in the running but there will be plenty of competition from their Governor's Cup rivals and others. Cincinnati and Purdue are the schools that have offered, besides UK and U of L, but you can bet Knight-Goff has a lot more coming his way.

Defensive tackle

0 STARS


Bowling Green

RR:

Ht: 6'2.0"

Wt: 295.0

Class: 2019

-

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



WHERE KENTUCKY STANDS: Lacey has done a good job of gaining publicity for himself; better than most really young players from Kentucky, in large part because he's taken advantage of events like the Rivals250 Underclassman Challenge in Atlanta last year. That publicity push on the camp circuit has helped to net Lacey early offers from the likes of Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State and Tennessee in addition to the usual regional suspects - UK, U of L, Cincinnati and Purdue.

Lacey has also helped himself with big-time programs by taking early visits to Ohio State, Alabama, Tennessee and Notre Dame, just to name a few. That's all to say that Lacey probably isn't the kind of kid who feels compelled to stay close to home for college.

Nonetheless, he's giving Kentucky a fair hearing and that's not just a pleasantry. Lacey attended one of Kentucky's junior days earlier this year and he raved about the experience, telling Cats Illustrated that he loved the atmosphere at the UK-KU basketball game. He's also in frequent contact with John Schlarman.

Kentucky's involved early, Lacey likes Schlarman and he feels comfortable at Kentucky. But he's a kid in a friendly part of the state that a lot of powerhouse programs are going to prize as well. So buckle up, even if Kentucky's got a solid shot.

Offensive tackle

0 STARS


Glasgow

RR:

Ht: 6'5.0"

Wt: 270.0

Class: 2019

-

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



WHERE KENTUCKY STANDS: This is one of the more recent in-state offers sent out by the Kentucky coaching staff, but it's easy to see why the Cats like the 6-foot-5, 270-pound lineman. Late last year Cats Illustrated reported that Kentucky had offered the Glasgow prospect, and it didn't take Louisville long to follow in their footsteps. That happened in late January.

There's probably a reason Kentucky moved on Bowles first. His brother, Hunter, played for Louisville, and getting into the picture early was probably deemed to be important. After all, Louisville has the legacy angle.

It's worth noting that Hunter seems to be supporting Tanner rather than pushing too hard in any direction. Only they know the dynamics there, but the former Cardinal accompanied his younger brother on a trip to UK for a camp last summer.

Athlete

0 STARS


Louisville

RR:

Ht: 6'2.0"

Wt: 185.0

Class: 2019

-

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



WHERE KENTUCKY STANDS: Not much is known about Wright's recruitment and it's probably so early that not much has been determined. He has early offers from Kentucky, Louisville, Illinois and Purdue with probably a lot more on the way.

One source did say that they believed Louisville was strong in the early going, but they also said it's too early to project where he'll end up. Wright visited Louisville not long ago.

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